Asia History Mountain Great

Alexander, I call to my son, but he does not respond.

Alexander, Iskander, Olixandu? Yalishanda, 亞歷山大. Usually, by the time I get to Mandarin, he is ready to acknowledge me, because Asia-History-Mountain-Great is the best variant of all, and the name by which he was known in China. So yes, of course, I was going to go to the Alexander: Making of a Myth exhibition at the British Library, where I was sure to like all the things that the Guardian reviewer hated.

The British Library exhibition, which collates multiple versions of the Alexander story, from an account’s report in cuneiform, to a letter he may have written to Aristotle, to the medieval Alexander romances, is fearless about following the myths of Alexander the Great into our age. So alongside the armour of King James I’s heir, Prince Henry Frederick, decorated with images of Alexander in India, there’s the called Reign: The Conqueror, putting Alexander in space, and the Bollywood epic called Porus, telling the story of his life from the point of view of the Indian king he fought against in the Punjab; Assassin’s Creed reimagining his tomb, and Deva, a Russian-born, Vietnam-based artist, imagining him snogging Bagoas. The British Library exhibition charts the legends of Alexander through medieval romances up to modern-day comics and movies.

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