I've writen two books about Greece and Rome, introducing each civilization with their most famous authors woven into the narrative. Check them out on their own website!


Check out what I'm up to this summer and fall and see if you can learn some Greek and Latin with me.

Full Show Notes Available at https://plutarch.life/alexander

Season 4 is brought to you by Hackett Publishing – Use the coupon code PLUTARCH for 20% off and free shipping at hackettpublishing.com

Important People

Bucephalus – Yes, a horse is an important character! Fiery, hard-working, and lasting till the edge of Alexander's empire, Bucephalus (ox-head) provides an analogue for us to see a fiery temperament tamed.
Philip – Alexander’s ambitious father and the succesful military reformer who almost led an expedition against Persia himself. His untimely assassination makes that task fall to Alexander.
Olympias – An ambitious and scheming mother, Olympias always pushes Alexander to do more and work harder. While at home, she frequently conflicts with Antipater, the regent Alexander left in charge of Macedonia in his decade-long absence.
Darius III – The last Achaemenid emperor of Persia flees from Alexander twice but, overall, is treated well by his enemy. He didn’t choose his successor, but ultimatley respects the man who sits on the throne of Cyrus after his death.
Poros – One of the last king-generals that Alexander defeats before turning around to head back home. Poros lives on the far side of the Indus River and earns Alexander’s respect in a hard-fought battle. Alexander keeps him in his current position and adds lands to his after defeating him.
Aristotle – One of the greatest philosophers who ever lived worked as the personal tutor to Alexander the Great for at least two years. The two men continue to correspond later in life but some versions of the story have their relationship cool significantly after Alexander executes his grand-nephew, Callisthenes (cf. sections 53-55)
Philotas – A contemporary of Alexander rising in the ranks under his father, Parmenio. Both experienced leaders who served under Philip and Alexander, Philotas’s pride finds him implicated in a conspiracy and Alexander kills him and his father.
Clitus (Cleitus) – A member of Alexander’s companion cavalry who saves his life at The Battle of Granicus River. When he later tries to publicly correct Alexander for adopting too many Persian customs, the fight leads to his tragic death, which Alexander struggles to recover from. 
Callisthenes – Grand-nephew of Aristotle accompanying Alexander on the Persian Expedition. He acts as a proxy for Alexander's relationship with the ethical and political lessons Alexander had learned from Aristotle. When he dies (some reports say by Alexander's order, others do not), it seems Alexander lost his last link with his childhood education.

Important Places

Thebes – Not just in Plutarch’s backyard, but the city punished for revolting after Philip’s death. It is burned to the ground and 30,000 of its inhabitant are sold into slavery. Plutarch thinks this must anger the god Dionysius, who was born close to Thebes.
The Battle of Granicus River
Battle of Issus
The Siege of Tyre
The Battle of Gaugamela
The Battle of Hydapses

Key Virtues and Vices

Ambition (φιλοτιμία)

Support the show

Leave a Comment