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Alexander Romance in Persia and the East

Overview

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 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 ...

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Overview

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 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 Quran 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Bryn Mawr Classical Review - Reviewed by Judith Weingarten
"This book will take almost everyone on an exhilarating learning curve. While it is very much a volume for specialists, there will also be many who will consult it for its expertise..."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789491431043
  • Publisher: Barkhuis Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Series: Ancient Narrative Supplementum , #15
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Note on Transliteration and Bibliography xv

Part 1 Formation of a Tradition 1

Persian Aspects of the Romance Tradition Richard Stoneman 3

Mapping the Alexander Romance Daniel L. Selden 19

King Midas' Ears on Alexander's Head: In Search of the Afro-Asiatic Alexander Cycle Faustina C.W. Doufikar-Aerts 61

The Alexander Romance and the Pattern of Hero-Legend Graham Anderson 81

Part 2 Perspectives 103

The Persians in Late Byzantine Alexander Romances: A Portrayal under Turkish Influences Corinne Jouanno 105

Adventures of Alexander in Medieval Turkish Hendrik Boeschoten 117

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

Part 3 Texts 159

Alexander the Great in the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi Haila Manteghi 161

The king Explorer: A Cosmographic Approach to the Persian Alexander Mario Casari 175

'Umara's Qissa al-Iskandar as a Model of the Arabic Alexander Romance David Zuwiyya 205

Al-Tabari's Tales of Alexander: History and Romance El-Sayed M. Gad 219

Al-Mubaššir ibn Fatik and the α Version of the Alexander Romance Emily Cottrell 233

Aspects of Alexander in Coptic Egypt Leslie S.B. McCoull 255

The Islamized Alexander in Chinese Geographies and Encyclopaedias Yuriko Yamanaka 263

Part 4 Themes 275

Sekandar, Dragon-Slayer Daniel Ogden 277

Stories of the Persian Bride: Alexander and Roxane Sabine Müller 295

Alexander the Philosopher in the Greco-Roman, Persian and Arabic Traditions Sulochana Asirvatham 311

In Search of Water of Life: The Alexander Romance and Indian Mythology Aleksandra Szalc 327

The Kingship of Alexander the Great in the Jewish Versions of the Alexander Narrative Aleksandra Kleczar 339

Alexander in Bavli Tamid: In Search for a Meaning Ory Amitay 349

Part 5 Images 367

The Impact of Alexander the Great in the Art of Central Asia Olga Palagia 369

Oriental Imagery and Alexander's Legend in Art: Reconnaissance Agnieszka Fulinska 383

A Flying King Firuza Melville 405

Index 411

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