Ancient Narrative Supplementum 15
The Alexander Romance in Persia and the East
Richard Stoneman, Kyle Erickson and Ian Netton (eds.)

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Short Description

Alexander the Great of Macedon was no stranger to controversy in his own time. Conqueror of the Greek states, of Egypt and of the Persian Empire as well as many of the principalities of the Indus Valley, he nevertheless became revered as well as vilified. Was he a simply a destroyer of the ancient civilizations and religions of these regions, or was he a hero of the Persian dynasties and of Islam? The conflicting views that were taken of him in the Middle East in his own time and the centuries that followed are still reflected in the tensions that exist between east and west today.

The story of Alexander became the subject of legend in the medieval west, but was perhaps even more pervasive in the east. The Alexander Romance was translated into Syriac in the sixth century and may have become current in Persia as early as the third century AD. From these beginnings it reached into the Persian national epic, the Shahnameh, into Jewish traditions, and into the Qur’an and subsequent Arab romance. The papers in this volume all have the aim of deepening our understanding of this complex development. If we can understand better why Alexander is such an important figure in both east and west, we shall be a little closer to understanding what unites two often antipathetic worlds.

This volume collects the papers delivered at the conference of the same title held at the University of Exeter from July 26-29 2010. More than half the papers were by invited speakers and were designed to provide a systematic view of the subject; the remainder were selected for their ability to carry research forward in an integrated way.

Table of Contents

Introduction IX

Note on Transliteration and Bibliography XV

PART 1 FORMATION OF A TRADITION - 1

RICHARD STONEMAN
Persian Aspects of the Romance Tradition 3

DANIEL L. SELDEN
Mapping the Alexander Romance 19

FAUSTINA C.W. DOUFIKAR-AERTS
King Midas’ Ears on Alexander’s Head: In Search of the Afro-Asiatic Alexander Cycle 61

GRAHAM ANDERSON
The Alexander Romance and the Pattern of Hero-Legend 81

PART 2 PERSPECTIVES - 103

CORINNE JOUANNO
The Persians in Late Byzantine Alexander Romances: A Portrayal under Turkish Influences 105

HENDRIK BOESCHOTEN
Adventures of Alexander in Medieval Turkish 117

WARWICK BALL
Some Talk of Alexander Myth and Politics in the North-West Frontier of British India 127

PART 3 TEXTS - 159

HAILA MANTEGHI
Alexander the Great in the Shāhnāmeh of Ferdowsī 161

MARIO CASARI
The King Explorer: A Cosmographic Approach to the Persian Alexander 175

DAVID ZUWIYYA
‘Umāra’s Qissa al-Iskandar as a Model of the Arabic Alexander Romance 205

EL-SAYED M. GAD
Al-Tabari’s Tales of Alexander: History and Romance 219

EMILY COTTRELL
Al-Mubaššir ibn Fātik and the α Version of the Alexander Romance 233

LESLIE S.B. MCCOULL
Aspects of Alexander in Coptic Egypt 255

YURIKO YAMANAKA
The Islamized Alexander in Chinese Geographies and Encyclopaedias 263

PART 4 THEMES - 275

DANIEL OGDEN
Sekandar, Dragon-Slayer 277

SABINE MÜLLER
Stories of the Persian Bride: Alexander and Roxane 295

SULOCHANA ASIRVATHAM
Alexander the Philosopher in the Greco-Roman, Persian and Arabic Traditions 311

ALEKSANDRA SZALC
In Search of Water of Life: The Alexander Romance and Indian Mythology 327

ALEKSANDRA KLĘCZAR
The Kingship of Alexander the Great in the Jewish Versions of the Alexander Narrative 339

ORY AMITAY
Alexander in Bavli Tamid: In Search for a Meaning 349

PART 5 IMAGES - 367

OLGA PALAGIA
The Impact of Alexander the Great in the Art of Central Asia 369

AGNIESZKA FULINSKA
Oriental Imagery and Alexander’s Legend in Art: Reconnaissance 383

FIRUZA MELVILLE
A Flying King 405

Index 411

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