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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 Romances in the Middle Ages

The Alexander Romances in the Middle Ages

(p.53) IV The Alexander Romances in the Middle Ages
Alexander the Great

John Boardman

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how fantastic tales about Alexander's life and adventures after he had conquered the “known world,” were current soon after his death. Very possibly these were to some degree modelled on the early epic and heroic legends in Greek literature. The new stories seem to find their origin mainly in Ptolemaic Egypt, which is hardly surprising given Alexander's associations there in life and death. Such documents provide writers and artists with a corpus of tales about the mystic east which were to echo in later centuries through the works of Marco Polo, the stories of Sinbad the Sailor, and Sir John de Mandeville's record of imaginary journeys in the east, and much else.

Keywords:   Alexander the Great, heroic legends, Greek literature, Ptolemaic Egypt, mystic east, Marco Polo, Sinbad the Sailor, Sir John de Mandeville

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