The Greek Reception of Alexander the Great

Taietti, GD
(2017) The Greek Reception of Alexander the Great. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The present thesis explores how the personality, image, and deeds of Alexander the Great have been interpreted, reshaped, and exploited by the Greeks from Antiquity to the Modern era. The main focus is the understanding of the metamorphosis of the historical persona of Alexander into a god-like mythological figure and a Hellenic national hero, researching the origins of the Alexander-myth and how it operates in response to different historico-political, social and cultural stimuli for the Greeks. The thesis is structured in two sections: first, the modern, and secondly, the ancient, which, while displaying its variety, also highlight the overall organic nature of the ongoing Greek Alexander-Reception. The first section offers an introduction to the peculiarities of the Modern myth-making of Alexander (chapter one); it explores the reshaping of the Macedonian hero in Hellenic folk production, such as tales, myths, traditions, spells and songs (chapter two), and in Theodore Angelopoulos’ debated film Megalexandros (chapter three). The second section discusses the Ancient myth-making of Alexander and its relevance in the twenty-century Greek cultural and political milieu (chapter four); specifically, it focuses on the reshaping and interpretation of the king of Macedon by Ptolemy I (chapter five) and by Julian the Apostate and his entourage (chapter six). This section concludes with a study on the early representations of Alexander, which shows how his contemporary historians borrowed from Herodotus narrative tropes and descriptions of the Achaemenids to explain the Macedonian campaign against Persia, making him a Herototean-like Persian king and creating a fictional character that, to a certain extent, dates back before the historical persona. The case-studies jointly argue that Alexander is a historiographical mirage constantly reinvented by the Greeks, who ascribe to him new deeds, legends, and characteristics according to their historical and cultural needs. The Macedonian hero moves forward into the next period charged with all the previous meanings, which he will deliver to his new audience. In this way, Alexander is both the recipient and the bearer of the Greeks’ cultural identity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of the Arts
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2017 09:42
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2022 00:14
DOI: 10.17638/03007776
  • Tuplin, CJ
  • Harrison, T