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The Coptic Alexander Romance

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Chapter Summary

The Ethiopic Alexander romance is written in the old Ethiopic language Ge’ez, a Semitic language, belonging to the south-Semitic branch. Ethiopic literature in general, whether hagiographical, historical or theological, has always been marked by its fantastic, miraculous, and visionary elements, which reveal an attitude among the authors of Ethiopia similar to the Copts' preference for magic. The Arabic base text of the Alexander romance is also of unknown origin. The translations were probably the work of monks in Ethiopian monasteries in the 16th or 17th century. Budge has dated the Ethiopic translation of the History of Alexander the Great by Pseudo-Callisthenes to between the 14th and 16th century. The Ethiopians first learned about Alexander the Great and his conquests from the Ethiopic translation of the Bible in the 5th and 6th century, made by Syrian monks.

Keywords:Ethiopian monasteries; Ethiopic Alexander romance; Syrian monks



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