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Hence at the very end of the 4th century or early in the 5th John Chrysostomos in Homily XXVI on the Second Epistle of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, refers to the already lost tomb of Alexander. He asks for the tomb of Alexander but nobody was able to indicate its location. It seems that he importance Alexander’s dead body was surpassed by the presence and legends of Christian martyrs and saints, thus nobody would look for ‘Pagan’ deified hero anymore. Yet Alexander was to return once more as saint or even as a prophet. He became a saint of the Orthodox Church, and it might not be a coincidence that there must have been a church in the city dedicated to Saint Alexander. However, it is difficult to define the relation of this church with the location of the Tomb or with Alexander the Great. It should be taken into account that it was a common policy during the Byzantine period churches to be named after Patriarchs that many times who became saints after death. Finally, Alexander the Great legend will enter also in the Islamic world. Although not mentioned directly, it is almost universally held, among Western scholars, that the character of Dhul-Qarnayn corresponds to Alexander the Great. The reason for this is that the story of Dhul-Qarnayn as described in the Qur'an follows very closely some passages of the Alexander romance, a thoroughly embellished compilation of Alexander's exploits from Hellenistic and early Christian sources, which underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Early Muslim scholars such as the Muslim historian and hagiographer, Ibn Ishaq, generally identified the Dhul-Qarnayn of the Qur'an with Alexander the Great. In the following centuries, Muslims often thought of Dhul-Qarnayn as a Prophet of Islam, who has even visited the Ka’ba in Mecca95. In addition, early Islamic civilization would produce its own legendary traditions about Alexander the Great, particularly in Persia. Islamic Persian accounts of the Alexander legend, known as the Iskandarnamah, combined the Pseudo-Callisthenes material about Alexander, some of which is found in the Qur'an, with Sassanid Persian ideas about Alexander the Great. Persian sources on the Alexander legend devised a mythical genealogy for him whereby his mother was a concubine of Darius II, making him the half-brother of the last Achaemenid king, Darius. By the 12th century such important writers as Nezami Ganjavi were making him the subject of their epic poems (Fig. 95). Therefore, this is the most ‘unconscious’ but at the same time greatest achievement of Alexander the Great. He did not only conquer the whole known world, but moreover he was incorporated in 95

Illustrated manuscript by Firdusi (I do not know if he has another name) in his Shah-name, created in Persia, perhaps in the city of Herat (?) between 1450-1460. The leaf measures 26.7 x 18.1 cm and is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, University of Michigan, Museum of Art, inventory number 1963/1.65


Final study of CulMe-WeOnCT project