Read Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire. Robin Waterfield by Robin A.H. Waterfield Online


Alexander the Great conquered an enormous empire--stretching from Greece to the Indian subcontinent--and his death triggered forty bloody years of world-changing warfare. These were years filled with high adventure, intrigue, passion, assassinations, dynastic marriages, treachery, shifting alliances, and mass slaughter on battlefield after battlefield. And while the men foAlexander the Great conquered an enormous empire--stretching from Greece to the Indian subcontinent--and his death triggered forty bloody years of world-changing warfare. These were years filled with high adventure, intrigue, passion, assassinations, dynastic marriages, treachery, shifting alliances, and mass slaughter on battlefield after battlefield. And while the men fought on the field, the women, such as Alexander's mother Olympias, schemed from their palaces and pavilions. The story of one of the great forgotten wars of history, Dividing the Spoils serves up a fast-paced narrative that captures this turbulent time as it revives the memory of the Successors of Alexander and their great war over his empire. The Successors, Robin Waterfield shows, were no mere plunderers. Indeed, Alexander left things in great disarray at the time of his death, with no guaranteed succession, no administration in place suitable for such a large realm, and huge untamed areas both bordering and within his empire. It was the Successors--battle-tested companions of Alexander such as Ptolemy, Perdiccas, Seleucus, and Antigonus the One-Eyed--who consolidated Alexander's gains. Their competing ambitions, however, eventually led to the break-up of the empire. To tell their story in full, Waterfield draws upon a wide range of historical materials, providing the first account that makes complete sense of this highly complex period. Astonishingly, this period of brutal, cynical warfare was also characterized by brilliant cultural achievements, especially in the fields of philosophy, literature, and art. A new world emerged from the dust and haze of battle, and, in addition to chronicling political and military events, Waterfield provides ample discussion of the amazing cultural flowering of the early Hellenistic Age....

Title : Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire. Robin Waterfield
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780199647002
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 273 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire. Robin Waterfield Reviews

  • Manray9
    2018-11-20 03:05

    At just 212 pages of text, Robin Waterfield's Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire is a short overview of the struggles for supremacy between Alexander's successors during the forty years following his untimely death. The wars and political maneuvers of this era created the three dynastic kingdoms, the Antigonid, Seleucid and Ptolemaic, that characterized Western history's Hellenistic period. Alexander's successors engaged in almost continuous warfare from 323-281 BCE – mixed with brief periods of rest and rearmament, political chicanery, diplomacy, intrigue, assassination, and intermarriage. For the elite Macedonian and Greek followers of Alexander, it was a time of breathtaking opportunity and mortal danger. The victors established kingdoms that dominated the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Western Asia until the rise of Rome.Waterfield's book is well-written, informative, and a pleasant read. It is accompanied by a section of very good maps, a timeline, a thorough list of important people of the period, and genealogical trees of the dynasts and other key figures. It may be too broad for dedicated students of the era, but to a casual reader of history, it's worth Four Stars.

  • Juliew.
    2018-11-16 03:00

    I learned a lot from this and was absolutely glad I decided to read it.Not only does it explain the dividing of Alexander's empire after his death but also the social,religious,artistic and political circumstances of the times.It takes the reader through each Successor explaining how each was awarded territory and how they sought to control,hold and expand it while fighting for the ultimate prize of the the empire in it's entirety.I thought the military descriptions for some of the battles were sparse and not gone into at length and the author seemed to focus more on the politics.Which didn't make it an ideal book for me as I like learning about the actual military logistics.Aside from this though,I was impressed with the author's knowledge of the period and his ability to bring it all together in one readable,understandable and intelligent account.

