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Blond Alexander?
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Sanrio Property



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 3
Location: New York City, NY

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:12 pm    Post subject: Blond Alexander? Reply with quote

The chances of Alexander being truly blonde is highly dubious at best. He has blonde features, but I will assume that he was a medium brown to a dark brown, naturally. His mother was Albanian and his dad Macedonian. It's possible that there were fair traits on either end, but I doubt he was fair. Tawny, possibly. There are blond(e) Greeks and red-headed Greeks. A friend of mine is 100% Greek and is blond and blue-eyed. But he's the exception and not the rule. Red hair is a more likely possibility because it is an abberation of brown. Odysseus was supposidly red headed (and ruddy faced). I don't think they meant Orphan Annie red, but russett is very likely.

I am still sticking to the brown theory.
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Xenos



Joined: 21 May 2004
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:10 am    Post subject: Re: Blond Alexander? Reply with quote

Sanrio Property wrote:
His mother was Albanian and his dad Macedonian


Alexander's parents were, King Philip II of Macedon and Myrtali - the Princess of Epirus, later known as Olympias. Just a small correction, she was not Albanian as Albania did not exist then as an entity. It was through his mother that Alexander could claim a lineage that included both Achilles, and at least indirectly, Hector, the two Great combatants of the Trojan War! Alexander is commonly thought to have been blonde but we'll probably never know Smile
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Lala



Joined: 22 Feb 2004
Posts: 324
Location: Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece, Europe, Earth

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A minor addition to Xenos. Ancient Epirus was a land now divided into two countries. North ancient Epirus is within the lands of the modern country of Albania and the South part of ancient Epirus is within the modern borders of Greece. Neighbouring ancient Epirus was ancient Illiria and it's people were called Illirians. The Epiroteans is certain that were Hellenic (Greek) tribes. According to some ancient texts the Illirians were detached Hellenic tribes.
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pinelopi



Joined: 26 Mar 2004
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2004 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Epirots were not one tribe. There were the Molossoi, Chaones, Thesprotoi, Filakes and so on. They were all Greek tribes with Greek language (some diferent to Attik Greek) Greek religion and mythology. Some of the Ancient Greek writers (Aristotle) are claiming that the whole Greek tribes came from the mountains of Epirus. This is fact about Achill and his mirmidons, they came from Epirus to Thessaly.
As far about the blondness of Alexander, the majioruty of the Greeks were, and are, brown haired. It is common in such cases to use the different haircolor to point out the extraordinary existance of some people or heroes. Because of this Achill is called to be blond by Homer, same Orestis, Iason (Jason), Theseus and many more. Inbetween a nation of darkhaired people it is sighn of extraordinary beautiness to be blond. The real apearance of Alexander is not known. The artists who tried to make portraits or statues of him idealized him to please him, he was an imperor!
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Nikopolides



Joined: 18 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 11:14 pm    Post subject: re Reply with quote

can i ask how do you know that most of the greeks were blond with blue eyes?

i'm actually a greek and a blond one in fact - but i strongly resent this theory whenever it comes in discussion.

the only point we can know how greeks were , is from the statues , wich most of them are out of marble, without any chromatical characteristics .

evidence of nordism can be identified by the end of the eyebrows, wich is a theory by nordic anthropologists and pretty passe too.

another sign is by ancient texts such as the hiliad where homer depicted achilles beuaty , fair haired etc etc... that doesnt mean achilles was like a viking (brad pitt) neither were all the greeks.Its the first time though , i hear about odysseas beeing redhead Confused may i ask where did you hear that?

a specific type of blonde is more common in our parts . When i was a young boy i was much much blonder , but now that i'm in my 20's my hair started to be more brown. its a characteristic wich is common in greece and strangely in albania, so i've heard.

a more accurate and detailed analisys about the subject wich completely covers my views is made by this anthropologist here

http://dienekes.angeltowns.net/texts/coongreeks/

So my point is: there is no 100% greek because one greek is blond. Such a statement as Coon says is based on an ignorance of the Greek ethnic character.

i would agree much more with this though


Quote:
Inbetween a nation of darkhaired people it is sighn of extraordinary beautiness to be blond. The real apearance of Alexander is not known. The artists who tried to make portraits or statues of him idealized him to please him, he was an imperor!


