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The Byzantine Alexander Poem in MS Marcianus graecus 408*

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Among the many versions of the Alexander Romance, originating from Alexandria, 3rd century AD, the long Byzantine Alexander Poem (BAP) takes a special place. It is by far the longest item in the miscellaneous manuscript, Marcianus 408, numbering 6130 ‘political’ (fifteen-syllable) verses. Smaller pieces deal with the capture of Constantinople by the Western Crusaders in 1204 and the recapture by the Byzantines in 1261 and genealogies of the Palaeologues; other items are e.g. on special plants, on verses of the poetess Kasia, on a snake bite, etc. The colophon in the last verses of BAP mentions the year 1388, which ‐ as will be argued in this article ‐ can hardly be the date of composition, both on textual and historical grounds. This argument is underpinned with a number of examples.


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