Thu April 5, 2012
"The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire" (Encore presentation.)
On our show today, which first aired last year, we explore an epic series of political struggles, leadership battles, and strategic deals and double-crossings --- not in Washington, DC; nor in the underworld of organized crime; but in the ancient world. Our guest is James Romm, a professor of Greek language, literature, and history at Bard College. Romm's new book is "Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire." It's a book that carefully and engagingly traces the social, political, and military realities of the known world in the years that followed Alexander's death at age 32. Romm tells the full story of the greater and lesser men who followed Alexander and found themselves incapable of preserving his vast holdings. This was an era that saw the the unraveling of an empire, as a subsequent snake-pit of formerly united nation-states struggled for domination --- a blueprint, if you will, for the modern era. As one critic has noted of this book, writing for Kirkus Reviews: "[It's a] scholarly but colorful account of the toxic fallout from the untimely demise of a continent-striding conqueror . . . Romm paints a vivid portrait of ancient politics . . . [His book is] lively enough to engage newbies [to ancient history] as well."