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Visiting Speaker: Dr Haila Manteghi - The Alexander Romance in Persian History and Literature

In Persian tradition and literature, Alexander the Great is usually depicted with two faces – either as the two-horned one of the Qur’an or as the accursed-one of Zoroastrian tradition. This lecture endeavours to show that Persian literature, legend and mythopoetics has much more to say about Alexander than simply this, while demonstrating why and how the Persian image of Alexander is completely distinguishable from the Islamic portrayal of the world conqueror. I will concentrate on how the Greek Alexander Romance entered classical Persian literature, revealing how Alexander became as Persian as any other hero/king in the Persian tradition, as well as illustrate with great detail how Alexander is pictured in the works of great Persian poets ranging from the tenth to seventeenth century, with particular focus on Nizami’s Book of Alexander. I also demonstrate the existence of a positive view of Alexander in both Classical Arabic and Persian sources that is not just the result of biases derived from the Islamic era, but which also reflects the viewpoint of the pre-Islamic Persian depiction of Alexander.

Event details

Speaker Dr Haila Manteghi
Haila Manteghi is a lecturer at the University of Mūnster and in 2016 completed her second PhD, on the Persian Alexandrian tradition, at the University of Exeter. Her first PhD, on the Shahnama of Firdawsi, was completed at the University of Alicante. She has widely published in the field of Classics and Persian classical literature. Copies of Dr. Manteghi's new book on Alexander the Great in the Persian Tradition: History, Myth and Legend in Medieval Iran (London: I.B. Tauris 2018) will be for sale at the lecture.

Book.pdfDr Manteghi's book (121K)


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