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Alexandra (Lykrophon)




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Alexandra is a work by the Greek poet Lykophron, who is only known through this work. It was written between 196 and 190 BC. The work has 1474 lines, which are done in jambic trimeters. This is what most Greek tragedies were written in.

Story

Paris left for Sparta, to abduct Helena, the wife of Menelaos. This was going to cause the Trojan War. Kassandra is left in the temple, guarded by someone instructed by Priamos, her father. The text is the report this guard gives to Priamos, about what Kassandra had said.

Kassandra (named ALexandra) first recalls how Herakles destroyed Troy. She then tells about the Trojan War. A large central part is devoted to how the Greek heroes return home. She tells about Odysseus, his travels, and how he went home to his wife Penelope. Penelope later kills him. Kassandra also tells how Aeneas successfully settled in Rome, and how Rome became a big empire. The final part of the poem is devoted to the eternal war between Europe and Asia, about the Persian Wars and Alexander the Great. Kassandra says that six generations after him, a relative will win over the Macendonians, which will end the warring. Kassandra's speech ends with resignation, as she cannot stop the events. The guard ends his speech with a blessing for the Trojans.

Language

The dark language of the poem comes from its vocabulary, its use of special, and old forms of words. Of about 3000 words of the poem, 518 words are only known from this poem, 117 occur in this poem for the first time. The main problems with this poem are that the persons are usually not named. Rather they are described with what they did. Geographical places are similarly unnamed, and only described using places in them. Many scholars have tried to identify places and people, in some cases this is no longer possible though.

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