Alexander's physical appearence

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Mike

Alexander's physical appearence

Post by Mike »

What do you beleive Alexander's physical appearence was like? Do you go by mosaics and statues or by historians' accounts?
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Efstathios
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Post by Efstathios »

Many of the busts and statues of Alexander have very similar characteristics to those that the ancient historians describe.

However what we dont know is the color of his hair, e.t.c. It is generally accepted and as described by the ancient historians that he had fair colored hair, possibly blond, but not much blond. He had also a fair skin that would match the fairness of his hair.

A bust that i believe represents Alexander very good is this

http://arthistory.about.com/library/wee ... review.htm

It's from Athens, and possibly created when Alexander visited Athens. It also matches somewhat the Issus mosaic and some other busts.
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Post by beausefaless »

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jan
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Lysippus

Post by jan »

:D I believe that a statue called azara herm is probably the closest to the real ATG's appearance if the Roman copy is true to the original by Lysippus. But all are approximations and I like him best as a young man rather than an old man. He looks blonde, lionlike, lithe, muscular, alert, vivacious, and handsome! :lol:
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Post by athenas owl »

Are we sure that the azara herm is a true likeness though, or this an idea that developed and has since been taken for gospel? Much like the bronze head in the Prado being ascribed to Hephaistion (was that Wood that started that?) and I see it all over the web as such.

On the Alexander Sarocphagus Alexander is shown as dark haired ( if it is ATG), round faced...it is an interesting portrait...and very close to his actual lifetime. Oddly, the figure that is conjecturally Hephaistion on the hunt blonde...

A nice close up of the proposed ATG is about 3/4 of the page down here...not saying it is a sure thing, but it is certainly more contemporary than any Roman copy. Not that I have any problem with the azara herm. This one is missing the anastole. Now, oddly, some have identifed this same person as Hephaistion so who knows. Though the hair is carved in a way that allowed for a diadem to placed there. But it might give a good indication of ATG's colouring...

http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Alexander.htm

In case anyone hasn't gathered by now, the Alexander Sarcohpagus is my favourite pice of ancient art, except for that buddha in the end credits from Stone's film..which I have yet to completely track down. Though if any of the Brits here ever go to the Brighton museum let me know please..one there might be it. Sorry for the topic change... :oops:
dario

ATG

Post by dario »

he was 5 foot 6 inches, and could jump down from a horse at full galop as well as mount it at full gallop
Mike

Post by Mike »

beausefaless wrote:Mike

Sorry to disappoint you but he was the spitting image of the young gentleman that is on the back cover of mad magazine (What, me worry!) never! LOL
The only way you could dissapoint me is if you told me Cleopatra looked like rossie o'donald 8)

and anyway i think socrates was the one you're thinking of :D

So what about this mosaic (from pompei i think)

Image

some stunning sideburns there
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Re: ATG

Post by Paralus »

dario wrote:he was 5 foot 6 inches, and could jump down from a horse at full galop as well as mount it at full gallop
Yes. He was Spiderman and superman as well.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu
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Post by rocktupac »

From studying the readings, busts, coins, and other ancient artworks, I imagine Alexander would be between 5'6" and 5'8", muscular, fair skin (prone to ruddiness), with light brown hair (wavy and lion-like). Many like to picture Alexander as 6' or taller with extraordinary attributes.

The busts I believe represent the most accurate depiction of Alexander are either the 'kneeling Alexander' by Leochares or the Azara Herm. Although the one by Leochares may be slightly idealized, it adds a hint of character with the slightly bent nose and rounded jaw. This is also reminiscent of the many coins Alexander had minted during his lifetime. As for the Azara Herm, it seems like a very good portrayal of Alexander toward the end of his life, but the look of Alexander is still there: soft features, a melting eye, full lips.

