Alexander the Great: Man, Hero and Myth with Andrew Roberts - Context Travel

Alexander the Great: Man, Hero and Myth with Andrew Roberts


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A dashing young prince inherits a small kingdom at the age of twenty, and through a precocious intellect and rash bravery, conquers the Persian empire by the age of 30. After bouts of paranoia and rage where he murders colleagues and friends, increasingly drunk, he is dead at 33 amidst the stench of foul play. Join a specialist on Alexander the Great to trace the short, yet eventful life of this interesting character.

The story of Alexander III of Macedon (356-323 B.C.E) is often told as one of a singular genius and an exceptional achievement. As a result Alexander has been a touchstone in discussions of success and virtue for over 2300 years, inspiring countless retellings in art and literature, and a plethora of imitators from Julius Caesar to Napoleon. This conversation will introduce some of the crucial moments in his life and campaigns,  examine how his legacy was born, and look afresh at Alexander's claim to greatness. We will consider the opening years of his life, his inheritance as king of Macedonia, and the breath-taking victories that shook an empire. Far from credulous about his reputation, at each stage, we will discuss how his reputation was carefully cultivated by his court and biographers, and also how his legacy has since shaped discussions of virtue, conquests, and masculinity. 

Led by historian Andrew Roberts, an expert in the legacy of Alexander the Great, this conversation will explore the nature of ancient historical writing, consider how to think critically about the ancient past, and analyze how the reputations of historical figures are forged according to the needs of the present.

Photo credit: Eric Gaba – Wikimedia Commons user: Sting

Andrew completed a PhD in Classics at King's College London where he specialized in how the Classical world shaped British politics and culture. His research interests range from Ancient Greece to the British empire, and he has tutored secondary school children in everything from Tudor England to the Second World War. Andrew especially loves the eclectic historical landscape of London which allows one to find ancient ruins or historic pubs amongst the modern city. He teaches ancient history to undergraduates at King's College London and is a keen cyclist and runner.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.