Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction

Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction

Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction

Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction

Synopsis

This book collects together ten contributions by leading scholars in the field of Alexander studies which represent the most advanced scholarship in this area. They span the gamut between historical reconstruction and historiographical research, and, viewed as a whole, represent a wide spectrum of methodology. This first English collection of essays on Alexander includes a comparison of the Spanish conquest of Mexico with the Macedonians in the east which examines the attitudes towards the subject peoples and the justification of conquest, an analysis of the attested conspiracies at the Macedonian and Persian courts, and studies of panhellenic ideology and the concept of kingship. There is a radical new interpretation of the hunting fresco from Tomb II at Vergina, and a new date for the pamphlet on Alexander's death which ends the Alexander Romance. Three chapters on historiography address the problem of interpreting Alexander's attested behavior, the indirect source tradition used by Polybius, and the resonances of contemporary politics in the extant histories.

Excerpt

This book originated in a symposium on Alexander the Great, held at the University of Newcastle (NSW, Australia) in July 1997. It was largely funded by a generous grant from the Australian Research Council, which was designed to encourage 'greater collaboration among researchers … and thus enhance the quality and effectiveness of outcomes of that research'. Collaboration and co-operation were the operative words. The symposium brought together established scholars, students both graduate and undergraduate, and interested members of the public. The papers which were presented each had a designated respondent, and there was ample time for formal and informal discussion. In the aftermath a number of selected papers were revised and refereed, and the outcome is this present volume, which we hope will be a stimulus to scholarship on the Alexander period.

We have many obligations. The symposium could not have taken place without significant financial support, and we are grateful to the Australian Research Council for a Strategic Research Initiative Grant, which provided optimal conditions for the occasion. The University of Newcastle provided excellent facilities and generous hospitality; and significant and strategically vital resources were committed by Dr Fran Flavel, the Director of Marketing and Media Services, and the Department of Classics from its RoosAshworth fund. We also extend a warm note of thanks to Hugh and Catherine Lindsay for hosting a most convivial occasion in the wilds of Wallalong.

We are grateful for the contributions of all symposiasts and their respondents, in particular the postgraduate participants, Ingrid Hastings, Elias Koulakiotis, Lara O'Sullivan, and Pat Wheatley. We acknowledge too the contributions of the Heads of Department, past and present, Harold Tarrant and Godfrey Tanner, who emerged as the arbiter elegantiae . . .

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