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Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction$
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A. B. Bosworth and E. J. Baynham

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198152873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152873.001.0001

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A Baleful Birth in Babylon

A Baleful Birth in Babylon

The Significance of the Prodigy in the Liber de Morte—An Investigation of Genre

(p.242) 8 A Baleful Birth in Babylon
Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction

Elizabeth Baynham

Oxford University Press

One of the more intriguing documents in the extant corpus of ancient literature on Alexander the Great of Macedon and his death is Liber de Morte, a fictitious account of his last days and will, which was originally appended to a late Latin history known as the Metz Epitome. References to such a document are found in two major historical sources. Quintus Curtius, the Roman historian, claims that an alleged testament of the king had purported to distribute his empire amongst his generals, but he emphatically rejects the validity of its existence and the tradition. According to Diodorus Siculus, Alexander admired the Rhodians so much that he deposited his will with them. Historically, this seems unlikely in view of Alexander's treatment of the island; he had installed a garrison on it and at his death the Rhodians removed their Macedonian overlords.

Keywords:   Alexander the Great, Liber de Morte, will, Ptolemy, Rhodes, Macedon, testament, death

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