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Encyclopedia > Arrian
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great

Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon' (c. 92-c. 175), known in English as Arrian, was a Greek historian and philosopher of the Roman period. As with other authors of the Second Sophistic Arrian wrote primarily in Attic. His works preserve the philosophy of Epictetus, and include an important account of Alexander the Great, the Anabasis of Alexander, as well as a description of Nearchus' voyage from India following Alexander's conquest, the Indica. He is not to be confused with the Athenian military leader and author, Xenophon from the 4th century BC, whose most well known work was also titled Anabasis. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2024x1560, 320 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Arrian ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2024x1560, 320 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Arrian ... For other uses, see number 92. ... Events Pope Eleuterus succeeds Pope Soter (approximate date) Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius defeats the Marcomanni. ... A historian is a person who studies history. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... Roman Greece The Greek peninsula became a Roman protectorate in 146 BC, and the Aegean islands were added to this territory in 133. ... The Second Sophistic is a literary-historical term referring to the Greek showpiece orators who flourished from the reign of Nero until c. ... Attic Greek is the ancient dialect of the Greek language that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. ... Epictetus (c. ... Alexander the Great (Greek: Μέγας Αλέξανδρος[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC — June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), is considered one of the most successful military commanders in history, conquering most of his known world before his death. ... Anabasis Alexandri The Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian is the most important source on Alexander the Great. ... Nearchus (or Nearchos) was one of the officers in the army of Alexander the Great. ... Alexander the Great (Greek: Μέγας Αλέξανδρος[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC — June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), is considered one of the most successful military commanders in history, conquering most of his known world before his death. ... Indica is the name of an ancient book about India written by Arrian, one of the main ancient historians of Alexander the Great. ... For other uses, see Athens (disambiguation). ... Xenophon, Greek historian Xenophon (In Greek , c. ... Anabasis is the most famous work of the Greek writer Xenophon. ...

Contents


Arrian's life

Arrian was born in the coastal town of Nicomedia (now Izmit), the capital of the Roman province of Bithynia, in what is now north-western Turkey, about 70 km from Byzantium (now Istanbul). He studied philosophy in Nicopolis in Epirus, under the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, and wrote two books about the philosopher's teachings. At the same time he entered the Imperial service, and served in Gaul and on the Danube frontier. In 129 he held the office of Consul. In 130 he was appointed governor of Cappadocia and commander of the Roman legions on the border with Armenia. It was unusual at this time for a Greek to hold such high military command. Nicomedia (modern İzmit, also known as Iznik) was founded by Nicomedes I of Bithynia at the head of the Gulf of Astacus (which opens on the Propontis) in 264 BC. The city has ever since been one of the chief towns in this part of Asia Minor. ... İzmit (also known as Kocaeli; previously known as Ismid or Isnikmid) is a city in the northwestern part of Anatolia, Turkey. ... Bithynia was an ancient region, kinhdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine (today Black Sea). ... Byzantium was an ancient Greek city-state, which according to legend was founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas or Byzantas (Βύζας or Βύζαντας in Greek). ... Istanbul (other names) is Turkeys most populous city, and its cultural and economic center. ... Nicopolis (meaning in Greek: city of victory; see also List of traditional Greek place names) or Actia Nicopolis was an ancient city of Epirus, founded 31 BC by Octavian in memory of his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. ... Epirus (Greek Ήπειρος, Ípiros) is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in south-eastern Europe. ... Stoicism is a school of philosophy commonly associated with such Greek philosophers as Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, or Chrysippus and with such later Romans as Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. ... Epictetus (c. ... Map of Gaul circa 58 BC Gaul (Latin Gallia, Greek Galatia) was the region of Western Europe occupied by present day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western Switzerland and the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine river. ... The Danube bend at Visegrád is a popular destination of tourists The Danube (ancient Danuvius) is Europes second-longest river (after the Volga). ... Events Change of Patriarch of Constantinople from Patriarch Diogenes to Patriarch Eleutherius. ... Consul (abbrev. ... For other uses, see number 130. ... Cappadocia in 188 BC In ancient geography, Cappadocia (Greek: Καππαδοκία; see also List of traditional Greek place names; Turkish Kapadokya) was an extensive inland district of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). ... A modern reconstruction of a roman centurion around 70 AD The Roman legion (from Latin , from lego, legere, legi, lectus — to collect) was the basic military unit of the ancient Roman army. ...


