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Alexander the Great$
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John Boardman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691181752

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691181752.001.0001

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The Alexander Portraits in Antiquity

The Alexander Portraits in Antiquity

(p.38) III The Alexander Portraits in Antiquity
Alexander the Great

John Boardman

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores how Alexander's life and experiences, real and imagined, were always ready subjects for illustration. As time passed, conventions for showing him and his deeds developed from the probably real, of his lifetime, to the imaginary but based on exaggeration of the “real,” to the totally fanciful. Lifelike portraiture had appeared first in Greek art in the later part of the fifth century BC—possibly first among the Greeks of Asia Minor, to judge from coinage. In an Asia Minor ruled by Persians the idea of a royal or ruler portrait was more acceptable, and might be used on coins of Greek type being made for Persian governors. Alexander was royal and non-Greek, and so a safe subject.

Keywords:   Alexander, illustration, lifelike portraiture, Greek art, Asia Minor, coinage

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