  • Erik Graff
    2018-11-10 10:05

    I read an "uncorrected advance reading copy" of this book from Oxford University Press, not this beautiful hardcover. Reconstructing a succinct history of the successors to Alexander the Great and of the early years of the Hellenistic period for a general readership is a daunting task. Sources are few and tendentious, focused on the major protagonists; contestants to his legacy are many; alliances, political and military, are complex, ever-changing and usually short lived. While the recent conflicts in, say, the former Yugoslavia were similarly complicated, they occurred in contemporary Europe within a much more limited scope, both geographically and temporally. The wars of the Successors occurred over two thousand years ago, ranged through much of three continents and lasted four decades. Understanding the first, while difficult, is possible. Managing a plausibly sensible reconstruction of the latter is well nigh impossible, even the best efforts being vulnerable to the emergence of new evidence. Robin Waterfield, an independent scholar based in Greece, has, however, managed to do this as best as it can be done in the compass of less than three hundred pages. Waterfield manages the task by following three houses: the Antigonids, roughly identified with Macedonia; the Seleucids, with Asia; and the Ptolemies, with Egypt. A sixteen-page chapter, beginning with the death of Alexander in 6/11/323, sets up the history, which amounts, at its core, to an account of the wars of succession spanning the years 320 to 281 In this and in the following chapter he outlines what Alexander accomplished—viz., the semblance of a world-encompassing empire—and what he failed to accomplish—a viably stable polity. This, the dreams of imperial hegemony and the realities, economic and political, entailed in the realization of such, constitute the dynamic of the period: too many dreamers, schooled in successful conquests, dreaming similar, irreconcilable, dreams. The period was, in short, one of almost unrelieved conflict, of wars and of the preparations for wars. With the notable exception of Egypt, the richest and most defensible of the regimes, government consisted primarily of resource acquisition and extraction, extraction through the means of military drafts; taxation; requisition, pillage; and, especially, outright conquest. To his credit, Waterfield punctuates his survey with sociological and cultural asides, devoting sections of most chapters to such topics as kingship, cultural diffusion, legitimacy, individualism, poleis, scholarship, taxation, economics, education, religion and military technology and tactics. These and other asides flesh out the period to give sufficient sense of Hellenistic culture and of how ordinary, undocumented persons lived. Supplementing the text are an array of useful aids. In addition to the expected notes, index and bibliography are maps, genealogies, illustrations, a timeline and, most importantly, “A Cast of Characters” which provides brief biographies allowing readers to distinguish between four Alexanders, three Philips, three Ptolemies and so on. Best of all, Waterfield, an author of juveniles as well as being a classicist and translator, writes well and clearly. Like many of the most readable historians, he has a sense of humor, much of it darkly appropriate to the matters at hand, none of it obtrusive. Given some basic background in the history of Greece through Alexander, this book should be accessible to all readers and serve to fill the gap between the Macedonian imperialists and their successors, the Romans.

  • Myke Cole
    2018-11-16 04:58

    Waterfield's contribution has the major distinction of joining Romm's Ghost on the Throne as pretty much one of the ONLY books in English covering the Successor Wars that followed the death of Alexander the Great. It's a damn shame, as this was a critical period in ancient history, one that gave rise of much of the cultural mores and geopolitical realities we take for granted today.Waterfield, like Romm, does the topic justice. Waterfield lacks Romm's storytelling instincts or his poetic prose styling, and presents a more workmanlike account. it's also clear that Waterfield is deliberately avoiding hitting the sensationalist/dramatic high points of the story, which is to the book's detriment. That said, it's a valuable contribution to the field and has the added bonus of placing the events in their cultural context. Waterfield, unlike Romm, leapfrogs chapters between narration and then laying down essay-like examinations of the world in which the events take place. Where Romm gives you the story in all its glory, Waterfield gives you a less glorious story, and a deeper understanding of the backdrop where that story unfolds.Both approaches are valuable, and Dividing the Spoils is definitely worth your time.

