I am not one for surprises, but one kind that I do enjoy is finding Alexander in the wild. By this I mean in books that aren’t about and have nothing to do with him.
Case in Point: I’m currently reading The Four Men by Hilaire Belloc. In it, four men – strangers to each other and all based on Belloc himself – walk together from East to West Sussex. Along the way, they start talking about a pub named The Washington Inn. (By the bye, I am very happy to report that it appears this pub still exists (Apologies for the second parentheses but I should add that The Four Men was published in 1912). It is called The Frankland Arms today, and its website can be found here).
According to a character named The Sailor, the Washington Inn is famous for its beer. It is so famous that various famous personages have searched for it, including Alexander. The Four Men is subtitled ‘A Farrago’, which would explain why the Sailor says that it was in search of the Washington Inn’s beer ‘that Alexander fought his way to Indus’, and died following his failure to find it. Well, it’s as good a reason for his death as many of the other theories out there.
While writing this post, I had to use Google to see if the Washington Inn was still extant. I found out thanks to this digital marketing company’s website. I know this is a blog about Alexander the Great, but if you are at all interested in Sussex, Hilaire Belloc, or beer, this blog post of theirs will definitely be of interest to you!