The Greek scholars of the Post-Byzantine Period interpreted Alexander in different ways. The Macedonian King was a valuable source of pride, knowledge, courage, flattery, bravery, vanity and wisdom. Thus, he ended up being a symbol appropriate for any use and a point of reference for the enslaved Hellenism of the era.
For two centuries after the Fall of Constantinople, Alexander was used by Greek authors very often as, par excellence, the glory of Hellenism. Especially during this period, they resorted to his legend to reinforce the Greek consciousness, which had suffered a devastating shock after the Ottoman occupation. The story of the most powerful Greek acted as a remedy to the reality of a powerless Hellenism.
Although the process of Christianising Alexander had been completed in the previous centuries, Greek scholars, especially those who were clerics, referred to his vanity to show that human life is short and no matter how successful a person might be, he would eventually die.
Even though Alexander was Christianised, he was in no case interpreted as a saint. He was charismatic but immoral; to those scholars writing for a more erudite audience, he remained a pagan who unconsciously worked for God’s plan.
But what was really innovative in this use of Alexander was his adoption as the central figure in the creation of the scholarly approach to history. And it could not have been otherwise, as the works referring to him throughout the period 1453-1821 aimed at the consciousness of Greeks and, to some extent, they shaped it. His virtue, administration, heroism, tactics, even piety have been accepted as values by Early Modern and Modern Hellenism. In this sense, the image of Alexander constituted an archetype of the Modern Greek, an example that everyone ought to follow because it embodied the best qualities of the Early Modern Greek community.
Charalampos Minaoglou received his PhD in Early Modern and Modern Greek History from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2012. He has founded the Association for Greek History SXISMI and he is currently teaching history at Zanneion.
Dr Minaoglou is particularly interested in the history of Greeks under the Ottoman Empire, Early Modern Greek travellers, Phanariots, humanistic Greek literature, Early Modern Greek historiography and Church history.
|I. 1. Alexander’s Virtue|
|I. 2. Alexander – the Triumphant Greek over the East||15|
|I. 3. The Absolute Prototype of Kingship||23|
|I. 4. Alexander in Chronographic Texts||31|
|Chapter II. Alexander of Antiquarians||41|
|II. 1. Alexander’s Virtue||43|
|II. 2. Alexander – the Triumphant Greek over the East||49|
|II. 3. Alexander Orthodoxus||51|
|Chapter III. Alexander of the Enlightenment||61|
|III. 1. Alexander’s Virtue||67|
|III. 2. Alexander of Orientalists||73|
|III. 3. Alexander – the Triumphant Greek over the East|
|III. 4. The Absolute Prototype of Kingship||77|
|III. 5. Alexander and the Hellenic Consciousness: from Chronography to Historiography||83|
Paperback: 239 pages
Size: 14 x 21.6 cm
(5.5 x 8.5 in)
Published: November 2019
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