Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend

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Lindsay Allen, Tom Holland and Richard Stoneman explore the man, leader and mythic icon.

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Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.) precipitated immense historical change in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds. But the resonance his legend achieved over the next two millennia stretched even farther – across foreign cultures, religious traditions, and distant nations, with hundreds of colourful Alexander legends being told and retold around the globe.

Alexander came to embody the concerns of Hellenistic man; he fuelled Roman ideas on tyranny and kingship; he was a talisman for fourth-century pagans and a hero of chivalry in the early Middle Ages. He appears in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic writings, frequently as a prophet of God. Whether battling winged foxes or meeting with the Amazons, descending to the underworld or inventing the world’s first diving bell, Alexander inspired as a hero, even a god.

Leading experts on Alexander and his myths, Lindsay Allen and Richard Stoneman explore the origins and development of these amazing stories. Hosted by author and historian Tom Holland.

Dr Lindsay Allen in Lecturer in Greek and Near Eastern History at King’s College London. She is the author of The Persian Empire (2005), and teaches courses on pre-Islamic Iran, Persepolis, Alexander and the Near East in the first millennium BC at KCL. She is currently completing a catalogue of the dispersed fragments of Persepolis worldwide.

Tom Holland is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. He is the author of books including Rubicon: The Triumph and the Tragedy of the Roman Republic, which won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; Persian Fire, his history of the Graeco-Persian wars, won the Anglo-Hellenic League’s Runciman Award in 2006.

Professor Richard Stoneman is a scholar, an author, an editor, and an honorary visiting professor at the University of Exeter. An expert in the field of Greek history, his works include The Greek Alexander Romance, Xerxes: A Persian Life, The Ancient Oracles: Making the Gods Speak, and A Traveller’s History of Athens.

This event is presented in memory of Naseeb Shaheen, author and scholar.

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Name: Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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