Ozzie emailed about the following material he came across:
"It is almost universally held, among Western scholars, that the character of Dhul-Qarnayn mentioned in the Koran corresponds to Alexander the Great. The reason for this is that the story of Dhul-Qarnayn as described in the Qur'an follows very closely some passages of the Alexander romance, a thoroughly embellished compilation of Alexander's exploits from Hellenistic and early
Christian sources, which underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Orientalist scholars, studying ancient Christian legends about Alexander the Great, independently came to the conclusion that Dhul-Qarnayn is an ancient epithet for Alexander the Great. Historically, Muslim scholars have endorsed the identification of Dhul-Qarnayn with the Alexander the Great (see, for example, Tafsir Al-Jalalayn on Qu'ran 18:83)."
Here's what I have in my sources about Dhul-Qarnayn:
The figure of Dhul-Qarnain apparently pre-dates Islam, so I'm not sure what bearing it has on the Byzantine creation of Islam.
Richard Stoneman discusses Dhul-Qarnain in his book, "Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend". He writes:
"The Qur'an refers to Alexander by the name of Dhu'l-qarnain, the two-horned one. Persian authors were confident of the identity of the two figures, and related the stories of Dhu'l-qarnain as actions of Iskandar, but some Qur'anic scholars, both in the past and recently, have doubted that Dhul-qarnain of the Qur'an has anything to do with Alexander. However, there is so much convergence
of the extant Arabic romances of Dhu'l-qarnain with Alexander stories that there can be litle doubt that their authors saw them as one, and used stories from the Alexander Romance to elaborate their accounts of Dhu'l-qarnain.
"The second part of Qur'an, Sura 18, is an answer to a problem raised thus: 'They will ask you concerning Dhu'l-qarnain.' The name must derive from the iconography of Alexander, in which the hero is portrayed wearing the horns of Ammon on coins of the successors. However, the question being asked in Sura 18 of the Qur'an concerns the ram with two horns in the prophesy of Daniel 8, who is generally agreed to be Cyrus, while the goat with one horn represents Alexander. So it seems that the author of the Quar'an has confused the two figures, under the influence prevailing iconography of Alexander with two horns, and has attached the designation to the wrong king."
I would add that the confusion probably derived from iconography of Alexander itself. The name of Alexander's horse (as an extension of his own person) was Bocephalus. Phalus is crudely synonymous with horn. Boce relates to Bucca/Boucca, Slavic for "Horned God", and also suggests, "Goat" and "Two-headed and Crooked-Horned One".
The name could also allude to the Buchis bull of Egypt (city of Armant). "Taurocephalus (Taurokephalos, also Taurokranos, Taurometopos, &c.) a surname of Dionysus in the Orphic mysteries (Orph. Hymm. 51.2.) It also occurs as a surname of rivers and the ocean, who were symbolically represented as bulls, to indicate
their fertilising effect upon countries (Eurip. Iphig. Aul. 275, Orest. 1378; Aelian. V.H. ii.33; Horat. Carm. iv.14.25)"
The iconography of Alexander included the goat (but also the bull), and was both two-headed and single-horned. (But I suppose if each head had a horn, then he was two-horned as well!)
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