Course Description

Course Name

Alexander the Great

Session: VDNS3121

Hours & Credits

18 Credit Points

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


A study of the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great, exploring in particular the military, political and social issues of his reign and campaigns.

Alexander the Great was one of the most influential generals in Western history, conquering vast portions of the Mediterranean world and beyond. Yet even now he remains an elusive figure: he was both a founder and a sacker of cities; he spread Greek culture, but also adopted Persian customs and married a foreign princess; he was worshipped as a god, but was also a victim of human vices; he was a remarkable general, yet led his men into a desert where they died by the thousands. This paper explores the achievements and paradoxes of this fascinating historical figure.

Teaching Arrangements
This paper consists of 2 lectures per week and 1 tutorial per fortnight

Learning Outcomes
- To investigate the nature of ancient history and the methods and sub-disciplines used to analyse it
- To analyse and understand how Greek and Eastern cultures interacted when brought into confrontation by Alexander's expedition

Arrian, Alexander the Great trans. M. Hammond (Oxford World's Classics 2013)
Plutarch, The Age of Alexander trans. I. Scott-Kilvert (Harmondsworth, Penguin 2011)
Quintus Curtius Rufus, the History of Alexander (tr.) J. C. Yardley, with introductions and notes by W. Heckel (Penguin Books, 1984; reprint 2004)
A.B. Bosworth, Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great (Cambridge University Press, 1988, paperback; repr. Canto 1993)

*Course content subject to change