Tag Archives: Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great in Persian Tradition

Manteghi, Haila. 2018. Alexander the Great in Persian tradition: History, myth and legend in medieval Iran. I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.

Alexander the Great (356-333 BC) was transformed into a legend by all those he met, leaving an enduring tradition of romances across the world. Aside from its penetration into every language of medieval Europe, the Alexander romance arguably had its greatest impact in the Persian language. Haila Manteghi here offers a complete survey of that deep tradition, ranging from analysis of classical Persian poetry to popular romances and medieval Arabic historiography. She explores how the Greek work first entered the Persian literary tradition and traces the development of its influence, before revealing the remarkable way in which Alexander became as central to the Persian tradition as any other hero or king. And, importantly, by focusing on the often-overlooked early medieval Persian period, she also demonstrates that a positive view of Alexander developed in Arabic and Persian literature before the Islamic era. Drawing on an impressive range of sources in various languages – including Persian, Arabic and Greek – Manteghi provides a profound new contribution to the study of the Alexander romances.Beautifully written and with vibrant literary motifs, this book is important reading for all those with an interest in Alexander, classical and medieval Persian history, the early Islamic world and classical reception studies.

About the author:
Haila Manteghi is a lecturer at the University of Munster and recently completed her second PhD on the Persian Alexandrian tradition, at the University of Exeter. Her first PhD, on the same topic, was completed at the University of Alicante, and she has published in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections.

Scythian Strategy or Open Pitched Battle

Kleymeonov, Alexander Anatolevich. 2017. Scythian strategy or open pitched battle: Choice of strategy by the Persian command in 334 BCMan In India 97 (22), 219-227.

The article is devoted to the analysis of the Persian command’s plans to repel Alexander the Great’s invasion into Asia Minor. The main objective is to consider the information from the ancient sources related to Memnon of Rhodes’ proposal to apply the ” scorched earth ” tactic against the advancing Alexander’s army, to analyze this plan for feasibility and to identify the reasons for rejection of Memnon’s plan by the Persian satraps and commanders. The research was undertaken based on the principle of historism. A multi-faceted approach to the ancient narrative sources, methods of comparative historical analysis, content analysis, and the historical reconstructive method have been used. As a result, it was determined that the Persians knew well the features of the ” Scythian strategy ” and applied the ” scorched earth ” tactic both before and after Alexander’s invasion. However, Persian satraps and commanders rejected Memnon’s proposal at the council at Zeleia and adopted the open pitched battle. The reasons include numerous shortcomings and unfeasibility of Memnon’s plan, the positive sides of which were greatly exaggerated by ancient historians, who openly sympathized with Memnon of Rhodes and were critical towards the Persians.

Crowns, hats, turbans and helmets

Maksymiuk, Katarzyna & Gholamreza Karamian (eds.). 2017. Crowns, hats, turbans and helmets. The headgear in Iranian history. Volume I: Pre-Islamic Period. Siedlce & Tehran: Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities.

Table of contents:

  • Joanna SZKLARZ: Significance of the Helmet in fight between Sohrāb and Gordāfarid
  • Dan-Tudor IONESCU: The Use of the Tiara as symbol of Persian Achaemenid Kingship: why Alexander the Great didn’t adopt it?
  • Svyatoslav V. SMIRNOV: Revising Seleukid Iconography: A Person Wearing Helmet and Conflict of Imageries
  • Ulf JÄGER: Morion-type Helmets of Gandhāra. A rare Kušān-period helmet-type of the 1st to the 3rd / 4th century CE – A very first preliminary attempt
  • Mariusz MIELCZAREK: Arms and Armour on Kušān coins. Royal images
  • Patryk SKUPNIEWICZ, Marcin LICHOTA: Diadem on the head from Khalchayan battle scene and possible reconstruction of the composition
  • Katarzyna MAKSYMIUK: Ram’s Horns as a Religious Element of Sasanian Kings’ Military Equipment (notes to Amm. Marc. XIX.1.3)
  • Gholamreza KARAMIAN, Kaveh FARROKH, Adam KUBIK, Mandana TAHERI OSHTERINANI: An Examination of Parthian and Sasanian Military Helmets (2nd century BC-7th century CE)
  • Ilkka SYVÄNNE: A Note on the Methodology regarding the Reconstruction of the Late Roman Helmets in Art, Archaeology and Analysis
  • Marta CZERWIENIEC-IVASYK: Helmet or a crown? – A few comments on the margin of the Sasanian coins discovered in the Baltic Sea area
  • Adam KUBIK: Sasanian lamellar helmets
  • Patryk SKUPNIEWICZ: On the Helmet on the Capital at Ṭāq-e Bostān again
  • David NICOLLE: One-piece Sasanian and Early Islamic Helmets
  • Sergei Yu. KAINOV: The Helmet from Krasnodar Territory

