Birth of Alexander the Great (Paris, BnF, fr. 257, f. 1r)

Illuminated Manuscript. Alexander the Great. BnF, français 257. Quinte Curse. Vasco de Lucena. Life of Alexander.

“Comment es hystoire d’Alexandre puet apparoir que les royaumes croissent par vertu et diligence, et déclinent par vicieuse lascheté et illec se preuve que Alexandre a este & conquist tout Orient.”

*****

Starting from the 14th century, the need for historical truth and accuracy gradually started to replace the taste for legends and fables. Alexander becomes to medieval readers what he was to the classical hero: the archetypal conqueror. That’s how he’s depicted by Guillaume de Machaut and Eustache Deschamps when they rank him among the Nine Worthies. His legendary adventures start to matter less than his actual accomplishments. Finally, at the end of the 15th century, Vasco de Lucena translated Quintus Curtius Rufus’ biography of Alexander the Great for Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and refutes previous legendary stories to restore a knowledge of the past based on facts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.