Alexander as Helios or Helios as Alexander (Some Problems of Interpretation and Attribution of an Unknown Monument)

Vasilieva Т. М.

The article deals with mutual influence of both iconographic types, putting it in a wider context, that of interaction of a historical and a mythological figure in the Greco-Roman art. Tracing the evolution of Alexander the Great's portraits and that of the images of god Helios throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the author treats in great detail iconographic features which are considered characteristic for the two personages, as well as their material attributes, in particular the solar crown. The conclusion is that the iconography of Helios gradually merged with that of Alexander, and it is difficult to say whether Alexander was idealized as Helios or Helios later inherited Alexander's features. Alexander the Great, who began to develop into a monument even while alive, gave birth to a new myth, the myth of Alexander. The image of Alexander enlivened and personnified Helios, adding individuality to the old god and modernizing it. The article is supplemented with a short catalogue of relevant art works and the first publication of a lst-2nd с AD bronze bust from a private collection (with illustrations), which, according to the author, may display Alexander's portrait characteristics, but is endowed with the solar crown.