Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire

Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire

James Romm / Jul 15, 2019

Ghost on the Throne The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire Alexander the Great perhaps the most commanding leader in history united his empire and his army by the titanic force of his will His death at the age of thirty two spelled the end of that unity The

  • Title: Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire
  • Author: James Romm
  • ISBN: 9780307271648
  • Page: 260
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Alexander the Great, perhaps the most commanding leader in history, united his empire and his army by the titanic force of his will His death at the age of thirty two spelled the end of that unity.The story of Alexander s conquest of the Persian empire is known to many readers, but the dramatic and consequential saga of the empire s collapse remains virtually untold.Alexander the Great, perhaps the most commanding leader in history, united his empire and his army by the titanic force of his will His death at the age of thirty two spelled the end of that unity.The story of Alexander s conquest of the Persian empire is known to many readers, but the dramatic and consequential saga of the empire s collapse remains virtually untold It is a tale of loss that begins with the greatest loss of all, the death of the Macedonian king who had held the empire together With his demise, it was as if the sun had disappeared from the solar system, as if planets and moons began to spin crazily in new directions, crashing into one another with unimaginable force.Alexander bequeathed his power, legend has it, to the strongest, leaving behind a mentally damaged half brother and a posthumously born son as his only heirs In a strange compromise, both figures Philip III and Alexander IV were elevated to the kingship, quickly becoming prizes, pawns, fought over by a half dozen Macedonian generals Each successor could confer legitimacy on whichever general controlled him.At the book s center is the monarch s most vigorous defender Alexander s former Greek secretary, now transformed into a general himself He was a man both fascinating and entertaining, a man full of tricks and connivances, like the enthroned ghost of Alexander that gives the book its title, and becomes the determining factor in the precarious fortunes of the royal family.James Romm, brilliant classicist and storyteller, tells the galvanizing saga of the men who followed Alexander and found themselves incapable of preserving his empire The result was the undoing of a world, formerly united in a single empire, now ripped apart into a nightmare of warring nation states struggling for domination, the template of our own times.

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      Published :2018-09-21T23:59:57+00:00

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    1. “There are no more worlds to conquer!” ― Alexander the GreatMosaic of Alexander the Great discovered at the House of the Faun in PompeiiIn 323 BC when Alexander the Great died, (from what some believe to be poison, but a growing number of others think from ingesting bacteria filled water from the River Styx), his great empire was held together by his charisma and his force of will. The power vacuum left in his wake was too large for any man (he was a god after all, a very mortal god as it [...]


    2. Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire, by James Romm, is a quick study of the immediate aftermath of Alexander the Great's death in Persia in 322. His death was so sudden that many did not at first believe it, and many suspected foul play, with a main suspect being Antipater, the staunch Macedonian who had controlled the European homeland while Alexander was on campaign, and resented his attempts to mix Persian and Macedonian culture and royalty. [...]


    3. Ghost on the Throne is a pretty in-depth analysis of the years after the death of Alexander the Great, and the struggles of those close to him to maintain the empire he built and become his successor. I studied Alexander himself at A Level, but we never went beyond his death, so this was mostly new to me -- some familiar names, but otherwise, a lot of new information. It's well presented and easy to follow, though, even if you don't know any familiar names: James Romm works hard to minimise any [...]


    4. Alexander the Great was the greatest general the world has ever known. He took on the superpower of his time and utterly destroyed it. He marched his troops to the ends of the earth, only turning back when they rebelled. And all of this by the age of 33.But then Alexander dies.The throne passes to Alexanders mentally impaired half brother (Alexander had eliminated other male rivals as was the custom in extremely violent Macedonian politics) and to the yet unborn Alexander IV. But the real power [...]


    5. Good book. History books in general are not that well paced, but this one was written in a style that held my attention, plus the source material is full of plots and intrigue, which makes this a far better than normal history book. If this book was fiction, i'd complain that too many characters were introduced just to be killed off, but this isn't fiction and says something about the chaos of the period.


    6. How good is this? How good is cake?I am always amazed that so many know so little about Alexander the Great or the Wars of the Successors. Probably Arrian's Anabasis is a good place to start - doesn't that filter through your heart and brain like beach sand through your fingers? Great stuff. Let me refocus on this utterly perfect (caveat coming) masterpiece of history-drama.Alexander over runs a big chunk of the world, dies with a mentally disabled half brother of doubtful lineage, a pregnant fo [...]


