Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), who led the Macedonian army to victory in Egypt, Syria, Persia and India, was perhaps the most successful conqueror the world has ever seen. Yet although no other individual has attracted so much speculation across the centuries, Alexander himself remains an enigma. Curtius' History offers a great deal of information unobtainable from other sources of the time. A compelling narrative of a turbulent era, the work recounts events on a heroic scale, detailing court intrigue, stirring speeches and brutal battles - among them, those of Macedonia's great war with Persia, which was to culminate in Alexander's final triumph over King Darius and the defeat of an ancient and mighty empire. It also provides by far the most plausible and haunting portrait of Alexander we possess: a brilliantly realized image of a man ruined by constant good fortune in his youth.
Quintus Curtius Rufus, the Roman historian, wrote the only life in Latin of Alexander the Great. The author's identity and the date of composition of the work have been the subject of great debate. However, the evidence of recent years suggests he was a soldier and politician who rose from obscurity to a senatorial role under Tiberius (AD 14-37). However, the fall of the emperor's chief minister, Sejanus, brought his political career temporarily to an end and he turned to writing. John Yardley was born in 1942 and educated at St Andrews and Oxford Universities. He is now Professor of Classics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Waldemar Heckel is now a Professor at the University of Calgary, Canada. His books include The Last Days and Testament of Alexander the Great: A Prosopographic Study and The Marshals of Alexander's Empire.