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The Alexander Romance In The Arabic Tradition

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Chapter Summary

It has long been known that two different Alexander traditions exist in Iran, the first of which, greatly influenced by the ancient Alexander romance, presents Alexander as a Persian prince and mighty king, a Muslim sage or even a prophet, whereas the second one characterizes him as evil incarnate, the 'devil's' henchman and a person who, like no-one else, brought death and destruction to Eranshahr. Thus, the first tradition, found in the works of Muslim poets, writers and historiographers of Iranian and non-Iranian origin, stands in sharp contrast to the second, Middle-Persian one found in religious (Zoroastrian) and didactic literature. The primary aim of this chapter is to examine the nature, the circumstances of origin and the roots of these two traditions, as well as their intended objectives in the light of recent research, and to briefly illuminate how they continue to exert influence even upon the present.

Keywords:Alexander; Iranian tradition; Zoroastrian



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