That contains some logic

There is a portrait of alexander founded in Italy wich showed him as brown haired, and not as blond

http://web.mit.edu/mit-greece/www/page/alexander-viewsm.jpg

so who could of known how alexander exacly was?

One thing is for sure, and please respect it as i will respect the rules of this forum. Alexander parents were Hellenes first and foremost, not "albanians" nor "macedonians" , it is aparent that their ethnolinguistic characteristics were hellenic such as all the other ancient hellenic groups .The referance of them as something attached to modern artificialy made countries or people that only recently know about alexander due to a hollywood movie and their curent culture is far from it -is a sensitive matter for us greeks

thanks
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Alita



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 101
Location: Melbourne

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well put mate. Very Happy

My first cousin in Greece has blonde hair and blue eyes and, like you, her hair has turned a dark blonde/light brown over time. Yet, my Godsister's family, who are from Macedonia (the region - duh), all have jet-black hair, black eyes with black eyebrows and dark-olive skin! And a lot of my relatives and friends from Peloponneso have bright blue or green eyes (my grandma included), very pale skin (me included) and blonde or light brown hair. I think there must have been a lot of mixing up during the Byzantine Empire. But even this theory isn't necessarily strong because Greece does not cover a very big land/latitude area like Italy or ***, so the environmental pressure on adaptation would not have been as strong.
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Alita



Joined: 24 May 2007
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Location: Melbourne

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why can't you display the word C-H-I-N-A ??
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Sikander



Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:19 pm    Post subject: Alexander's Colouring Reply with quote

Greetings,

When discussing Alexander's colouring, you have to keep in mind the overall era in which any descriptions or statuary were made, the fashion of a particular time and the function the art served.

We have relatively contemporary portraits of people from Alexander's time, found on the tombs at Vergina and the mosaics at Pella, that clearly illustrate both blonde, red and brown hair colourings, so we know all three existed.

We know Plutarch said Apelles did not reproduce Alexander's colour accurately, saying "he {Apelles} made Alexander's complexion appear too dark-skinned and swarthy, whereas we are told that he was fair-skinned with a ruddy tinge that showed itself especially upon his face and chest". This was probably due to exposure to sun and elements, just like today.
Beyond this description, and the paintings at Vergina and the mosaics at Pella, we have little.

The mosaic posted, with Alexander as dark-haired, is from The House of the Faun, in Pompeii, which was built around 100 BC- around 200 years after Alexander's time. Many scholars believe it is not an accurate representation of Alexander, but is a copy of a painting (possibly an Apelles?) , with subsequent use of the Roman colouring by the artist as flattery to the owner of the house, which was a not uncommon style.

Also, the white marble statues we see today used to be painted- sometimes in rather garish colours. The Alexander Sarcophagus, somewhat contemporary to Alexander's time, clearly shows brown, auburn, red and blonde hair colouring amidst the persons on the sarcophgus.

Populations were not static in the past anymore so than today. We know that the many conquests of the Meditterranean saw population flows, with the resulting mixing of genetic traits, so it would be difficult to state categorically what *any* people looked like over 2000 years ago.
While we do have some tomb portraits, again, they show a range of har and skin colourings.

Many scholars tend to think that redheads were not so rare in ancient Makedon, that blondes existed (there is debate over whether the aristo exhibited more blonde than the lower classes) and that northern and southern populations might well have differed, in both colouring and stature.

It may be, too, that the many tales surrounding the question of Alexander's paternity might have come about because a recessive gene found its way to determining Alexander's hair and skin colour. He could have been auburn with many red highlights, or redhaired; expose light hair to sun and you get a much lighter colour.

Regards,
Sikander
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joanna



Joined: 02 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And Aelianus in his 'Varia Historia' states that Alexander's hair and complexion was fair.
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Cynisca



Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 605
Location: Living in Yorkshire UK - ê tan ê epi tas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brown hair with red highlights that was bleached by the sun, and greenish grey eyes, although one could have been hazel.... Wink
Olympias was a member of Molassian royalty and I believe they tended towards reddish hair and probably green or blue eyes, Philip is portrayed as dark haired and could have had grey or hazel eyes
Alexander had an eye problem or injury, which meant his pupil enlarged and gave the impression of darkness. (David Bowie had the same after an incident at school)
I believe that is why he tilted his head, as his vision was blurred or hazy through that eye.
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Alita



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 101
Location: Melbourne

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually heard that the Pompeii mosaic is thought to be quite accurate, being based on an original that was painted just after the battle based on eyewitness accounts. A lot of places where there is information about Alexander seem to always use this mosaic to depict him, as well. (Including this site, I've just noticed!)

