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10 - Alexander the Great in Byzantine Tradition, AD 330–1453

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2022

Richard Stoneman
Affiliation:
University of Exeter
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Summary

The Byzantines had direct access to much ancient material about Alexander, and so their view of him, compared to that of other cultures, tended to be more grounded in history. Yet they also continued to develop the Romance tradition in new directions and combined it with parallel Christian interpretations that tied the Conqueror to prophesies made in the book of Daniel and apocalyptic scenarios involving Gog and Magog. These different elements combined in various permutations when the Byzantine historians turned to Alexander in their surveys of world history. Alexander was also invoked in rhetoric that praised the Byzantine emperors, often to show that they had surpassed him, but he was not a meaningful model of kingship for them as he imparted no lessons about how to actualy rule a kingdom.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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