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
Note on Transliteration and Bibliography XV
PART 1 FORMATION OF A TRADITION - 1
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
The Alexander Romance and the Pattern of Hero-Legend 81
PART 2 PERSPECTIVES - 103
The Persians in Late Byzantine Alexander Romances: A Portrayal under Turkish Influences 105
Adventures of Alexander in Medieval Turkish 117
Some Talk of Alexander Myth and Politics in the North-West Frontier of British India 127
PART 3 TEXTS - 159
Alexander the Great in the Shāhnāmeh of Ferdowsī 161
The King Explorer: A Cosmographic Approach to the Persian Alexander 175
‘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
Al-Mubaššir ibn Fātik and the α Version of the Alexander Romance 233
LESLIE S.B. MCCOULL
Aspects of Alexander in Coptic Egypt 255
The Islamized Alexander in Chinese Geographies and Encyclopaedias 263
PART 4 THEMES - 275
Sekandar, Dragon-Slayer 277
Stories of the Persian Bride: Alexander and Roxane 295
Alexander the Philosopher in the Greco-Roman, Persian and Arabic Traditions 311
In Search of Water of Life: The Alexander Romance and Indian Mythology 327
The Kingship of Alexander the Great in the Jewish Versions of the Alexander Narrative 339
Alexander in Bavli Tamid: In Search for a Meaning 349
PART 5 IMAGES - 367
The Impact of Alexander the Great in the Art of Central Asia 369
Oriental Imagery and Alexander’s Legend in Art: Reconnaissance 383
A Flying King 405
Free download. Includes the frontmatter.
Starting with Supplementum 13 the supplements of Ancient Narrative will be published in print only, and no longer be available online on this website.
The printed volumes of the Ancient Narrative Supplements can be purchased on the website of the publisher at www.barkhuis.nl or through your academic bookseller.