The History of the Argeads

Müllerm Sabine, Timothy Howe, Hugh Bowden & Robert Rollinger (eds.). 2017. The History of the Argeads. New Perspectives. (classica et orientalia 19), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

The Macedonian Argead Empire had an interesting and fascinating history already before its rise under its most famous rulers Philip II and his son Alexander III. Furthermore, the history of their predecessors provides a context for understanding their activities.
This volume, based on a conference on Argead Macedonia in 2015, offers an account of the place of Argead Macedonia in the wider ancient world from the sixth century BC to the second century AD and beyond. Argead Macedonia is explored in the context of its regal, structural, historical, courtly and military traditions. Its alliances and enmities, its political networks and environment are scrutinized – particularly in regard to Persia, but also to Greece. In order to look at Argead Macedonia from a wider angle, going beyond ancient literary topoi and views on Macedonia in isolation, the authors analyze in which ways the Argead monarchy was integrated into the wider Eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastern world, influenced by it and having an impact upon it. The volume is divided into four sections. Different aspects such as Macedonia’s relationship with Achaemenid Persia, political and military matters, Argead coinage, dynastic profile and reception of the Argeads are examined.

The introduction and the table of contents are available here.

The Alexander Romance by Ps.-Callisthenes

Nawotka, Krzysztof. 2017. The Alexander Romance by Ps.-Callisthenes. Leiden: Brill.

The Alexander Romance by Ps.-Callisthenes of Krzysztof Nawotka is a guide to a third century AD fictional biography of Alexander the Great, the anonymous Historia Alexandri Magni. It is a historical commentary which identifies all names and places in this piece of Greek literature approached as a source for the history of Alexander the Great, from kings, like Nectanebo II of Egypt and Darius III of Persia, to fictional characters. It discusses real and imaginary geography of the Alexander Romance. While dealing with all aspects of Ps.-Callisthenes relevant to Greek history and to Macedonia, its pays particular attention to aspects of ancient history and culture of Babylonia and Egypt and to the multi-layered foundation story of Alexandria.

Krzysztof Nawotka, Ph.D. (1991), The Ohio State University, is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Wrocław, Poland. He has published on Greek history, including The Western Pontic Cities: History and Political Organization (1997), Alexander the Great (2010), Boule and Demos in Miletus and its Pontic Colonies (2014).

With Alexander in India and Central Asia

Antonetti, Claudia, & Paolo Biagi (ed.). 2017. With Alexander in India and Central Asia: Moving east and back to west. Oxbow Books.

Alexander conquered most parts of the Western World, but there is a great deal of controversy over his invasion of India, the least known of his campaigns. In BC 327 Alexander came to India, and tried to cross the Jhelum river for the invasion, but was then confronted by King Porus who ruled an area in what is now the Punjab. According to Indian history he was stopped by Porus at his entry into the country, but most of the world still believes that Alexander won the battle. Fearing the prospect of facing other large armies and exhausted by years of campaigning, Alexander’s army mutinied at the Hyphasis River, refusing to march farther east. This river thus marks the easternmost extent of Alexander’s conquests.
Twelve papers in this volume examine aspects of Alexander’s Indian campaign, the relationship between him and his generals, the potential to use Indian sources, and evidence for the influence of policies of Alexander in neighbouring areas such as Iran and Russia.

 

Alexander’s Legacy

Cinzia, Bearzot & Landucci Franca (eds.). (2016). Alexander’s Legacy: Atti del Convegno, Milano-Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, settembre 2015 (Monografie Del Centro Ricerche Di Documentazione Sull’antichita Classica). L’ERMA di BRETSCHNEIDER.

