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Anson publishes two books on Hellenistic Era

Dr. Edward Anson, a professor of history at UA Little Rock, has added two books to his publication record.

Considered an expert in the Hellenistic Era and Alexander the Great, Anson added to that body of knowledge with the publication of “Philip II, the Father of Alexander the Great: Themes and Issues.”

“This book deals with the controversies of Phillip’s reign,” Anson said. “I look at how Phillip, in roughly 20 years, took a region that was considered the punching bag of much of the Western world and turned it into the top power of the Western world.”

Philip II was the king of Macedon who unified Macedonia into the first European nation and created the army Alexander the Great used to conquer the Persian Empire. Historically, Anson said that Phillip’s accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of his more famous son.

“Alexander was a brilliant practitioner, but Phillip was the great statesman and innovator,” Anson said. “He completely revolutionized warfare. When he captured territory, he gave it out to people who had formerly been surfs, and they formed the basis for his army. They were incredibly loyal to him because he had freed them from servitude and gave them land. He put his country at the top of the Greek world.”

Anson also co-edited the book, “Affective Relations and Personal bonds in Hellenistic Antiquity: A Festschrift Honouring of the Career of Elizabeth D. Carney,” with Dr. Monica D’Agostini and Dr. Frances Pownall.

The book is inspired by Carney’s seminal work on ancient Macedonia and explores the complex web of personal relations, inside and outside the oikos (family), governing Alexander’s world, by considering the dynastic bloodlines as well as the affective relations. The volume offers a discussion of the familial network ruling the Mediterranean world at the time of Philip and Alexander.

“The book honors Elizabeth Carney, who did a great deal of work for the women of the Hellenistic period,” Anson said. “She wrote a biography on the mother of Alexander the Great. Her idea was to show the role of women in the Hellenistic world, and this takes the idea of personal bonds and expands it. So much of ancient history is written institutionally, but it is a very personal time. Diplomacy was handled by aristocratic families, and they had nothing remotely like the ambassadors and secretaries of state that we have today.”

Anson also contributed a chapter in the book, “Father of the Army: Alexander and the Epigoni,” that describes how Alexander created a new army for his growing empire.