    7. When Alexander the Great died, he left his empire to the strongest. But who were the men who battled it out like Highlanders, as if there could only be one? History books tell us what they did, but almost never why. Mr. Romm's book shapes the facts with appropriate motivations.r unduly speculatived gives a much clearer picture of this chaotic time period. Really well done. Bravo.


    8. This is a good book. Well-researched and thorough. It really does an excellent job explaining the fallout of Alexander's death. Why only three stars? Well.There's a bit of repetition, I think to keep people anchored who might get confused by all the players and the events. This in itself is not a problem. What bothered me is that one of the methods employed by the author to do this was essentially the Homeric epithet. And of the two women who have a place of real importance in this history, one [...]


    9. This is effectively the non-fiction version of Mary Renault's Funeral Games. It follows the collapse of Alexander the Great's empire following his unexpected death at the age of 32, the bitter factionalism and in-fighting between his loyal Companions, his regent, his sister and mother as they all sought to take up Alexander's mantle and control his empire.Alexander was such a titanic figure, an inspirational leader and warrior, and his death left an immense vacuum. His empire was held together b [...]


    10. I loved this book, even though its a really sobering read about the perils of the ancient world. What happened after Alexander's death in 323 BC is easily as interesting as what happened during his lifetime, even if the historical records are hazy and unreliable (and James Romm does a brilliant job at piecing those together). This is the story of the ruinous divvying up of the Macedonian Empire amongst Alexander's rival generals, eventually, into (very loosely speaking and after a lot of shiftin [...]


    11. Well written, well researched, readable, and detailed, with a very human and political focus. That's not a flaw, and it's more what I want than a military focus, but there's absolutely nothing here on the wider issues. If you want to read one book on the immediate aftermath of Alexander, read this one, but be aware it may leave you wanting to read more than one book on the subject.I want a really good book on the Hellenistic period. It could be a really long good book, that would be just fine, a [...]


    12. I truly enjoyed reading this book! :)Ghost on the Throne is every bit as riveting and engaging as the fantasy work of G.R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan. Told in a tight concise manner that still manages to convey the passion and emotion of the aftermath of Alexander's death. This story is suspenseful and full of passionate details of the heir's of Alexander as they struggle to determine what the Empire will be. The divisions, political and military, are detailed in an enlightened and page turning [...]


    13. Very lively, engaging account of the struggle for power following the death of Alexander the Great. Lots of shifting alliances, political intrigue, double-crosses, conspiracies, battles, royal murder, etc spanning three continents (think Game of Thrones minus the dragons - although there are war elephants), but Romm does a terrific job keeping everyone and everything straight for the reader so it is all very entertaining as opposed to overwhelming. The book also contains a number of helpful maps [...]


    14. Five stars from me, and not just because I am something of an ancient-Greek geek. This book, by classicist James Romm, is beautifully written. It tells the story of what happened in the hours, days, months, and years after Alexander the Great’s death in almost a cinematic way.The book begins with a brief account of the discovery in the late 1970s of the burial site of the Macedonian kings at Vergina. Everyone agrees that one of the magnificent tombs found there is Philip the II’s, Alexander [...]


    15. bookcents/2011/10The power vacuum after Alexander’s death was filled with intrigues, murder, wars, and more. The tumultuous week after his death saw a temporary solution headed by Perdiccas that began to disintegrate almost immediately. Romm’s book goes into detail of the many theaters of plotting and conflict that followed Alexander’s death. Here’s one of my favorite quotes, summing up some of the divisions occurring in the first four years of the internecine struggles :Civil war, alrea [...]


    16. This is an excellently written book from a standpoint of information and writing style. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, it is not easy to write history or biography and make it a really pleasurable experience. It's rare for scholarship to join together with a gift for storytelling. Yet, Mr. Romm does just that. There is a beautiful and logical flow of events, people and thought that maintains a strong sense of continuity from the beginning to the end.I learned a lot from the book as [...]


    17. A compellingly-written account of the little-considered (outside specialist historians' conferences) history of Alexander's Successors, their personal enmities, political wrangling and outsize ambitions. Even as a classicist, I cannot say I knew too much about the topic, and I found Romm's book to be informative and vivid. My only complaints would be that he embraces a little too much popular style, recapping events and biographies again and again (even things that occurred in the previous chapt [...]


