Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Alexander the Great in India. A Reconstruction of Cleitarchus by A. Chugg

In the tradition of his previous book in the series of Cleitarchus’ Reconstruction (see: The Death of Alexander the Great: a Reconstruction of Cleitarchus), Andrew Chugg wrote Alexander the Great in India. A Reconstruction of Cleitarchus (ISBN 978-0-9556790-1-8).

Once again, the author has been comparing the surviving texts from Arrian, Curtius, Diodorus, Plutarch and Justin to filter out the original work these authors have used themselves based on Cleitarchus of Alexandria. To a lesser extent Chugg also includes the Metz Epitome, many of Jacoby’s precious observations, as well as comments formulated by modern writers.

In spite of all this, the book makes an exceptional pleasant reading. Since Chugg is combining the texts from ancient authors there is no need to go through each of them individually to get the whole picture. Centrally in Alexander’s conquest of India is the Battle of the Hydaspes against Porus and this part of his conscientious gathering of information is by itself worth the reading! He ends his book with a concise description of Alexander’s Route Through India – very handy if you want the history in a nutshell but with yet enough pertaining details.

Cleitarchus, son of Deinon wrote his account in the decades following Alexander's death and most of the surviving ancient texts were more or less based upon his work, although not a single copy has come to us since they all were destroyed or discarded at some time or another.

Chugg has reconstructed Cleitarchus’ Book 10 (June 327 BC – June 326 BC that includes the Battle at the Hydaspes), Book 11 (July 326 BC – May 325 BC where we find the mutiny on the Hyphasis) and Book 12 (June 325 BC – June 324 BC including Alexander’s march through the Gedrosian Desert).

The author includes a Table listing all the Books and Fragments of Cleitarchus, from Book 1 to Book13, followed by a Table listing the Sources of Cleitarchus in chronological order. Next is a short Table giving the matches between Curtius and Diodorus. He also adds a very handy sketch showing the links used by each and every author in antiquity around the central figure of Cleitarchus.

The book ends with a Table giving for each episode in Cleitarchus' terms the corresponding sources and references with additional comments in the last column.

For those who want to read more of such reconstructions covering other periods of Alexander’s eventful life, there is good news since Andrew Chugg has recently published such a book: Concerning Alexander the Great: A Reconstruction of Cleitarchus (ISBN 978-0955679087).

If after all that you still have questions, please do get in touch with Andrew Chugg in person.

2 comments:

  1. Still moored in India, Argyraspid. :-) Thank you for recommending this remarkable work.

    Another feather in A.M. Chugg’s cap ! A notably laudable feather too since primary sources on Alexander’s Indian campaign or India itself were limited even in the ancient world. To what extent a reconstruction of Cleitarchus’ lost Indian account, penned just a few decades after Alexander’s death was possible ? This book proposes a very adequate reconstitution from the passages attributed directly to him in the classical texts cushioned up with extracts from the most credible and acclaimed secondary sources.

    For an Indic like me, the book was, obviously and undeniably, a fascinating read. I was already acquainted with most of the presented material, but Chugg has perseveringly brought it all together and presented it as a lucid and comprehensive digest. Accessible and compelling to both regular and scholarly enthusiasts of Alexander interested in the conqueror’s Indian campaigns.

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    1. Yes, you are so right, Kalpana, it has been a titanic task for Andrew Chugg to put this book (and his other books on Cleitarchus) together.
      I like to think that people like him manage to live very closely to Alexander and for that I truly am envious.
      Thanks for underlining the merits of Chugg and this book.

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