Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend

Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend

by Richard Stoneman
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300164017

ISBN-13: 9780300164015

Pub. Date: 03/30/2010

Publisher: Yale University Press

Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) precipitated immense historical change in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds. But the resonance his legend achieved over the next two millennia stretched even farther—across foreign cultures, religious traditions, and distant nations.

This engaging and handsomely illustrated book for the first time gathers together

Overview

Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) precipitated immense historical change in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds. But the resonance his legend achieved over the next two millennia stretched even farther—across foreign cultures, religious traditions, and distant nations.

This engaging and handsomely illustrated book for the first time gathers together hundreds of the colorful Alexander legends that have been told and retold around the globe. Richard Stoneman, a foremost expert on the Alexander myths, introduces us first to the historical Alexander and then to the Alexander of legend, an unparalleled mythic icon who came to represent the heroic ideal in cultures from Egypt to Iceland, from Britain to Malaya.

Alexander came to embody the concerns of Hellenistic man; he fueled Roman ideas on tyranny and kingship; he was a talisman for fourth-century pagans and a hero of chivalry in the early Middle Ages. He appears in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic writings, frequently as a prophet of God. Whether battling winged foxes or meeting with the Amazons, descending to the underworld or inventing the world’s first diving bell, Alexander inspired as a hero, even a god. Stoneman traces Alexander’s influence in ancient literature and folklore and in later literatures of east and west. His book provides the definitive account of the legends of Alexander the Great—a powerful leader in life and an even more powerful figure in the history of literature and ideas.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300164015
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
03/30/2010
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     vii
Preface     xi
Note on Proper Names and Languages     xiii
Abbreviations and Major Classical Texts Cited     xiv
Historical Timeline     xvi
Introduction     1
Nativity: Egyptian Origins (356 BC)     6
Golden Vines, Golden Bowls and Temples of Fire: The Persian Versions     27
Cities of Alexander: Jews and Arabs Adopt the Hero     49
The Marvels of India (329-326 BC)     67
'How Much Land Does a Man Need?': Alexander's Encounters with the Brahmans (326 BC)     91
From the Heights of the Air to the Depths of the Sea: Alexander as Inventor and Sage     107
Amazons, Mermaids and Wilting Maidens     128
The Search for Immortality     150
The Unclean Nations and the End of Time     170
Death in Babylon (323 BC)     186
Universal Emperor: The Christian Hero     199
King of the World: Alexander the Greek     217
Epilogue     227
The Formative Alexander Romances, their Main Derivatives, and the Main Illustrated Versions     230
Tables     246
Notes     255
Bibliography     284
Index     306

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