  • Steve
    2018-11-18 05:57

    Here is my ratings breakout.Content: 5 starsWriting: 3 starsI generally shy away from connecting books with currently fashionable and "hot" cultural trends, but if you are looking for a real life "Game of Thrones" with all of the murder and mayhem, a little of the sex, and without the supernatural, the forty year period of the wars of Alexander the Great's successors is it!This book really opened my eyes to the importance of this period, all too often ignored and glossed over by general histories, which on the whole end at the death of Alexander in 323 BCE. Waterfield makes a very persuasive case that this is wrong-headed and that if anything, these wars constitute *the* turning point of Hellenism - the dispersion of Greek culture throughout Asia and the Mediterranean region. He also makes the fascinating argument (pp 142-146) that far from being an atavism (blast from the past), the ascendency of kingship in this period by Alexander and his successors presages and sets up the European absolute monarchy that we see in the Medieval period. His argument is too complex and nuanced to go into here, but he suggests that rather than seeing monarchy as a kind of holdover or primitive resurgence, that we see it engaged in a broader contest with democracy (at least, this is how I read him). Because the needs of the new successor states to Alexanders mammoth but very short lived empire were unprecedented, and because the Successors were Macedonian, and because the empire was a military accomplishment, kingship was transformed into the instrument we have come to know from later European history. I am not sure if he is right, or what other scholars make of this argument, but I think it can produce an absolutely fascinating discussion. Waterfield also has very interesting material on religion, commenting on the prevalence of deifying kings in this time, as well as broader structural changes in Greek religion towards notions of a supreme god, abstract categories, and mystery cults. As I am acquainted with writing on the Axial Age, which is generally considered to be the period immediately before the one covered in this book, I appreciate how Waterfield's argument extends the understanding of the impact of the Axial Age in the development of religion after antiquity. On the whole, the material presented here is fascinating and a great window into this era that deserves to be better known. However, the one downside is the writing. I don't mean to suggest that Waterfield is a poor or unclear writer. Quite the opposite, his sentences are generally clear and free of jargon and convoluted thinking. However, this book lacks what I call "cadence". A book, like a symphony, requires a certain emotional charge. It needs to flow in a harmonic and organic way between periods of excitement and more contemplative periods. The key is cohesion. Paragraphs and whole passages should set up a theme and follow through on coherent thoughts. All too often, however, I found myself lost in a paragraph because either it failed to set a clear theme, or because every sentence marched on in a monotonous way. (I make a distinction between composing sentences grammatically and composing paragraphs thematically. All too often the two are folded together, but this is not correct. Waterfield has entirely kosher sentences that don't string together, whereas the classicist Paul Cartledge sometimes does quite odd things to sentences, but his paragraphs are generally well composed.) In general, I found the sections on culture, philosophy, and religion easiest to read (often quite lively) and wonder if this is an artifact of myself as a reader, or, as is so very often the case, a sign that this is the material the author him or herself finds most compelling. The problem is, when starting to discover a remote and obscure period, there is increased need for the narrative to be both compelling and clear.I will concede that Waterfield has an issue with indefinite (and sometimes definite) pronouns. I often found myself at a loss for who was being referred to. This problem came to a head on pp. 134-5 when Athens was being held by Demetrius of Phalerum against the attack by Demetrius Poliorcetes son of Antigonus. Waterfield insisted on labeling the latter simply Demetrius rather than adding "son of Antigonus" to mitigate the confusion. I also thought the book could have used more setup in the individual sections, specifically by starting with an overview or gloss of the succeeding events so as to give them definition and make them easier to grasp. Again, a large part of this need has to do with the general obscurity of this period, which creates special pedagogical demands. I hope that the reader of this review will not take my harsh evaluation of the prose as a reason to reject this book. I highly encourage the reader to pick up this volume and be amazed at the period.

  • Anna Spark
    2018-10-28 08:02

    A very clear account of the Successor Wars.

  • Jo Walton
    2018-11-14 07:08

    Neither as detailed nor as readable as Romm's Ghost On The Throne, but it covers a wider period and has very valuable chapters on art and social changes.

