The biased historians, deceits, wars, generals, and the tale of the literature that preserved them. ‘Babylon, mid-June 323 BCE, the gateway of the gods; prostrated in the Summer Palace of Nebuchadrezzar II on the east bank of the Euphrates, wracked by fever and having barely survived another night, King Alexander III, the rule of Macedonia for 12 years and 7 months, had his senior officers congregate at his bedside. Abandoned by Fortune and the healing god Asclepius, he finally acknowledged he was dying. Some 2,340 years on, five barely intact accounts survive to tell a hardly coherent story.
At times in close accord, though more often contradictory, they conclude with a melee of death-scene rehashes, all of them suspicious: the first portrayed Alexander dying silent and intestate; he was Homeric and vocal in the second; the third detailed his Last Will and Testament though it is attached to the stuff of romance. Which account do we trust?’ In Search Of The Lost Testament Of Alexander The Great is the result of a ‘decade of contemplations on Alexander’ presented as a rich thematic narrative Grant describes as the ‘backstory behind the history’ of the great Macedonian and his generals.
Taking an uncompromising investigative perspective, Grant delves into the challenges faced by Alexander’s unique tale: the forgeries and biased historians, the influences of rhetoric, romance, philosophy and religion on what was written and how. Alexander’s own mercurial personality is vividly dissected and the careers and the wars of his successors are presented with a unique eye. But the book never loses sight of central aim: to unravel the mystery behind Alexander’s ‘unconvincingly reported’ intestate death.
And out of Grant’s research emerges one unavoidable verdict: after 2,340 years, the Last Will and Testament of Alexander III of Macedonia needs to be extracted from ‘romance’ and reinstated to its rightful place in mainstream history: Babylon in June 323 BCE. Although the result a decade of academic research, In Search Of The Lost Testament Of Alexander The Great is written in an entertaining and engaging style that opens the subject to both scholars and the casual reader of history looking to learn more about the Macedonian king and the men who ‘made’ his story. It concludes with a wholly new interpretation of the death of Alexander the Great and the mechanism behind the wars of succession that followed.