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Help! Oldest sources?

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Joined: 27 Sep 2006
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 11:17 pm    Post subject: Help! Oldest sources? Reply with quote

Hi all Very Happy been a while since I've visited here!

Look, I have a problem.

Every time I ask any professor to tell me "what to read" (they know my ambition to become an "Alexander historian") they give me clean cut, modern biographies and researches. But they are making me feel like even more of an idiot. The one person is telling me one thing, the other is telling me the next. Surely it's important to see the debates going on and the issues raised and the unsolved problems...

But nobody seems to want to bother to just give me the list of the books all these wonderful theories and stories are BASED on.

It annoys the crap out of me! They always give me modern sources... what about the old ones? How can I EVER form a decent opinion if I base it all on what contemporaries say? How can I ever call myself a decent researcher when nobody can point me in the direction of the old sources? The professors will briefly name a few of them in conversation, but apparently find the modern day biographies more of interest for me. I am starting to disagree, because I am starting to make a fool out of myself in debate.

See if one article tells me something... and it turns out that the old sources suggest alternatives that I don't know about, I look like an idiot and have nothing left to say when someone throws that at me.

Can anyone tell me what the old, 'basic' sources are on Alexander? The things that were written closest to his time and the older works that 20th and 21st century historians base their opinions on?

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Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 4:28 pm    Post subject: Sources Reply with quote

Greetings Nell,

If you go to Pothos and click on Book Reviews, you will find a complete review of the ancient sources and modern works.

The names you will be looking for related to Alexander will be Arrian, Diodorus, Plutarch, Justin as the major works.

These, and a few other small sources, are the works from which all other texts spring, coupled with modern archaeological findings. Germany texts were a strong base of study during the modern era, as well as Tarn and related British texts, but these seem to have been replaced by Green, Borza, Badian, Hammond, and a few others.

Start with the ancient texts, recognizing that each author, even then, had his own agenda and purpose for writing (this is covered, I believe, in the Pothos reviews). Move into the later, 19th century texts to see how nationalism and culture affected study even more. Then enter the modern world and explore how, again, agenda and culture impacts interpretaiton of historic data.

In the end, the best anyone can offer is an interpretation of data. Outside of specific events and facts, the majority of works on Alexander deal ith just that: interpretation. Each person seems to find the Alexander they are looking for <smile>, but hopefully, some writers are able to overcome their own bias and attempt to see a clearer picture.

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Joined: 27 Sep 2006
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much Sikander Very Happy that helped so much! I just feel like I want to start out with the most "original" sources in order to be as objective as I can be. I'm only starting out with research, after all, and don't want to be fed too much by contemporary trends. I just want the basics so I can try something new Smile

Thanks again!!
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