Frank L. Holt
The Treasures of Alexander the Great
How One Man’s Wealth Shaped the World
Oxford University Press 2016
New Books in BiographyNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network July 11, 2018 Mark Klobas
Most studies of the Macedonian conqueror Alexander III focus on the military aspects of his life and reign. Yet Alexander’s campaigns would not have been possible had it not been for the enormous plunder his armies seized in their conquests. In The Treasures of Alexander the Great: How One Man’s Wealth Shaped the World (Oxford University Press, 2016), Frank L. Holt sifts through the ancient sources to provide new insights into an understudied aspect of Alexander’s empire. Though he subsequently downplayed its holdings, Alexander inherited a substantial treasury when he took the throne in 336 BCE. This he used to win the vast wealth possessed by the Persian monarchy, making himself the richest person in the world in the process. Alexander employed his wealth in numerous ways to solidify his rule, yet as Holt demonstrates at various points even he was forced to borrow money in order to cover the expenses of his ongoing campaigns, which he did by turning to the similarly-enriched soldiers accompanying him.