Legends of Alexander
from Lee’s Summit Journal
by Bill Virgin
Full post here
I recall a story of Alexander the Great that I had heard sometime back, whether true or folklore.
It went something like this. He was walking through his military encampment and came across a sleeping soldier who was supposed to be on guard. With total disgust and rebuke Alexander awoke him and demanded to know his name. The trembling soldier muttered that his name was also Alexander. In a tone of dismay, Alexander the Great replied, “Either change your name or live up to your name.”
Fact or Fiction? It’s a close run thing but I’m going to say fiction
Any Reason Why? None of the main sources mention this anecdote. However, I have to admit, it does sound like the kind of thing Alexander would have said
Name Something Good Here. The fact that it shows Alexander walking through his camp: something that he would certainly have done; Alexander’s dismayed response. It’s so him!
By-the-bye, Alexander’s words strike me as being the exact reverse of what he told Sisygambis in regards Hephaestion: that his most loyal friend was also Alexander (Arrian II.13, Diodorus XVII.37) – I wonder if the writer had that story in mind
Rating? Four sarissae out of five. For its realism
Made me smile … and yes indeed, it does sound like him.
I did see a story similar to this, translated from the Greek. The book I read is called Book of Alexander the Great: A Life of the Conqueror, by Richard Stoneman, p. 147, under a heading ‘206. Sayings of Alexander .’ It is a translation of a Greek book of the name, ‘Book of Alexander the Great’, in Greek, ‘He Phyllada tou Megalexantrou’, though the letters to the left are in an English font. The book is from 1670, with the earliest copy from 1699.