Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria Ariana (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in the Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Le Roman d’Alexandre, traduit du grec par A Tallet-Bonvalot

Just as there is not one Silk Road, there certainly is not one Alexander Romance

The oldest known version dates probably from the third century AD and its author is unknown, although it has been attributed to Pseudo-Callisthenes - not known otherwise. This version is generally called version α and served for all subsequent versions which appeared on a more or less regular base until the 16th century written in Latin, Greek, Armenian, Georgian, Persian, Hebrew, Arabic, Islamic, French, English, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, German, Ethiopic, Mongolian and many Medieval patois. Useless to say that each version added tales of its own fantasy and embellished the legend which Alexander became over the centuries.

Le Roman d’Alexandre (ISBN 9-782080-707888) which I read is the Codex Parisinus Graecus 1711 discovered at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris in the 18th century. This Greek text is entitled The Life of Alexander the Macedonian, badly copied, full of spelling mistakes and others and was composed in the 11th century. It is labeled as version A since it is so closely related to the original Romance.

The book has little to do with the historical Alexander and the chronology of his conquests is entirely incoherent and/or invented. To give it a credible resonance, we find familiar names in a utopian setting, for instance, Craterus of Olynthus as an architect in Alexandria or Parmenion lending his name to the Serapeum while Roxane is presented as the daughter of the king of Persia. Interestingly, Parmenion is being accused of planning the murder of Alexander by bribing the king's doctor Philip at Tarsus while he historically sent a letter to Alexander to warn him for Philip.

Alexander marches with a huge army to face enormous enemies without giving any detail on the battles or hardly a location but encountering one mythical or fabulous being after another. The book contains an amazing number of letters exchanged with the Athenians, Darius, Olympias, Aristotle, Porus, Kandaké king of Meroe, and even with the Amazons and the gymnosophists. This is not a heroic Alexander but a wise man who always does the right thing much to the awe and admiration of his audience. 

Le Roman d’Alexandre concludes with Alexander’s will, which is made to fit the tale of the book but can in no way be connected to historical reality. 

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