In 135, he repelled an Alan invasion by successfully organizing the legions and auxiliary troops at his disposal, among which legions XII Fulminata and XV Apollinaris. He deployed the legionaries in depth supported by javelin throwers, archers, and horse archers in the rear ranks and defeated the assault of the Alan cataphracts using these combined arms tactics. During this period Arrian wrote several works, in Latin, on military tactics, including Ektaxis kata Alanoon, which detailed the above battle against the Alans and the Techne Taktika. For other uses, see number 135. ... The Alans, Alani, Alauni or Halani were an Iranian nomadic group among the Sarmatian people, warlike nomadic pastoralists of varied backgrounds, who spoke an Iranian language and to a large extent shared a common culture. ... Legio XII Fulminata, also known as Paterna or Antiqua, was originally levied by Julius Caesar in 58 BC and accompanied him during the Gallic wars until 49 BC. They were stationed in Pharsalus in 48 BC and probably fought in the Battle of Pharsalus. ... Legio XV Apollinaris (devoted to Apollo) was a Roman legion. ... Sarmatian Cataphracts The word cataphract (from the Greek κατάφρακτος) was what Greek- and later Latin-speaking peoples used to describe heavy cavalry. ... Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ...



On the death of his patron, the Emperor Hadrian, in 138, Arrian retired to Athens, where he became a citizen and a member of the Boule (Council). In 145 he held the post of Archon, once the city's leading political post but by this time an honorary one. It was here that he devoted himself to history, writing his most important work, the Anabasis Alexandri or The Campaigns of Alexander. He also wrote the Indica, an account of the voyage by Alexander's fleet from India to the Persian Gulf under Nearchus. He also wrote a political history of the Greek world after Alexander, most of which is lost. Arrian died in Athens in about 175. Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus (January 24, 76–July 10, 138), known as Hadrian in English, was Roman emperor from 117–138, and a member of the gens Aelia. ... Events February 25 - Roman emperor Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius on condition that Antonius would adopt Marcus Annius Aurelius Verus. ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα, Athína IPA: ) is the capital of Greece and one of the most famous cities in the world, named after goddess Athena. ... The term boule can be used to describe a large block of synthetically produced crystal material. ... For other uses, see number 145. ... Look up Archon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Anabasis Alexandri The Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian is the most important source on Alexander the Great. ... Indica is the name of an ancient book about India written by Arrian, one of the main ancient historians of Alexander the Great. ... Map of the Persian Gulf. ... Nearchus (or Nearchos) was one of the officers in the army of Alexander the Great. ... Events Pope Eleuterus succeeds Pope Soter (approximate date) Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius defeats the Marcomanni. ...


Arrian's Work

Arrian is an important historian because his work on Alexander is the oldest surviving complete account of the Macedonian conqueror. Arrian was able to use sources which are now lost, such as the contemporary works by Callisthenes (the nephew of Alexander's tutor Aristotle), Onesicritus, Nearchus and Aristobulus. Most important of all, Arrian had the biography of Alexander by Ptolemy, one of Alexander's leading generals and allegedly his half-brother. Callisthenes, or Kallisthenes, ( in Greek) of Olynthus (c. ... Aristotle (Ancient Greek: , Aristotélēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Onesicritus, or Onesicrates, of Aegina or Astypaleia (probably simply the old city of Aegina) was one of the writers on Alexander the Great. ... Nearchus (or Nearchos) was one of the officers in the army of Alexander the Great. ... Aristobulus, of Cassandreia, Greek historian, accompanied Alexander the Great on his campaigns, of which he wrote an account, mainly geographical and ethnological. ... Ptolemy I Soter (367 BC–283 BC) was the ruler of Egypt (323 BC - 283 BC) and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. ...


Arrian's work is to a considerable extent a reworking of Ptolemy, with material from other writers, particularly Aristobulus, brought in where Arrian thought them useful. Ptolemy was a general, and Arrian relied on him most for details of Alexander's battles, on which Ptolemy was certainly well informed. Details of geography and natural history were taken from Aristobulus, although Arrian himself had a wide knowledge of Anatolia and other eastern regions. Asia Minor lies east of the Bosporus, between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. ...


Today more interest focuses on Alexander as a man and as a political leader, and here Arrian's sources are less clear and his reliability more questionable. Probably it was not possible for Arrian to recover an accurate picture of Alexander's personality 400 years after his death, when most of his sources were partisan in one way or another. Aristobulus, for example, was known as kolax, the flatterer, while other sources were equally hostile.


Arrian was in any case primarily a military historian, and here he followed his great model (from whom he earned his nickname), the terse and narrowly-focused soldier-historian Xenophon. He has little to say about Alexander's personal life, his role in Greek politics or the reasons why the campaign against Persia was launched in the first place. Xenophon, Greek historian Xenophon (In Greek , c. ... The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau. ...


