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Jona Lendering (born 29 October 1964 in Beneden-Leeuwen, Gelderland) is a Dutch historian and the author of books on antiquity, Dutch history and modern management. He has an MA in history from Leiden University and an MA in Mediterranean culture from the Amsterdam Free University, taught history at the Free University, and worked as an archivist employed by the Dutch government, before becoming one of the founders of the history school Livius Onderwijs.
Lendering's biography of Alexander the Great (Alexander de Grote) attempted to make greater use than earlier scholars of Persian and Babylonian sources. For example, he argued from Babylonian astronomical diaries that Darius III of Persia was deserted by his troops when he faced Alexander at the Battle of Gaugamela, rather than personally leading the retreat as reported by Greek sources. His work, "Alexander de Grote. De ondergang van het Perzische rijk" was described by Bryn Mawr Classical Review contributor Jan P. Stronk from the University of Amsterdam, as "clear and compelling" and "manifestly written for the general public"-and although not sharing Lendering's love for psychological profiles, Lendering's work may be regarded as an incentive for serious scholars looking to expand their knowledge of new sources of ancient history.
In a passage cited by one commentator as characteristic of recent unsympathetic interpretations of Alexander, Lendering argued that Alexander's respectful treatment of Darius' family was not just an act of chivalry but also a claim to be the "new king". Quality Non-Fiction from Holland called Alexander de Grote "fascinating" and highlighted Lendering's attention to non-Western evidence. However, ancient historian Jan P. Stronk thought it clear from Lendering's book that these sources could at best illuminate specific details of Alexander's life.
Lendering's interest in using western sources in combination with eastern sources can also be discerned in his book on ancient Rome (Stad in marmer), in which he quoted hitherto neglected Talmudic sources, and especially in his book on the legacy of Babylon and the world of Islam to Medieval Europe, Vergeten erfenis.
In the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, Lendering's review of Kaveh Farrokh Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War was criticized as being "marred by a series of overt inaccuracies, misconceptions and mistakes with respect to the domain of ancient Iranian studies." Lendering was also described by the authors of the response as displaying "a consistent pattern of ignoring seminal works, journal publications, and research that contradict his points of view."
In 2010, Lendering and Arjen Bosman published "De rand van het Rijk: de Romeinen en de Lage Landen."
Since 1996, Lendering has maintained Livius, a website containing numerous articles on ancient history. The site is divided into sections on specific regions - Anatolia, Persia, Greece, etc. - and an individual selection of topics is treated for each of these. The Mesopotamian section contains the recently discovered Babylonian Chronicles of the Hellenistic Period.
Livius Onderwijs is an association of teachers interested in ancient Mediterranean societies. ("Onderwijs" is Dutch for "education".) The association is based in Amsterdam and among other services offers a series of lectures there and elsewhere. It was founded in 2005 by Lendering and Marco Prins.
After the publication of Lendering's Spijkers op laag water, a book highly critical about the shortcomings of modern classicists, archaeologists, and historians, the research school of Dutch classicists and historians awarded him their annual "Oikos publieksprijs", recognizing Lendering's contributions to explaining Antiquity to a larger audience.
In 2016 he was awarded the Theodor Award (named after Theodor Holman) "for his publications on the importance of the classical heritage and for his relentless struggle against the impoverishment of our culture".