Alexander in the City of the Excellent: A Persian Tradition of Utopia


Persian, one of the most potent languages when it comes to imagery and fiction, offers a utopian tradition in which Alexander of Macedonia is presented as the hero of the story. Identifying Alexander with a Quranic figure and associating him with an Islamic sage, this tradition circumvented the negative conception associated with Alexander as a destroyer of the Persian Empire. This article reviews various accounts of Alexander’s discovery of a utopia, describes his redemption from being a usurper, and lodges these accounts within the broader discourse of their time.