Alexander the Great in Macedonian folk traditions

Guendalina Daniela Maria Taietti


This paper focuses on the figure of Alexander the Great in a set of Macedonian folk traditions circulating in Northern Greece in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Macedonian Alexander-folk traditions represent a peculiar set among the other Hellenic folk accounts, because they convey chiefly the idea of familiarity with the hero, who seems to be still living and influencing the people’s everyday life. This bond – almost a mutual ownership between Alexander and the Macedonians – is in fact constantly highlighted by the choice of the themes treated, such as the attribution of monuments to the great conqueror and the use of his historical and mythical persona to explain local customs, features of the landscape, or toponyms.

      Moreover, (pseudo-)aetiologies, etymologies, and / or descriptions of facts of local interest populate these narratives which, according to their content and purpose, are here grouped into two main categories, geographical and aetiological, and into two subcategories, geographico-aetiological and aetiologico-mythological.

      The aim here is confined to the discussion, the categorisation, and the translation into English of the Macedonian Alexander-traditions; I hope that this paper will make this notable and lively material accessible to a wider public and help the preservation of its memory.


Alexander the Great; Classical Reception; Reception Studies; Hellenic Folklore; Macedonian Folklore

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