Royal Family of Persia Discussion June, 1996

Query From Jessica Syme s862548@student.uq.edu.au 11 June 1996

I have recently subscribed to H-Women in the hope that someone might know something of the lives of the women of the Royal family of Persia, Roxane of Sogdiana/Bactria and the wedding of the East and West where Alexander the "Great" arranged marriages for himself, 80 commanders and 10,000 soldiers to Persian women. The approximate dates are 350 B.C. I'm wondering if anyone has studied women in this period of history specifically. I do believe there is a book out by Oxford Press about 6 months ago, but I can't get it in Australia. Thanks.

Responses:

>From Alan Unsworth aunswor@calvin.linfield.edu 13 June 1996

I have read a little about Alexander, mostly from the male and Western viewpoint; I understand that Roxane was not of the family of Darius, but rather from a clan in Bactria. Alexander had a difficult time subduing Bactria(everyone does), and he may have hoped to secure some local loyalties with that marriage. That was in 327 BC; his later, more extravagant marriage(to _two_ princesses of the Persian royal family) took place in 324, in Susa. Despite hot debate over the "Persian" character of the latter ceremony, there is little testimony about the life or habits of the women involved. My source for all this is The Cambridge Ancient History, vol.VI, Second Ed, pp.825 and 840. (I prefer the works of N.G.L. Hammond, but don't have them here.) I think my friend Byron Nakamura would have more current sources; he is at bjnak@u.washington.edu if you would like to contact him. Tell him "Al sent me." Good luck with your research, you have a fascinating topic.

>From Cheryl Thurber chethur@aol.com 19 June 1996

There is a Sean Connery film from several years ago that dealt with this old story. I believe it was called "The Man Who Would Be King." The film deals with the lingering myths about Alexander and Roxane. Basically it is a place where old stories are kept alive in an isolated part of the world. I know you were probably looking for historical accuracy, but this is a fascinating interpretation.

>From Harriet 20 June, 1996

Dear all,

This movie is a superb adaptation of one of Rudyard Kipling's greatest pieces ("The Man Who Would Be King"), a novella which investigates the moral and material temptations of an dangers to the would-be empire builder. In this case, Danny's (Connery's) self-identification with Alexander shows just how blind to reality he has become. (Hubris personified.) Just for fun, John Huston, who directed the movie(which also stars Michael Caine as Connery's side-kick, and Christopher Plummer as Kipling) throws in a few characters from other Kipling stories(Mulvaney from the soldier stories and Hari from _Kim_)as walk-ons. Novella and movie highly recommended.


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