|Semester and Year||SP 2011|
|Time||9:30 AM - 10:45 AM|
Since his short life in the fourth century BCE, Alexander the Great has enjoyed a legacy that has nearly overshadowed his actual accomplishments. Various cultures, from his own to ours, have honored, embellished, and even reshaped entirely Alexander’s powerful personality and his conquest of the Persian Empire. For some, he exemplifies the benevolent conqueror, interested primarily in unifying mankind; for others, he represents the hubristic thirst for power, to which even the best-intentioned rulers can become victims. This course investigates the figure of Alexander and his legend in a range of cultural contexts: his own lifetime, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, the Islamic world, early modern Europe, and in the 20th century. Using visual and literary sources, we will investigate the following questions: What qualities of Alexander are valued or condemned in various periods and cultures? How do later cultures reinterpret earlier sources on Alexander’s life and image, and to what extent is their conception of Alexander an imagined one? How is the figure of Alexander used to reflect—or subvert—the values of a given culture and its politics? Where, if anywhere, might we find the “real” Alexander? Readings include Plutarch, Life of Alexander; Arrian, Campaigns of Alexander; Diodorus, Books 17-18 of The Histories; Pseudo-Callisthenes, Greek Alexander Romance; The Persian Iskandernamah (selection); Ferdawsi, Shahnamah (selection); Dante, Inferno (Canto 12); and Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)