Roman Alexander : Reading a Cultural Myth / Edition 1

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This book seizes on one of the eternal objects of widespread attention in Ancient History and turns the tables on the scholarship that has shaped and dominated the field. Instead of scrutinising the documents in order to reconstruct the biography and assess the historical significance, Diana Spencer traces the deployment and development of the mythical figure of Alexander. She explores and synthesises a selection of Latin texts, from the Late Republic to Hadrian, to form a series of themed discussions which investigate the cultural significance of Alexander for Rome. The selected texts - drawn from verse and prose, history, epic and oratory - are presented alongside their English translation, and provide an insight into a world where to think about Alexander was to engage with the burning ideological issues of Rome during a period of intense and often violent political and cultural change. The book makes clear how particular texts and issues may be readily accessed, providing a valuable resource for teachers and their students, whilst also offering a new approach to cultural histories of Rome and Alexander.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Diana Spencer's provocative book reminds us that almost all of the texts that convey the image, or rather images, of Alexander belong to the Roman Empire."—The International History Review

"Spencer offers a number of subtle and stimulating interpretations ... This is a stimulating book, filled with imaginative and suggestive ideas."—The International History Review

"This well-presented book (with Andy Warhol's Alexander the Great on the cover) examines the image of Alexander as developed and utilised by the Romans."—Joint Association of Classical Teachers JACT

"... her purpose is an exegesis of the key passages and an historical account of the development of political themes associated with Alexander. In this she has admirably succeeded, and has made a useful contribution to the study of the Alexander myth, and to the study of political discourse in the late Republic and early Principate."—Scholia Reviews

"This important study provides a valuable resource for serious scholars of Alexander as well as for teachers and students. The Latin text is preceded by English translations throughout the volume, and there is a bibliography of modern Alexanders ... Written in an engaging academic style, the book calls for a new approach to the history and reception of Alexander."—The Historian

"Spencer's achievement lies in her innovative analysis of Alexander as a mythical figure in order to assess his cultural impact upon the Romans."—The Historian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780859896788
  • Publisher: Liverpool University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: University of Exeter Press - Exeter Studies in History
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,016,676
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Diana Spencer is a Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Birmingham.

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Table of Contents

List of Readings List of Illustrations Acknowledgements

Introduction: The Empty Bottle
Map 1: The Roman World Chronology of Alexander Map 2: Alexander's Journey
1. History into Story
What's in a Name?
Alexander and the Successors: Making History Rome and the 'East': Cultural Context The Legacy of the Punic Wars Rome in the First Century BCE Augustus and the Succession History and Identity
2. Readings—Alexander Rex
Alexander v. Rome? What if . . .
Plain Speaking: Autocracy and Freedom of Speech Flattery and Excess: The Collapse of Language
3. Readings—Living Fast, Dying Young . . .
Drinking-Up Time Angry Young Man . . .
4. Readings—Imaging Alexander
Words, Memory and Myth: The Making of Kings Frontiers, Limits and a Rhetoric of Conquest: Acknowledging the Power of Words Africa Dreaming . . .
5. Autocracy—The Roman Alexander Complex
Style of Command Eastward Ambitions: The Politics of Victory
6. Alexander after Alexander
Modern Alexanders

Notes Bibliography General Index Index of chief passages discussed

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