Alexander the great expert David Grant said he has 'unearthed' the king's last testament
A British expert claims to have "unearthed" the Macedonian king's dying wishes in an ancient text that has been "hiding in plain sight" for centuries.
The long-dismissed last will and testament divulges Alexander's plans for the future of the Graeco-Persian empire he ruled, and his succession in which, it is claimed, he named his son as heir to his throne.
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It also reveals his burial wishes and discloses the beneficiaries to his vast fortune and power.
Evidence for the 'lost' will can be 'found' in an ancient manuscript known as the Greek Alexander Romance, a book of fables that grew up around Alexander's exploits.
Likely compiled sometime in the century after Alexander's death, it nevertheless contains invaluable historical fragments about Alexander's campaigns in the Persian Empire.
Mr Grant undertook a 10-year research project into the ancient manuscript known as the Greek Alexand
Historians have long believed that the last chapter of the Romance housed a political pamphlet that contained Alexander's will, but until now have dismissed it as a work of early fiction.
It was one of the most influential military and political mandates in the ancient world
David Grant, Alexander the Great expert
But a 10-year research project undertaken by London-based Alexander expert David Grant suggests otherwise.
The comprehensive study concludes that the will was based upon the genuine article, if skewed for political effect.
Buried by Alexander's generals who knew the truth, it has vexed historians for 2,000 years.
The revelation is detailed in Mr Grant's new book, In Search of the Lost Testament of Alexander the Great, which hits the shelves this week.
If Mr Grant is correct, it overturns 2,000 years of academic study on the issue.
He said: "The propaganda and political slant of the pamphlet cast serious doubts on the authenticity of the will, which at some point was absorbed by a developing book of fables we know today as Greek Alexander Romance.
"Once it entered the Romance, its fate was relegated from truth to fairy tale.
"Yet my research brings me to the overwhelming conclusion that, though adulterated, this is based on an original last testament of Alexander the Great, and it was one of the most influential military and political mandates in the ancient world."
The Macedonian king's final will divulges his plans for the future
Alexander the Great is arguably one of history's most successful military commanders.
Undefeated in battle, he had carved out a vast empire stretching from Macedonia and Greece in Europe, to Persia, Egypt and even parts of northern India by the time of his death aged 32.
Only five barely intact accounts of his death at Babylon in 323 BCE survive to the present day. None are from eyewitnesses and all conflict to varying degrees.
According to one account from the Roman era, Alexander died leaving his kingdom 'to the strongest' or 'most worthy' of his generals.
In another version, he died speechless after being comatose for some days, without making any plans for succession. Based on these testimonies, historians have ignored the will.
But Mr Grant, a classics graduate, considered the hypothesis to be "highly suspect" given Alexander's attention to detail and the power-hungry nature of his generals.
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His research has spanned ten years and tens of thousands of hours considering "every conceivable avenue of investigation" in order to put the record straight once and for all.
The study, the most comprehensive of its kind undertaken on Alexander's succession, challenges the very fabric of what Mr Grant terms the 'standard model' historians have come to accept of the age of Alexander.
The clues sit in the Greek Alexander Romance, a priceless blend of fact and fable that absorbed a political pamphlet containing Alexander's posthumous wishes.
This was penned after Alexander's death and is believed to have been circulated for propaganda purposes.
The pamphlet claiming to contain Alexander's last will and testament has long been dismissed by Mr Grant's peers due to its clear political nature and its eventual home in the Romance.
But Mr Grant, a freelance academic and expert on Alexander, disagrees.
MMr Grant's book In Search of the Lost Testament of Alexander the Great comes out this week
He believes that Alexander's original will was supressed by his most powerful generals, because it named his then unborn half-Asiatic son, Alexander IV, and elder son Heracles, as his successors.
Rather than accepting the leadership of what the Macedonians saw as "half-breed" sons, which would have been "unthinkable", they fought each other for power in a bloody period of infighting and civil war known as the 'Successor Wars'.
It was in the decades following Alexander's death that Mr Grant now believes the original will was secretly rewritten and distributed in leaflet form by one of the competing generals to 'prove' the legitimacy of his own inheritance, as well as to damn the generals opposing him.
So, as well as naming Alexander's chosen successors, the leaflet contains detail of a conspiracy among his generals to poison Alexander.
Instead of being satisfied with the regions of the empire Alexander allotted to each of them to govern on behalf of his sons, they fought bitterly to control the whole empire.
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