  • Fred
    2018-10-31 07:05

    This book wasn't the best that I have read on the subject but it wasn't bad. It doesn't go into as much detail as Ghost on the Throne by James Romm, but it covers a generation or two longer in time than Romm's book. Romm's book was extremely detailed but only covered the 20-30 years after Alexander's death. This book by comparison covers about 60 years or so.I think that the last half of the book was better than the first in many ways. If there were characters covered more than the others it would have either been Antigonus One-Eye, Ptolemy, or Seleucus. I honestly don't know which of those is the more interesting as a character either. My favorite of the successors and the warring generals of the time though is still probably Eumenes, Alexander's Greek secretary who managed to fight the greatest of Alexander's Macedonian Companions to a standstill for years with little to no resources. Not a bad book and I"m glad that I read it, although I can't say at this moment that Waterfield impressed me as much as Romm did.

  • Darrick Taylor
    2018-11-17 07:03

    A very well written narrative of the seventy or so years that succeeded the death of Alexander the Great, and how his empire was divided by his successors, Dividing the Spoils is the first history written by Robin Waterfield, a translator who has translated many texts from the ancient world for Oxford Classics and other imprints. Dividing the Spoils is a narrative history largely aimed at a general audience, though it does nod at the scholarship on the subject, and does a good job of telling what is a very difficult story to tell, mostly because of the fragmentary nature of the surviving evidence for the period. It is a very good, readable introduction to a fascinating subject.

  • Greg Santana
    2018-11-12 09:47

    I don't blame the author. Waterfield did a great job with the material give. I started this book about a year ago but took frequent breaks because it was a tough read for me.I was thinking another title for this book could be "Chaos after Alexander".Because everything you could think of, happened. Assassinations? Yes. Corruption? Yes. Desertion? Yes. Infidelity? Yes. Incest? Yes. Betrayal? Yes. Battles? Yes. Religion? Yes. Political plots? Yes. I'm probably missing a bunch more.Not only were there so many turns, but it was tough keeping track of who was who. People popped in and out and either took over, were killed, switched sides, or choose exile.There were so many betrayals you ended up confused about who were friends and who were the enemies. There are some great information in here. I learned a lot. There was probably more I could've gotten from it or enjoyed it more of it didn't leave me so befuddled.

  • Nathan Albright
    2018-10-28 08:45

    As someone who has read a great deal of the history about the Hellenistic era from one perspective or another [1], it is immensely pleasing to be able to read a book that tackles the period of Greek history between the death of Alexander the Great and the final division of the Eastern Mediterranean into a few competing kingdoms that have given up the ambitions for ruling over the whole area. These wars were immensely important, not least because of the misery they inflicted upon the Eastern Mediterranean from Greece to Egypt and Persia, but also because of the ways that they fulfilled biblical prophecy and also made it possible for Rome to consolidate rule over the Hellenistic world given the division and continual conflict of the various Hellenistic states. The author shows an admirable grasp of military and political matters as well as the larger cultural impact of the times, and does not stint on any of the various complicated elements in the period of consolidation that followed the untimely death of Alexander, which included at least six different wars for succession and numerous double crosses and the death of many of the contenders for the overall or regional control of different parts of the Hellenistic world. It was not an enviable time for anyone in the area.This book is mostly organized into chronological fashion with various digressions, taking up about 230 pages or so of material when one includes vital supplementary materials like genealogies and chronologies and a list of the important people involved. The book begins with some context into the origins of the Hellenistic period by looking at the changes and the growing autocracy of the Macedonian kingdom under Phillip III and Alexander III, and the way in which Alexander himself preferred conquest to the more mundane task of consolidation. The authors then discuss the period of Alexander's death, the scheming among the various successors, whether bodyguards or satraps or other officers, demonstrating the inner clique of power and the way that the various plotters were almost all Macedonians, even if they were fighting over massive territories inhabited by alien peoples. The book, though it focuses on areas of political and military history, does not in any way stint the importance of diplomacy or of larger cultural and religious trends, including the spread of individualism, the rise of escapist fiction, realistic portrayals in art and literature, and the rise of mystery cults, all of which would be of great importance in the future, some of those trends important down to our own day. The history reads in many ways like a Greek tragedy, showing the downfall of both egotists as well as more or less decent and honorable people (like the tragic Eumenes) who get ensnared in the tricks of others, and there is a more or less wearisome finale to the period as the four decades of war settle down into something approaching an equilibrium as small states like Pergamum and Rhodes and Bithynia attempt to retain their independence among the constant squabbling and warfare and treachery around them.Ultimately, though, despite the tragic and bloody events this book describes in considerable detail, the author has an optimistic conclusion, contrary to all expectations. One could have scarcely guessed the author would fine an optimistic conclusion given the horrors that were inflicted upon the people of the Middle East in the decades after Alexander's death as the strongest contenders sorted out their core territories and boundaries, with the Attalids taking Pergamum as a secure base to start a solid kingdom in Asia Minor, the Antigonids recovered from their defeats to secure Macedonia, the Ptolemeic dynasty secured Egypt and Cyprus, and the Seleucids claimed Syria and a large chunk of the rest of Asia before the power of all of them eventually ebbed and finally crumbled in the face of Roman expansion. Nevertheless, the authors sees individual life and philosophy and art survive despite the horrors, and ends up with the conclusion that no matter how bad governments are, human life endures. Perhaps that is meant to cheer us, but given how epic and inept the rulers of our own contemporary states are, perhaps this is a point that the author feels it necessary to impress given how pessimistic it is easy to feel in light of the failures of our own leaders.[1] See, for example:https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...