On a side note, I think the Pompeii mosaic was reproduced to lend more of a Roman touch to Alexander; perhaps in a way to make the conqueror seem more closely related to the Roman people. Although I'm sure most would rather imagine an Alexander with mythical proportions and features, but we all must remember (even myself sometimes), that in body and looks he was a very real and ordinary person.
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Post by Vergina Sun »

Perhaps it's because I'm a newcomer, but would anyone agree with me if I said that one of the beautiful aspects of Alexander the Great is that no one is quite sure what he looked like? I mean, without a concrete image, everyone can have his or her own perception of this great man, and no one can really be right or wrong. At least that's my opinion.
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Post by rocktupac »

Oh yeah, there's so much that we don't really know about Alexander that allows us to develop our own personal image of him, including what he looked like. Every person, I'm sure, has interpreted everything about his life differently. If we were to ask 100 historians to draw a picture of what they think he looked like, we would get 100 uniquely different portraits. (Albeit most would contain certain 'Alexander-esque' features)

Great name by the way :D
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Post by Vergina Sun »

Of course some features would stay the same. We can all agree that Alexander wasn't the tallest Macedonian in the army. His skin, I would also say is fair and turned red often. His hair color is harder to picture. I always imagined him with brownish hair, probably because of the Alexander Mosiac - the first picture that caused my heart to skip a beat instead of losing lunch. I also agree with rocktupac on the fact that he was probably Romanized in that picture, but I still can't help myself. (I was really upset when they changed the Alexander Mosaic in Oliver Stone's Alexander so he could be blond.) I suppose first impressions are another aspect. If the first image someone saw of Alexander the Great had him blond, chances are that's how they'll picture him.

Oh, and thank you rocktupac for the compliment. :mrgreen:
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Post by Semiramis »

They Pompeii mosaic is how he looks in my head. Can't help it! Good to know there are others. :) Big brown eyes and Brown hair. A rather focused look on his face. Lion's mane's are brown too aren't they? And "fair" hair for a Greek historian could be brown... :)

Are we sure that the Pella mosaic is meant to be Alexander (brown haired again people!) and Hephaistion? Wasn't Krateros supposed to have given Alexander a gift of a Mosaic of the two of them hunting? Maybe the blonde guy was Krateros?

There's a History channel documentary on Alexander where the guy who plays Alexander looks eerily like the figure in the Pompeii Mosaic. I was highly impressed with the casting! Anyone else thought so?

Hey Athena's Owl,

Could you tell me more about that Buddha statue in the Stone movie? Is it one of those Greek-Indian style statues they found in Afghanistan thanks to the Buddhist Indo-Greek kings? Talk about Alexander blending things up! :)
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Vergina Sun
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Post by Vergina Sun »

There's a History channel documentary on Alexander where the guy who plays Alexander looks eerily like the figure in the Pompeii Mosaic. I was highly impressed with the casting! Anyone else thought so?
Yes! I saw the History Channel's documentary, "The True Story of Alexander the Great". I was extremely impressed with it, and have to say it was one of the best Alexander the Great documentaries I've seen so far. The actor who played Alexander, Michael Cardelle, did resemble the Pompeii Mosaic Alexander. Finally, an Alexander actor who isn't blond! :D
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Post by athenas owl »

Semiramis wrote:They Pompeii mosaic is how he looks in my head. Can't help it! Good to know there are others. :) Big brown eyes and Brown hair. A rather focused look on his face. Lion's mane's are brown too aren't they? And "fair" hair for a Greek historian could be brown... :)

Are we sure that the Pella mosaic is meant to be Alexander (brown haired again people!) and Hephaistion? Wasn't Krateros supposed to have given Alexander a gift of a Mosaic of the two of them hunting? Maybe the blonde guy was Krateros?

There's a History channel documentary on Alexander where the guy who plays Alexander looks eerily like the figure in the Pompeii Mosaic. I was highly impressed with the casting! Anyone else thought so?

Hey Athena's Owl,

Could you tell me more about that Buddha statue in the Stone movie? Is it one of those Greek-Indian style statues they found in Afghanistan thanks to the Buddhist Indo-Greek kings? Talk about Alexander blending things up! :)
I wish I could tell you more about that particular statue, sadly I can't. :cry: Actually the statues of the Buddha came a few centuries after Alexander, but itis part of his legacy, in the influence on the art. Gandharan, Kushan, etc...the influence of this represenation of teh Buddha reached all the way to Japan

II saw that History Channel bio and thought the sideburns were a nice touch. There was a lot of that one that bothered me, though...sensationalizing aspects. Though that goes with the territory.
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