back

Alexander Romance ("Pseudo-Callisthenes")



The Alexander Romance, an entertaining story about various episodes (real and imaginary) in the life of Alexander the Great, was extremely popular in medieval times. It was translated from the original Greek into many different languages in Europe, Asia and Africa. In some of the manuscripts, it is mistakenly attributed to the Greek historian Callisthenes, which is why it is sometimes referred to as "Pseudo-Callisthenes".

The story was constantly evolving over the centuries, with new episodes being added. The translation shown here is primarily based on the oldest recension ( α ) of the Greek text, which was probably established in the 3rd century A.D. It is compared with two other old versions, in Armenian (5th century) and Syriac (7th century), to show how the story developed in late antiquity. These three versions have been translated by E.H.Haight, A.M.Wolohojian & E.A.W.Budge; PDF copies of the Armenian and Syriac versions are available online (copied from Robert Bedrosian's website). The standard modern English translation is by R.Stoneman, which is mostly based on another recension ( β ) of the Greek text, but includes additional episodes from other versions.



  Book 1   1 - 12   Greek text   English translation   Olympias and Nectanebos; birth of Alexander
  Book 1   13 - 19   Greek text   English translation   Alexander and Bucephalus; Olympic chariot race
  Book 1   20 - 32   Greek text   English translation   Death of Philip; foundation of Alexandria
  Book 1   33 - 41   Greek text   English translation   Alexander captures Tyre and defeats Darius
  Book 1   42 - 47   Greek text   English translation   Destruction of Thebes
  Book 2   1 - 10   Greek text   English translation   Debate at Athens; Alexander advances to Persia
  Book 2   11 - 20   Greek text   English translation   Defeat and death of Darius
  Book 2   21 - 40   Greek text   English translation   Alexander as king of Persia; letter to Olympias
  Book 3   1 - 17   Greek text   English translation   Alexander defeats Porus; the gymnosophists
  Book 3   17 - 18   Greek text   English translation   Alexander in the far east; the king of China
  Book 3   19 - 26   Greek text   English translation   Alexander and Candace; the Amazons
  Book 3   27 - 35   Greek text   English translation   Alexander returns to Babylon; his death


For some medieval versions of the Alexander Romance, see:



Attalus' home page