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The Book of Alexander the Great: A Life of the Conqueror

The Book of Alexander the Great: A Life of the Conqueror

Edited by: Richard Stoneman | Translated by: Richard Stoneman

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The Book of Alexander the Great - or the Phyllada - has for three centuries been the most popular account of Alexander's career in modern Greece. After circulating in manuscript form, it was first published in 1680 in Venice, and has been continuously in print in Greek ever since. The Phyllada broadly follows the structure of the ancient Alexander Romance, but is much better organised and is a work of popular literature reflecting the immense interest that the Conqueror has generated since earliest times. Numerous folktales and local legends kept his story alive, and many works about Alexander circulated in manuscript during the Byzantine period. The Phyllada is the culmination of this tradition. Yet it has never been translated into English: a surprising neglect which Richard Stoneman - an acknowledged expert on Alexander - makes good in this elegant rendering supplemented by a full introduction. As a piece of literature the Phyllada is among the best treatments of the Alexander legend, being full of colour and human interest. Alexander not only encounters the heroes of Troy on his adventures but wears the crown and robe of Solomon.

His descent into the 'Cave of the Gods' (Greek and Egyptian gods in the Romance) becomes a visit to a hell described in Christian terms. The pagan Alexander is thus filtered through a modern lens and becomes an emblem of the good king. The sophisticated narrative structure and world view of the Phyllada account for its lasting influence. This new translation does it full justice.

Author Info

Richard Stoneman is Honorary Visiting Professor in Classics at the University of Exeter and was formerly Publisher of Classics and Archaeology at Routledge. His many books in the field of classical antiquity including Land of Lost Gods (1987), Palmyra and its Empire (1993), A Traveller's History of Turkey (1993) and Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend (2008), which was named by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2008.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781848852945
Publication Date: 30 Nov 2010
Number of Pages: 224
Height: 216
Width: 134

ISBN: 9781848852938
Publication Date: 29 Mar 2012
Number of Pages: 224
Height: 216
Width: 134

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