  • Tad Crawford
    2018-11-19 11:13

    Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire and marched as far as modern Pakistan before reluctantly returning to Babylon. There, on June 11, 323 BCE, Alexander died at the age of 32. Whether the cause of death was wounds, disease, or poison will never be known. Nor had any preparation been made for the peaceful appointment of a successor. Alexander’s youth might have made him feel the consideration of a successor was unnecessary. Or perhaps it was his deification, his identification as a godly son of Zeus, that made him feel immortal and beyond the concerns of ordinary men. Or he may have simply felt that even he lacked the power to control what would come after his death.Alexander’s vast empire could be ruled by agreement or by war with the winner taking all. Claimants to the throne by relationship included Arridaeus, Alexander’s older brother who was a halfwit, and Alexander IV, the halfblood (his mother was from an Afghan tribe) boy born after his father’s death. Other players with royal blood included Alexander’s mother Olympia, his sister Cleopatra, his illegitimate son Heracles, and his niece Adea among others. But the might to determine who would succeed Alexander resided in his fellow generals who had served him and now controlled armies and vast portions of his empire. Efforts at peace failed quickly and were followed by a sequence of wars. By 311 BCE the “Peace of the Dynasts” confirmed the following division of territory—Cassander controlled Macedonia; Ptolemy controlled Egypt, Lysimachus controlled Thrace, Antigonus controlled Asia Minor, and Seleucus controlled eastern empire from Babylon to modern Pakistan. However, that peace quickly lapsed and another three decades of slaughter would follow before the boundaries of the various kingdoms took more permanent shape. All of Alexander’s blood kin were killed (including Olympia, Arridaeus, and Alexander IV). The generals became kings. Many of these kingdoms survived for centuries until an expansionist Rome absorbed much of the territory that had been Alexander’s.The book has much to recommend it, but failed in one regard. The generals who occupy so much of its narrative never become more than names. They are one-dimensional, all violent, all determined to rule, all hungering after endless conquests. I’m not sure if the author had no interest in deepening his descriptions of the players or whether a paucity of sources made such humanizing impossible. So many of the ancient records were lost entirely or survive only as summaries compiled by later writers. Merely to include all the personages and events of this unsettled era is an enormous effort. Certainly the chief characteristic of the military leaders was their willingness to battle, their emulation of Alexander who would have endlessly sought conquest. This human impulse remains with us today. The drive for power is a human constant. If human nature hasn’t changed vastly since Alexander’s day, at least the institutions that govern people and connect nations have undergone enormous change. As, of course, our weaponry and collective issues (such as global warming, environmental degradation, depletion of marine life, etc.) have also changed. Let’s hope that those who hold power today can be as ambitious in seeking peaceful solutions to shared issues as the ancient successors of Alexander excelled in the waging of their ambitious wars.

