Durability of alumina ceramics when used as die material in compressive loading varies widely. The compressive strength of various alumina ceramics was therefore determined as a function of temperature. The results are discussed in terms of the microstructure and fracture morphology. The (hot-pressing) durability of the materials does not correlate at all with the compressive strength data obtained. Instead, this property seems to be determined entirely by the homogeneity and lack of flaws in the ceramic.