Quintus Curtius Rufus
Quintus Curtius Rufus was a Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

, writing probably during the reign of the Emperor Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 (41-54 AD) or Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

. His only surviving work, Historiae Alexandri Magni, is a biography of Alexander the Great in Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 in ten books, of which the first two are lost, and the remaining eight are incomplete. His work is fluidly written, and while superficial study reveals the authors errors regarding geography, chronology and technical military knowledge, a detailed study reveals his focusing instead on character and protests against those Emperors of his times whom he considered tyrants. Despite the fact that much of the information we have on this ancient historian is relatively obscure, significant evidence suggests that he suffered one of the earliest known cases of conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva...

. Several scholars argue that it was because this went untreated that he succumbed to an early death.

Historical Value of his Work

W W Tarn slated him for his "complete lack of historical principle" - a view that John Yardley suggest has a lot to do with how Curtius discredited Alexander.
Historical novelist Mary Renault
Mary Renault
Mary Renault born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in Ancient Greece...

, in the preface to her biography of Alexander "Fire from Heaven
Fire From Heaven
Fire from Heaven is a 1969 historical novel by Mary Renault about the childhood and youth of Alexander the Great. It reportedly was a major inspiration for the Oliver Stone film Alexander. The book was nominated for the “Lost Man Booker Prize” of 1970, "a contest delayed by 40 years because a...

", discusses the various sources which she studied in preparation for her work, expressing considerable exasparation with Curtius who "had access to invaluable primary sources, now lost", which in her opinion he misunderstood and garbled.

See also

  • The Roman historian Arrian
    Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

     of Nicomedia
    Nicomedia was an ancient city in what is now Turkey, founded in 712/11 BC as a Megarian colony and was originally known as Astacus . After being destroyed by Lysimachus, it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most...

     wrote Anabasis Alexandri
    Anabasis Alexandri
    Anabasis Alexandri , the Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian, is the most important source on Alexander the Great.The Greek term anabasis referred to an expedition from a coastline into the interior of a country. The term katabasis referred to a trip from the interior to the coast...

     or The Campaigns of Alexander in Greek.
  • The Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus
    Diodorus Siculus
    Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

     wrote the Library of World History, of which Book 17 covers the conquests of Alexander.
  • The Greek historian/biographer Plutarch
    Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

     of Chaeronea
    Chaeronea is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Livadeia, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 2,218...

     wrote On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander the Great


  • John C. Yardley (tr), Waldemar Heckel (intr, and comm.). The History of Alexander, Quintus Curtius Rufus (Harmondsworth, Penguin, 2004).
  • Atkinson, J. E. and J C. Yardley (comm., trans.). Curtius Rufus. Histories of Alexander the Great, Book 10 (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009) (Clarendon ancient history series).

External links

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