  • Gavin
    2018-11-15 07:00

    'Dividing the Spoils: The War For Alexander The Great's Empire' is the first book I have read by the author Robin Waterfield. It is also the first book, my induction as it were, into reading about the 'Diadochi' or Alexander's successors. These great generals were the ones who through political joking (e.g. controlling Alexander relatives), and through pitched battles, and sieges divided up Alexander Empire over a period of forty years. Robin Waterfield's work isn't merely a Grand Narrative outlining the relations and power games between the powerful figures carving up the empire, though this undoubtedly predominates. Rather, Waterfield, also tries to examine some of the cultural shifts within the melting pot that was Alexander's Empire. These only truly become evident after sometime had passed. Waterfield illustrates, that despite the brutality and pandemonium, that generally define intermediary periods, and the establishment of a new world order, there was in fact a time of a cultural flowering. These were in the areas of philosophy, mathematics, literature and art, and undoubtedly warfare and siege craft (to point out the obvious). During this period we witness the rise of Hellenistic culture, where Greek Paideia was spread throughout the orient (to areas as far off as modern Afghanistan, Iran and the very borders of India).This love of Greek learning would become most openly manifest in terms of monumentaility, in the Great Libraries of Ptolemaic Alexandria, and Attalid Pergamon. This period also witnesses the rise of Greek as the administrative language of the various successor states, this is quite a watershed as it would remain this way right up until the Rise of Islam in the 7th century A.D.,even lingering on in some places well after the Rise of Islam. Not only Greek learning was spread throughout the orient but also Greek architecture (including statutory, monumentaility), city planning,Greek cultural pursuits (such as drama, gymnastics and athletics etc...). These being most notable in the new foundation made by Alexander's successors, such as Antiochaea, Seleucia on the Tigris (both in orient), and on mainland Greece new centres such as Thesselonice and Cassadreia (Macedonia/Thrace). All in all the period was not just one of warfare, although this undoubtedly informed the rise of this new world order, it was also the cultural flowering that truly came to define the Hellenistic Period (323 -33 B.C.).This book is well worth reading, as it covers a topic that is often forgotten or understudied. The author himself alludes to in this fact in the preface of the book. Instead, we have a tendency to study Alexander The Great himself or those that reaped the benefits of the Diadochi's labours, after the realignment had been made and the Hellenistic Kingdoms essentially formed. Waterfield's style also makes the read easy and informative. Reading this book has made me want to delve further into the lives of Alexander’s fascinating successors. Anyway, hope this aids you in your decision to read this book. Happy Reading, Gavin

  • Caroline
    2018-11-04 07:13

    The death of any powerful leader with no obvious successor or heir inevitably creates a vacuum, inevitably leads to a power struggle between those left behind - and what great leader of antiquity existed than Alexander the Great, conqueror of much of the known world? When Alexander died at the age of thirty-three, having won himself an empire that stretched from Greece to India, encompassing Egypt, Persia, Babylon, Afghanistan and Syria, he alone was the glue that held these disparate lands and peoples together. To quote Yeats, "things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed."And was it ever loosed. Alexander's Successors fought over his empire for forty years, each striving either to carve out his own kingdom or establish dominion over the others. Sons, nephews, brothers and cousins, all came together in ever-changing combinations, one moment allies, the next enemies, and then allies again.In truth, no-one could ever have succeeded Alexander, and it is telling that once the generation of Successors who had fought alongside Alexander had died, the next generation were more content with creating their own kingdoms, no longer aimed at world domination. Alexander's empire was perhaps inevitably destined by breakup, being so reliant as it was on the almost superhuman, charismatic, exceptional individual it was founded on. Praise Alexander or condemn him, no-one can deny that he was a remarkable individual, rarely seen outside of the pages of fiction. It was a swirling, complicated time, but Robin Waterfield provides a clear and concise overview of the period. This is a relatively short book for such a turbulent time involving so many different players, and on occasion the lack of depth frustrated me. This book could have done with being twice as long, with perhaps more emphasis on the context and histories of the cultures and individuals involved. James Romm's Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire covers much the same ground, although focusing only on the first generation of Successors, and on the whole I would recommend that one over this, for anyone interested in a post-mortem of Alexander the Great's empire.

