The author of the Letter of Prester John which dates back to the 12th century, calls himself “Lord of Lords’ and ruler of the three Indias. In the context of the letter, a large amount of space is reserved for the description of the fabulous kingdom ruled by the legendary character. The description frequently per reproduces the recurrent motifs of Graeco-Roman literature that represent India as a land full of “wonders” inhabited by fantastic creatures and fabulous peoples. Among the texts that should be considered as sources for the letter are certainly the Alexander Romance and Alexander's Letter to Aristotle.
Chiara Di Serio is a research affiliate at the CEU Center for Religious Studies. She received her training at the Roman School of History of Religions of the University of Rome ‘”La Sapienza”, and obtained her PhD in February 2020. Her research interests focus on the Graeco-Roman ethnographic literature on Eastern countries and peoples, and primarily on India and its inhabitants. She is currently completing a monograph on the narratives concerning the meeting between Alexander the Great and the “naked philosophers” of India from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
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