Alexander’s Army’s Adoption of Persian Court Custom — Zenia in Practice?

DiscussionCategory: QuestionsAlexander’s Army’s Adoption of Persian Court Custom — Zenia in Practice?
Jefferson Toothaker asked 2 months ago

Hello, fellow Classics lovers!
   I’ve always been intrigued by cultural confluence points, or any confluence points for that matter– when two distinct entities meet and their dividing lines blur.
   In the case of Alexander in Persia, I’ve wondered at the reasons behind his and his army’s rapid adoption of Persian culture. I thought, was it just too “soft and cushy” to resist? Looking at this “cultural conversion” if you will, in the light of the concept of Xenia raises some interesting thoughts about how and why Alexander’s Greeks so rapidly became “Persian”.
   Also brought to mind by this line of thought is Marcus Antonius when he reaches Cleopatra and settles into the “liquid world” of the Ptolomaic Nile.
   Remember Mel Brook’s (20thC) line “It’s Good to Be Da King! *wink wink*” — Well, I guess the hardship of ceaseless battle makes court luxury look and feel very good. “It’s Good to Be in Da Luxury!”
    I will be very pleased to hear your thoughts on how the tradition of Xenia played in to this type of ‘cultural conversion’
         Thanks!
            — Jefferson

raytwalker replied 35 mins ago

I do suspect that you are right on all counts, that Xenia did play a part. Accepting home and hearth should have made Alexanders army Inviolate by Greek traditions and so was prudent to do so (did the Persians have a similar tradition? Not that I can think of). I also suspect that the luxury and corpulence of the Persian court was too glamorous (Irish or Scot’s Glamorous- spellbinding) to resist. I only have one doubt. Alexander did not really consider himself to be a Greek nor did Phillip if what I have read is true. They considered themselves akin but different. (not Clear) perhaps part Scythian?
Lol- and as for Mel Brooks, well he often played the fool but I suspect that he rarely was one. I have noticed him to be rather astute when he lets his guard down.