  • John
    2018-10-27 04:49

    An interesting history of the years following the premature death of Alexander the Great. His vast kingdom was divided by men who deeply wanted to be the next great warrior emperor. None of that came to pass, as they continually fought for almost 40 years and then intermittently for years to come. The kingdoms they created lasted until the burgeoning Roman era of conquest. It was a time of world war, as battle spread from the Indus to Macedon and Egypt. Well-written and driving, we are introduced to many incredible and cunning characters who did terrible things for power. But we are also introduced to the civics of the Hellenistic world, and to the philosophies that drove the times. The cast of characters if perilously close to ludicrous at the beginning, but they are rapidly narrowed down into more feasible identifications. Something we cannot forget is that the Greek world that was created and cemented during the times of Alexander and the Successors lasted for over 1800 years until the Turks finally broke the Byzantine Empire.

  • Benjamin
    2018-11-20 02:45

    If you, like me, were the sort to look at a map of the ancient world after Alexander's death, his territories divided between his generals, Rome a mere blot of blood on the western periphery, and wondered however did they decide that, then this is the book for you. This period of political savagery tends to be glossed over with great haste in most surveys of the ancient world, serving as a sort of pause in the narrative of classical civilization after Alexander's conquests right before Rome begins its surge out of Italy and across the Mediterranean, but it's a story worthy of George R. R. Martin. The Diadochi make the warring houses of the Westeros look positively pleasant, if only because the wars, spurred by ever changing alliances made and betrayed as necessity dictated, they pursued with great vigor and cruelty across Western Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean roiled both land and sea for more than a generation.

  • Margaret Sankey
    2018-11-14 02:48

    Untangling the 40 years of power struggle after Alexander the Great's untimely death, in which companions, half-siblings, sisters, in-laws, rivals, conquered peoples and various ambitious players (including Chandragupta Maurya) jostled to take all of the recently and imperfectly Hellenized world, and then settled for carving it into the distinctive chunks they would rule until encountering Roman hegemony. Complete with enough double-crosses, polygamous marriages, alliances of convenience, bribes, assassinations, show trials and elephant stunts to fill several seasons of a cable series (do you hear me HBO?)

  • Megan
    2018-10-26 02:57

    I picked this book up because I've enjoyed historical fiction novels set around the time of Alexander the Great, and I wanted to learn the history from around that time.I put this book down after about 50 pages because it wasn't engaging me. The author was obviously very knowledgeable, but I was getting mired in names, battles, and dates without having any human information to pin to these things. The leading figures were dry - described by actions like chess pieces. The actions they were taking read like a chess game, too. I could learn who controlled what, but not what that control meant or other aspects of the bigger picture.

  • Robert
    2018-11-13 08:49

    Robin Waterfield's "Dividing the Spoils" came with me on a camping trip and to the amusement of my companions, kept me occupied a great deal. It was clearly written and presents the wars of the Diodachi, or the successors of Alexander the Great. We all know what Alexander did and how successful a general he was. But he was at the head of many great generals, many of whom went on to their own glory, although none able to unify the fractured empire of Alexander. I thought the book was a good balance between military, cultural, and even religious elements. Its a good overview for a weekend historian like me and covers everything well.