I've also heard he had very fair skin and dark eyes. And as to the tilt of his head, could it have been possible that his sculptors portrayed him with a tilt according to some ancient Greek artistic style? It seems to me the Greeks were always looking for attractive poses to put the body in and they understood the relationship between body posture and communication of ideals, such as glory and grace.
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Sikander



Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:07 am    Post subject: Mosaics Reply with quote

Greetings,

"I actually heard that the Pompeii mosaic is thought to be quite accurate, being based on an original that was painted just after the battle based on eyewitness accounts."

The Pompeii mosaic was not contemporary to Alexander, whereas the Vergina paintings and Pella mosaics were much more contemporary. There is much debate as to whether the Pompeii mosaic is accurate or not, and I suspect the debate will continue as long as the preference for light or dark hair continues <smile>. And like the debate over the Pergamum likeness versus the Azara Herm, it will generate the taking of sides based on more personal preference than any available real data..

Andrew Stewart's book, "Faces of Power", addresses the political use of imagery to convey messages; it is an excellent read.

Regards,
Sikander
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datus



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: He was not blonde Reply with quote

This is one of the most ridiculous misconceptions, and by the rate at which it perpetuates itself shows a frightening level of desperation from certain "political" (shall we say?) fronts. So much of our history is being rewritten as we speak.

The misconception all stems from the word "Xanthos" which in Greek means anything that isn't "black". The word Xanthos was used to describe Alexanders hair. This fact, in addition to the Pompeii portrait means he was probably NOT blonde.

Sources -

Keiter, F. Rasse und Kultur: Eine Kulturbitantz der Menschenrassen als Weg zur Rassenseetenkunde. Stuttgart, 1940

Wace. (1928) Cambridge Ancient History; 2:22-23
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Sikander



Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings,

You said:" This is one of the most ridiculous misconceptions, and by the rate at which it perpetuates itself shows a frightening level of desperation from certain "political" (shall we say?) fronts."

It can hardly be said that all persons who suggest Alexander may have been blonde, blone-red, red-haired or auburn have some political agenda, since this has been a common debate for a long time. The evidence itself has been confusing, which in turn leaves the question open to debate.

"So much of our history is being rewritten as we speak."

Both unfortunately and fortunately, this is the nature of "history" since it is based on both the evidence available, which changes as discoveries are made, and on the occasional political agenda as when the Nazi party re-wrote history to exclude Jewish accomplishments. It depends, too, on the victor, such as when Native American history disappeared when the Europeans succeeded in overtaking their lands. But usually, slowly and inexorably, the facts as we know them re-impose themselves upon the veneer of untruths and history becomes more "real" again.

"The misconception all stems from the word "Xanthos" which in Greek means anything that isn't "black". The word Xanthos was used to describe Alexanders hair. This fact, in addition to the Pompeii portrait means he was probably NOT blonde."

But you cannot ignore the paintings and mosaics at Pella and Vergina, which show reddish orange hair, nor the "Alexander sarcophagus" which shows auburn hair- all of which pre-date the Pompeii mosaic. All things considered, there is still room for debate and I would not exclude the possibility of light-coloured hair.

"SourcesKeiter, F. Rasse und Kultur: Eine Kulturbitantz der Menschenrassen als Weg zur Rassenseetenkunde. Stuttgart, 1940 "

Yes. Please note the publishing date: 1940. Current excavations and discoveries continue to offer new evidences. If we use the older sources, it gives us a foundation but these foundations must be used in conjunction with the more recent findings. This is why no one source can be cited as any "proof" of a theory.

Regards,
Sikander
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joanna



Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Posts: 1270
Location: Greece/USA/Italy/UK/

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alexander will always be ALEXANDER THE GREAT with any colour of his hair. The colour is unimportant.
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