 

Recently, the history of Alexander and his Successors has attracted growing attention of modern academia. The Hellenistic world is not viewed anymore as a moment of decadence after the splendour of the Greek Classical age, enlightened by Athens’ bright star, but as an engaging example of ante litteram globalization, the essential premise to the development of the Roman Empire. We have consequently considered opportune and significant to organise a conference meeting devoted to Alexander’ s Legacy.
Continue reading Alexander’s Legacy

The Cults of Alexander the Great in the Greek Cities of Asia Minor

Kholod, Maxim. 2016. “The Cults of Alexander the Great in the Greek Cities of Asia Minor“. Klio. Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte 98(2), 495-525.

 

The paper deals with the cults of Alexander the Great in the Greek cities of Asia Minor (on the coast and the nearby islands). The author argues that although some cults in these cities could be set up after the Macedonian king’s death, at least most known to us (or supposed) cults of Alexander in them were instituted still in his lifetime, in all likelihood, in 324-323 BC. It seems that the cults of the king were established only in a certain, probably far from overwhelming, number of the Greek cities of Asia Minor in this period. In turn, it should be believed that the do ut des principle played an important role when these cities introduced such cults. At the same time, their institution was also caused by a sense of gratitude of the inhabitants of the Greek cities of Asia Minor to Alexander for the liberation of them from the unpopular power of both the Persians and pro-Persian oligarchs or tyrants and, in addition, for those general and particular benefactions that were given by the Macedonian king to the communities.

A History of Alexander in the Age of Empire

Nicholas Elliott’s translation of Briant’s 2012 Alexandre des Lumières: Fragments d’histoire européenne has been published:

Briant, Pierre. 2017. The First European: A History of Alexander in the Age of Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

The exploits of Alexander the Great were so remarkable that for centuries after his death the Macedonian ruler seemed a figure more of legend than of history. Thinkers of the European Enlightenment, searching for ancient models to understand contemporary affairs, were the first to critically interpret Alexander’s achievements. As Pierre Briant shows, in the minds of eighteenth-century intellectuals and philosophes, Alexander was the first European: a successful creator of empire who opened the door to new sources of trade and scientific knowledge, and an enlightened leader who brought the fruits of Western civilization to an oppressed and backward “Orient.”

In France, Scotland, England, and Germany, Alexander the Great became an important point of reference in discourses from philosophy and history to political economy and geography. Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Robertson asked what lessons Alexander’s empire-building had to teach modern Europeans. They saw the ancient Macedonian as the embodiment of the rational and benevolent Western ruler, a historical model to be emulated as Western powers accelerated their colonial expansion into Asia, India, and the Middle East.

For a Europe that had to contend with the formidable Ottoman Empire, Alexander provided an important precedent as the conqueror who had brought great tyrants of the “Orient” to heel. As The First European makes clear, in the minds of Europe’s leading thinkers, Alexander was not an aggressive militarist but a civilizing force whose conquests revitalized Asian lands that had lain stagnant for centuries under the lash of despotic rulers.

Table of contents

  • Preface to the English-Language Edition
  • Introduction: Fragments of European History
  • I. A Critical History
    • 1. History, Morals, and Philosophy
    • 2. Alexander in Europe: Erudition and History
  • II. The Conqueror-Philosopher
    • 3. War, Reason, and Civilization
    • 4. A Successful Conquest
    • 5. Affirming and Contesting the Model
  • III. Empires and Nations
    • 6. Lessons of Empire, from the Thames to the Indus
    • 7. Alexander in France from the Revolution to the Restoration
    • 8. German Alexanders
  • IV. The Sense of History
    • 9. After Alexander?
    • 10. Alexander, Europe, and the Immobile Orient
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

