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Rome in the Alexander Romance

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Alexander Romance, Rome, Persians, Alexander Molossus, Alexander, Romans, Jews, Macedonian conqueror, late antiquity, parallel

Abstract (summary)

According to The Alexander Romance, the great Macedonian conqueror went to and received the submission of the city and its people, who provided troops and funds in support of his campaign against the Persians. This is, of course, one of the countless details in the Romance tradition which does not merely deviate from reliable history but runs counter to it. This corruption of the historical record might be of no interest to those who are chiefly concerned with the career of Alexander, but it is worth the attention of those who are concerned with his legacy. The inclusion of the Romans in Alexander's empire seems to have its basis in a number of rhetorical and historical traditions: reports of Roman diplomatic contacts with Alexander, rumors about Alexander's plans for the future, the invasion of Italy by Alexander Molossus at the same time as his nephew's expedition to Asia, and Roman counterfactual speculation about what would have happened if Alexander had made war on Rome. These are worth noting as the constituents of historical data in some late antique compositions. The passages which make Rome part of Alexander's domain also tell us something of how their authors wished Rome to be seen in relation to Alexander, the goals he pursued, and the ideals he represented.

Publication Information

Garstad, Benjamin. “Rome in the Alexander Romance.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 108 (2015) 467-507.



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