  • Glenn Robinson
    2018-11-16 06:56

    I learned a great deal of the post-Alexander The Great world. The empire that he built was broken up within months into a number of competing territories. First by diplomatic agreement and then by warfare. Each governor wanting to rebuild and regain the empire that Alexander built, but none succeeding. There was a great deal of marriages of relatives of each of these kings and of the sisters and daughters of Alexander the Great. There was also a great deal of murders among the same crew as they murdered off the rival claims to the throne of Macedonia. The book was well written, a great deal of information that was not dull or boring. Probably a good one for a first read on this subject.

  • John
    2018-10-22 03:14

    4 stars - I really liked it. I recommend this to anyone, who like me, is naturally curious about the history of the mediterranean lands in the period after the end of the classical period and before the start of Roman dominance. The history is explained at just the right level of detail for my interest, covering not just the wars and battles but also explaining the overall developments in society, politics, culture, art and religion. I found the book very entertaining yet not trivial as is often the case with books in the category often termed "popular history". There is plenty of analysis but not the dry and pedantic nitpicking that I often find in books targeted at academic readers.

  • Andy
    2018-10-24 07:49

    Good book. Informative writing about the confused period after the death of Alexander and the wars between his successors, who seem to be a bunch of complete psychopaths. Some quirky references to Macedon being comprised of 'cantons' run by 'barons'. Strange insistence of the author that the successors are the antecedents of early modern European kingship. The history of the wars of the successors (six wars in all, over c.40 years) is interspersed with wider discussion of the development of Hellenistic culture.

  • Mark
    2018-10-22 10:45

    This is a good overview of the period immediately following Alexander the Great's untimely death in 323 BCE (BC). Alexander's generals and other close associate, and their children, spent the next 50 years fighting over his empire. Robin Waterfield is another of that uniquely British author who has solid academic credentials but choses to write articulate and well researched histories for a broader audience.While these events happened over 2,300 years ago the world that Alexander and his successors created is the direct ancestor of today's Middle East.

  • Brian
    2018-11-07 06:02

    This is the first book I've read on my 3 gen. Kindle that I wished I had read as a paper book. I think my rating would have been higher but I kept having to switch to the map and biographies in the back of the Kindle that it kind of broke the momentum of the narrative up. Still very worth reading as it is an era of history which hasn't received nearly the attention by popular historians that it deserves.

  • Craig
    2018-11-10 06:04

    Great for hard core history buffs. The historical record is sketchy for much of the covered period and the book is occasionally slow-going with the movement of armies and territorial jockeying for position. The founding of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt is interesting. But since the very little has been written about the immediate decades of the post-Alexander era, this book definitely makes a significant contribution to filling that gap.

  • Jason
    2018-11-22 02:50

    A brief (in terms of your typical history books) overview of the years of fighting after Alexander the Great's death. Quite an interesting time, was hard to follow some of the names, but not the author's fault. Plenty of political intrigue to keep you interested. Also covers some of the cultural and religious happenings to give you a feel of the world

  • Kim
    2018-11-06 10:57

    It had some interesting facts that I was interested in, such as the fate of Alexander's mother, wife, and son, but the rest of it was really dry reading. I was rather disappointed too, because this was a time period that I knew little about and was really excited to learn something new. It was just really dense and became a chore to get through.

  • Daniel
    2018-11-14 10:12

    A very good brief history of the Successor Wars following the death of Alexander. While It could of used a bit more detail in parts it is a very well done overview of the entire history starting with the Babylon Confrences and ending with the death of Seculeus by betrayal. I enjoyed it enough to read it basicly in one sitting.

  • Frank
    2018-11-17 04:57

    A reasonable, if not brilliantly written gap filler, narrating the competition between Alexander's generals following his death. The account inevitably deals with a large list of characters. You will need to have read account(s) of Alexander's campaigns beforehand. I recommend Arrian, Quintus Curtius Rufus, or even Mary Stewart, for a fairly reliable fictionalisation.

  • Zane
    2018-11-01 04:08

    For the large amount of actors involved, Waterfield does an excellent job of moving an individual through the many plots and intrigues of this time period. I initially read this book to fill in my gap of understanding between Alexander the Great and the Roman empires conquest of the known world. Waterfield does a superb job on delivering that.