    18. Well researched and readable. Gives a greater understanding of the complexities of the empire assembled by Alexander and the fragmentation when he was no longer the center. Probably of more interest to readers who are deeply informed about this historical time, as it covers a fairly brief period after his death. I am not one of those readers, however.


    19. I was taught in high school that, at the death of Alexander, his extraordinarily large empire was divided into three. As a child, it seemed like an obvious statement of fact, and something that Alexander probably ordered, although that wasn’t explicitly stated at the time and it is clear that I just assumed that to be the case. The actual history is far more complex, and far more interesting. Alexander was still a young man at the time of his death. He was a conqueror, and bent on a program of [...]


    20. Ghost on the Throne by James Romm is a study of the power struggle that broke out immediately after the death of Alexander the Great. I say study, but this studious and well-researched book is also highly entertaining. The remarkable Alexander left a legacy debated to the present (was he an enlightened ruler spreading Hellenic culture, a convert to the despotism of the Persians whom he conquered, or some mixture of both?). As he lay dying, he was asked who should rule and said, “To the best, [...]


    21. James Romm sure knows how to write an engrossing, twisting narrative history. Sure, Alexander's empire was great in size and splendor, but it lacked something that all great empires must have: cohesion. If Alexander had survived, he might have accomplished this through intermarriage between Europeans and old Persian and Bactrian royalty and his dominating royal presence and subsequent deification. But alas he died young and brash, not ruling long enough to solidify his conquests. The empire held [...]


    22. Almost any American school kid knows something about Alexander the Great. Back in the 300s BC he put together an empire unlike any the world had seen. A military genius and charismatic leader his empire included most of the known world. Then,at 32, he died without naming a successor but leaving his Companions (a group of completely loyal, long-time devotees) to figure things out. Not much attention has been paid to how his followers dealt with the enormous empire. Primary sources are in short su [...]


    23. A gripping and readable portrait of the succession battles that followed the death of Alexander the Great. Each chapter is broken up into small vignettes that jump around the remnants of the empire to follow the various players, each with a date and location in the byline so you can easily track the narrative of a contest between many players. The author really gets in the heads of the various individuals and the story is told with a fast pace that only occasionally slows down to acknowledge the [...]


    24. This was a really good history on a period that is not extensively written about. Reading about Alexander's rise is not much fun since that time period is 90% myth at this point, but the succession is not so well covered. It is odd that the most competent of all of Alexander's generals fell one by one leaving his empire to the likes of Antigonus (a minor satrap who was left behind early) and Casander (the son of Antipater who was not even trusted by his father for leadership positions). Ptolemy [...]


    25. Earlier this year, I read Dividing the Spoils, which looked at the 40 years after Alexander and the big picture division of his Empire. This new work by James Romm comes at it from a much tighter angle--the six years after Alexander's death in Babylon, especially the activities of the second-tier of actors--Demosthenes and Aristotle in the fractious political scene of Athens, Antipater's politically savvy daughters, Chandragupta Maurya and his adviser Kautilya, the Elephant Corps, the Illyrian w [...]


    26. Really, really stunning book. Beautifully written. I agree with another reviewer, who calls the narrative similar to film noir. It made me look at the Hellenistic world in a new way, and made me reconsider Alexander's campaign afresh as well. I think this is best read twice, and especially after you have just finished a book about Alexander so you can contrast his world with the one described in this book.


    27. I thought this book was fantastic. I learned a lot about a time period I was unfamiliar with and thought the author did a great job keeping me engaged with the narrative. Often, classical history books can be dry since that is the case with much of the source material. However, I never felt that this was the case here.


    28. A very well written book for a very specific slice of history. This covers only from the death of Alexander to the end of the pretense that blood relatives were the heirs (not a long time). The author did a nice job of making it clear who was who and where they were.


    29. Great, great, great. Historically accurate, fluently written. Romm brings the ancients back to life in this spell-binding account of Alexander's last days, and the bloody fight for his empire afterwards.


    30. Ghost on the Throne was, possibly, the best book I read in 2013 and for all the right reasons. THe author utilizes historical sources to detail a compelling narrative about the days and months after the death of Alexander the Great.


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