Scéla Alaxandair maic Pilip ‘The tidings of Alexander son of Philip’

  • Middle Irish
  • prose

Middle Irish saga on the career and conquests of Alexander the Great, based on an account in Orosius’ Historiae adversus paganos, Alexander’s letter to Aristotle about India and the correspondences known as the Collatio cum Dindimo.

pp. 205–213a.m
beg. ‘...airechaib ⁊ cathmiledaib oc imguin i n-airenach in catha cechtardai’
Acephalous copy, with a lacuna between pp. 210-211. There is a marginal note on p. 212.
pp. 268(487)–275(501)
rubric: ‘Iomthusa Alexandair Moir do reir an udair Laidne Iustinus bodein’
beg. ‘Coic primflaithiusa robatar forin domun ria flaithius Romhan’
The rubric is a later addition to the MS.
ff. 99r–100v
Part of the section based on Collatio Alexandri cum Dindimo.
  • Middle Irish
prose (primary)
Textual relationships
(Possible) sources: Historiae adversus paganosHistoriae adversus paganosWork by the Christian author Paulus Orosius (fl. early 5th century), a student of Augustine of Hippo; it is traditionally interpreted as an apologetic work in response to the idea that the arrival of Christianity was in some way to blame for the decline of Rome and its empire. In the course of seven books, it gives a universal history from the time of Creation onwards.Epistola Alexandri ad AristotelemEpistola Alexandri ad AristotelemView incoming dataCollatio Alexandri cum Dindimo rege BragmanorumCollatio Alexandri cum Dindimo rege BragmanorumView incoming data



Alexander the GreatAlexander the Great
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Philip II of MacedonPhilip II of Macedon
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] Peters, Erik, “Die irische Alexandersage”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 30 (1967): 71–264.
Version from BB.
[ed.] [tr.] Meyer, Kuno [ed. and tr.], “Die Geschichte von Philipp und Alexander von Macedonien”, in: Ernst Windisch, and Whitley Stokes [eds.], Irische Texte mit Wörterbuch, 4 vols, vol. 2, Leipzig, 1887. 1–108.
Internet Archive – Heft 2 and 1: <link>
1–15 (introduction); 16–93 (LB); 94–108 (variants from BB) Version from Leabhar Breac, with variants from BB.
[notes] Meyer, Kuno, “Nachträge mit Berichtigungen zum Alexander (Irische Texte, Zweite Serie, 2. Heft)”, in: Ernst Windisch, and Whitley Stokes [eds.], Irische Texte mit Wörterbuch, 4 vols, vol. 3, Leipzig, 1891. 279–281.
Internet Archive: <link>
Notes to the above.
[ed.] [tr.] Meyer, Kuno, “Eine irische Version der Alexandersage”, PhD dissertation, University of Leipzig, 1884.
Internet Archive: <link>
Version from Leabhar Breac, §§ 1-19 only. Meyer notes that the full text will be printed in Irische Texte.

Secondary sources (select)

Wachowich, Cameron, “In search of worlds to conquer: echoes of Alexander the Great in medieval Ireland”, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 36 (2018): 215–230.
Mac Gearailt, Uáitéar, “Issues in the transmission of Middle and Early Modern Irish translation prose. Togail Troí and Scéla Alaxandair”, in: Axel Harlos, and Neele Harlos (eds), Adapting texts and styles in a Celtic context: interdisciplinary perspectives on processes of literary transfer in the middle ages: studies in honour of Erich Poppe, 13, Münster: Nodus Publikationen, 2016. 103–134.
Miles, Brent, Heroic saga and classical epic in medieval Ireland, Studies in Celtic History, 30, Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2011.  
The puzzle of Ireland's role in the preservation of classical learning into the middle ages has always excited scholars, but the evidence from the island's vernacular literature - as opposed to that in Latin - for the study of pagan epic has largely escaped notice. In this book the author breaks new ground by examining the Irish texts alongside the Latin evidence for the study of classical epic in medieval Ireland, surveying the corpus of Irish texts based on histories and poetry from antiquity, in particular Togail Troi, the Irish history of the Fall of Troy. He argues that Irish scholars' study of Virgil and Statius in particular left a profound imprint on the native heroic literature, especially the Irish prose epic Táin Bó Cúailnge (“The Cattle-Raid of Cooley”).
55 ff
Tristram, Hildegard L. C., “Der insulare Alexander”, in: Willi Erzgräber (ed.), Kontinuität und Transformation der Antike im Mittelalter: Veröffentlichung der Kongreßakten zum Freiburger Symposion des Mediävistenverbandes, Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 1989. 129–155.
Peters, Erik, “Die irische Alexandersage”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 30 (1967): 71–264.
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
February 2021, last updated: June 2023