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Alexander’s return to Greece in the Alexander romance

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Alexander the Great, Alexander Romance

Abstract (summary)

The Alexander Romance, a largely fictional account of Alexander the Great, is full of odd and arresting discrepancies with the more trustworthy historical accounts of the conqueror’s career. The route of the campaign described in the Romance is not the least of these inconsistencies, taking Alexander, as it does, along roads he never traveled and to places he never saw. Perhaps the oddest and most remarkable deviation from the historical record in the Romance’s version of Alexander’s itinerary is not a visit to some unlikely, exotic, or fabulous locale, but his return to Greece in the midst of his eastern campaign. Whereas, in fact, Alexander crossed the Hellespont never to see Macedonia or Greece again, in the Romance he comes back to put down an uprising of the Greeks and lay waste Thebes before he finally defeats Darius and completes the conquest of the Persian Empire. As Stoneman notes, the narrative here is “[l]ike a film running in reverse,” and the effect can be just as comical and disconcerting.

Publication Information

Garstad, Benjamin. “Alexander’s Return to Greece in the Alexander Romance.” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 56 (2016) 679-95.



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