Nevertheless, Arrian's work gives a reasonably full account of Alexander's life during the campaign, and in his personal assessment of Alexander he steers a judicious course between flattery and condemnation. He concedes Alexander's vanity, suspiciousness and fondness for drink, but acquits him of the grosser crimes some writers accused him of. But he does not discuss Alexander's wider political views or other aspects of his life that the modern reader would like to know more about.


Arrian in his daily life would have spoken the koine, or "common Greek" of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. But as a writer he felt obliged to follow the prevailing view that serious works must be composed in "good Greek," which meant imitating as closely as possible the grammar and literary style of the Athenian writers of the 5th century BC. In Arrian's case this meant following the Attic style of Xenophon and Thucydides. This is somewhat the equivalent of a modern historian trying to write in the English of Shakespeare. His account of India, the Indica, was written in an equally wooden imitation of the language of Herodotus. The term Hellenistic (established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen) in the history of the ancient world is used to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks, however scattered geographically, to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of whatever ethnicity, and from the political dominance... (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium) The 5th century BC started on January 1, 500 BC and ended on December 31, 401 BC. // Overview The Parthenon of Athens seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west. ... Xenophon, Greek historian Xenophon (In Greek , c. ... Bust of Thucydides residing in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Indica is the name of an ancient book about India written by Arrian, one of the main ancient historians of Alexander the Great. ... Bust of Herodotus at Naples Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greek: , Herodotos) was a historian who lived in the 5th century BC (484 BC-ca. ...


The result is a work which was inevitably stilted and artificial, although Arrian handled the strain of writing 500-year-old Greek better than some of his contemporaries. Fortunately Xenophon was a good model of clear and unpretentious prose, which Arrian was wise to follow. Modern historians may regret that so many of the earlier works on Alexander have been lost, but they are grateful to Arrian for preserving so much.


Other surviving classical histories of Alexander

  • The Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus wrote Historiae Alexandri Magni. a biography of Alexander the Great in Latin in ten books of which the last eight survive.
  • The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote Library of world history in forty books; of these book seventeen covers the conquests of Alexander.
  • The Greek historian/biographer Plutarch of Chaeronea wrote the On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander the Great and a Alexander
  • The Roman historian Justin wrote an epitome of the Historiae Philippicae written by Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, in 44 books. Of these books 12 and 13 cover Alexander

Quintus Curtius Rufus was a Roman historical writer in the first or second century AD, generally thought to have written under the reign of Claudius. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Diodorus Siculus (c. ... Plutarch Mestrius Plutarchus (c. ... Chaeronea was a city in the province of Boeotia in Ancient Greece. ... Justin or Marcus Junianus Justinus or Justinus Frontinus, 3rd century Roman historian. ... Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, 1st century BC Roman historian, of the Celtic tribe of the Vocontii in Gallia Narbonensis, flourished during the age of Augustus, nearly contemporary with Livy. ...

Further reading

  • Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt, Penguin Classics, 1958 and numerous subsequent editions.

External links

  • Livius, Arrian of Nicomedia by Jona Lendering

Texts online

  • Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, translated by E.J. Chinnock (1893)
  • Arrian, Events after Alexander (from Photius' Bibliotheca) translated by John Rooke, edited by Tim Spalding
  • Arrian, The Indica translated by E. Iliff Robson.
  • Arrian, Array against the Alans translated by Sander van Dorst, with the Greek (transliterated) and copious notes.
  • Arrian, (section 4.18.4-19.6), (Sogdian Rock), translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt
  • Photius' excerpt of Arrian's Anabasis, translated by J.S. Freese
  • Photius' excerpt of Arrian's Bithynica, translated by J.S. Freese
  • Photius' excerpt of Arrian's Parthica, translated by J.S. Freese
  • Photius' excerpt of Arrian's Events after Alexander, translated by J.S. Freese

  Results from FactBites:
 
Arrian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1164 words)
Arrian was born in the coastal town of Nicomedia (now Izmit), the capital of the Roman province of Bithynia, in what is now north-western Turkey, about 70 km from Byzantium (now Istanbul).
Arrian was able to use sources which are now lost, such as the contemporary works by Callisthenes (the nephew of Alexander's tutor Aristotle), Onesicritus, Nearchus and Aristobulus.
Arrian was in any case primarily a military historian, and here he followed his great model (from whom he earned his nickname), the terse and narrowly-focused soldier-historian Xenophon.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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