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The Self-Identification of Alexander the Great according to the Ancient Sources


A very interesting lecture about the Alexander the Great will be presented by Dimitris Gonis on Thursday 12 April 2018, at the Ithacan Philanthropic Society, as a part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars, offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

According to Gonis, ancient sources on the Hellenism of the ancient Macedonians are not always clear. They sometimes paint a picture of people who lived on the fringes of the Greek world, and who were not always considered Hellenes by their southern kin. People like Demosthenes called Philip II a ‘barbarian’, while Isocrates referred to him as a man ‘beyond any of the Hellenes’ and a man of the ‘blood of Hellas’.

“We have little evidence regarding what Philip exactly thought of himself,” he says. “All his actions point to his Hellenic self-identification. However, we do not have the unmistakable declarations we find in Alexander. Alexander unambiguously self-identifies as a Hellene”.

“All the sources we have available to us speak of an Alexander who repeatedly affirms his Hellenic roots and intrinsic Hellenism. This lecture focuses on the self-identification of Alexander the Great as presented in the Hellenistic writings of both Greek and Roman writers. It also examines Alexander’s self-identification, but also identification by others, in the 3rd century CE folkloric tradition of Pseudo-Callisthenes.”

Dimitris Gonis is a freelance writer and poet as well as a translator of academic articles and one book. For the past seven years he has worked as a sessional lecturer at La Trobe University, where he teaches he teaches a number of subjects: 'Ethnic and Civil Conflict in Southern Europe and in Cyprus', 'Transterritorial Hellenism' and modern Greek. He has recently completed his PhD which is titled: The Politics of Memory and Nationhood: Neo-Macedonism in Australia.

When: Thursday, 12 April 2018, 7.00pm
Where: Ithacan Philanthropic Society (Level 2, 329 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne)

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