Alexander the Great and the East

Nawotka, Krzysztof & Agnieszka Wojciechowska (eds.). 2016. Alexander the Great and the East: History, Art, Tradition. (Philippika – Altertumswissenschaftliche Abhandlungen / Contributions to the Study of Ancient World Cultures 103). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
Even if Alexander’s rule in Asia has to be approached primarily through the study of Greek and Latin authors, many papers in this volume try to look beyond Arrian, Plutarch, Curtius, and Diodorus to Greek inscriptions, papyri, Egyptian, Babylonian, medieval Syriac and Arabic evidence. One focus is on Egypt, from the XXX dynasty to the Ptolemaic age. A lasting achievement of the early Macedonian age in Egypt is the lighthouse of Pharos, probably devised under Alexander to serve both as a watchtower of Alexandria and the focal point of the fire telegraph.
Another focus of the volume is on Babylonia, with caveats against the over-enthusiastic usage of cuneiform sources for Alexander. This focus then moves further east, showing how much caution is necessary in studying the topography of Alexander’s campaigns in Baktria, the land often misrepresented by ancient and medieval authors. It also deals with representation and literary topoi, having in mind that Alexander was as much a historical as a literary figure. In many respects ancient Alexander historians handled his persona in strong connection with Herodotean topics, while the idealized portrait of Alexander translated, through court poetry, into the language of power of Ptolemy of Egypt. Alexander was adopted to cultural traditions of the East, both through the medium of the Alexander Romance and through his fictitious correspondence with Aristotle, sometimes becoming a figure of a (Muslim) mystic or a chosen (Jewish) king.
Table of Contents
  • Krzysztof Nawotka and Agnieszka Wojciechowska: “Alexander the Great and the East: History, Art, Tradition: An Introduction”
  • Ivan A. Ladynin: “An Egyptian Prince at Alexander’s Court at Asia? A New Interpretation for the Evidence of the Statuette of the Son of Nectanebo II”
  • Krzysztof Nawotka and Agnieszka Wojciechowska: “Nectanebo II and Alexander the Great”
  • Adam Łukaszewicz: “Alexander and the Island of Pharos”
  • Giulia Cesarin: “Hunters on Horseback: New Version of the Macedonian Iconography in Ptolemaic Egypt”
  • Eduard Rung: “Athens, Alexander and the Family of Memnon of Rhodes: Some Notes on a New Interpretation of so-called “Memnon’s Decree”
  • Krzysztof Ulanowski: “The Methods of Divination Used in the Campaigns of the Assyrian Kings and Alexander the Great”
  • Micah T. Ross: “Belephantes to Alexander: An Astrological Report to a Macedonian King?”
  • Robin Lane Fox: “Alexander and Babylon: A Substitute King?”
  • Jeffrey Lerner: “Which Way North? Retracing Alexander’s Route to Marakanda in the Spring of 328 B.C.E”
  • Olga Kubica: “The Massacre of the Branchidae: a Reassessment. The post-mortem Case in Defence of the Branchidae”
  • Gościwit Malinowski: “Alexander the Great and China”
  • Guendalina D.M. Taietti: “Alexander the Great as a Herodotean Persian king”
  • Sabine Muller: “Poseidippos, Ptolemy and Alexander”
    Igor Yakubovitch: “The East in Curtius Rufus’ Historiae Alexandri Magni: A Paradoxical Reversion of Standards”
  • Christian Thrue Djurslev: “The Figure of Alexander the Great and Nonnus’ Dionysiaca”
  • Agnieszka Fulińska: “The Great, Son of the Great. Alexander – Son of Darius?”
  • Dan-Tudor Ionescu: “The King and His Personal Historian: The Relationship between Alexander of Macedon and Callisthenes in Bactria and Sogdiana”
  • Przemysław Siekierka: “Another Note on Deification of Alexander in Athens”
  • Agnieszka Kotlińska-Toma: “On His Majesty’s Secret Service – Actors at the Court of Alexander the Great”
  • Aleksandra Szalc: “The Metamorphoses of Pseudo-Callisthenes’ Motifs Concerning India in the Persian Alexander Romances”
  • Emily Cottrell: “An Early Mirror for Princes and Manual for Secretaries: The Epistolary Novel of Aristotle and Alexander”
  • Richard Stoneman: “Alexander’s Mirror”
  • Aleksandra Klęczar: “Wise and the Wiser: The Narratives on Alexander’s Wisdom Defeated in Two Versions of Hebrew Alexander Romance (MS London Jews’ College no 145 and MS Héb. 671.5 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale)”
  • Josef Wiesehöfer: “Alexander’s “Policy of Fusion” and German Ancient History between 1933 and 1945”