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Folk Narrative Techniques in the Alexander Romance *)

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image of Mnemosyne

Abstract A structurally-oriented analysis of the Alexander Romance demonstrates that the work is not a mere random conglomeration drawn from various sources. The author is attempting to create a work possessing unity and cohesion and to this end he employs basic motifs associated with the hero, such as the motif of world-conqueror, of the φρενήρης (‘intelligent’) and the link with Heracles and Dionysus, which run through the totality of the work and ensure its cohesion. An additional interesting technique employed by the author is that of the redeployment of a motif. For example, the archetypal folk hero figure of Nektanebo, who is presented in the introduction of the Romance as Alexander’s father, is characterized by three features: magic, disguise and deception. These elements are used in a variety of ways in the description of the adventures of Alexander. In addition the triadic schema and antithesis are also employed. Considering that such figures are characteristic of folk tales as well, one acquires an idea of how skillfully the author has reworked his material, in order to create, by means of ‘popular’ tools, his own folk hero.

Affiliations: 1: National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Philology, Division of Classical Philology Panepistimiopoli Zografou, 15784 Athens Greece


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