J.R. Hamilton (ed. with a foreword and bibliography by P. Stadter), Plutarch: Alexander. London: Duckworth and the Bristol Classical Press, 1999 (first published Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969). Pp. lxxv + 231. ISBN 1-85399-574-6. UKú14.95.
University of Calgary
In 1969 the appearance of Hamilton's commentary on Plutarch's Alexander, published by Oxford University Press, inaugurated a new phase in the study of the extant sources for Alexander the Great and, indeed, Alexander studies in general. Since then two volumes of commentary on Curtius Rufus by J. E. Atkinson and two on Arrian by A. B. Bosworth have been published, as has, on a more modest scale, a translation of and commentary on Justin's epitome of Pompeius Trogus' books on Alexander.[] I am aware also of work being done on both Diodorus 17 and the Metz Epitome. Before Hamilton's PA, little attention was given to the style, aims, methods and contributions of the extant Alexander historians, who were instead mined for information about the lost original sources. Now we have, in addition to the valuable work done on Plutarch that Philip Stadter discusses in his brief foreword to this new edition, major studies of Arrian[] and Curtius[]. The lost sources are still worth examining--indeed, such a process remains essential-- and there is still important work to be done, but it is gratifying to see the extant historians getting their due.
Bristol Classical Press now makes Hamilton's indispensable commentary available in paperback. Professor Stadter's foreward provides a useful introduction to both Plutarch's Life and contributions to Alexander studies since the publication of Hamilton's work. The Select Bibliography is divided into three parts and lists recent work on 'Plutarch', 'Plutarch's Alexander' and 'Alexander'. Both Stadter and Bristol Classical Press are to be congratulated for reissuing this valuable work.
[] J.E. Atkinson, A Commentary on Q. Curtius Rufus Historiae Alexandri Magni. Vol. I: Books 3 + 4 (Amsterdam 1980), Vol. II: Books 5-7.2 (Amsterdam 1994); A.B. Bosworth, A Historical Commentary on Arrian's History of Alexander. 2 Vols. (Oxford 1980); J.C. Yardley (tr.) and W. Heckel (ed.), Justin: Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus. Vol. I: Books 11-12 Alexander the Great (Oxford 1997).
[] A.B. Bosworth, From Arrian to Alexander (Oxford 1989).
[] Elizabeth Baynham, Alexander the Great: The Unique History of Quintus Curtius Rufus (Ann Arbor 1998).