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An Elephant for Aristotle by L. Sprague de…

An Elephant for Aristotle

by L. Sprague de Camp

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Delightful novel, gently humorous, about how Alexander the Great sends an elephant to his old tutor, Aristotle, along with other curiosities from India; Aristotle has always been curious about elephants. A varied band of men, mostly Thessalians and other Greeks, but also including Persians, a philosopher, a Syrian sutler, and two Indians in charge of the elephant, led by Hipparch Leon of Atrax makes the journey from India to Athens. The novel tells of their adventures on the way--skirmishes with natives, navigating a narrow pass through the mountains where the elephant blocks traffic coming the other way, a stopover in Babylon and its Hanging Gardens, run ins with bureaucracy, a final sea crossing across the Aegean to Athens with final reunion of Leon and his family in Leon's home town.

I especially thought clever how the author delineated by dialect where the different Greeks hailed from--northern Greeks such as Leon by heavy use of Scots, Attic Greeks by "posh" words, Ionians by Cockney [dropping H's], and Doric-speaking Greeks by an American Southern drawl. The novel was very readable; the story just flowed along.

Highly recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Mar 7, 2016 |
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What finer way for Alexander the Great to honor his old tutor Aristotle than to send him an actual Indian elephant.

After capturing a magnificent specimen from an Indian ruler, Alexander tasks Leon of Atrax, a cavalry commander, to deliver the animal to Aristotle in Athens.

Leon leads a motley crew of companions (and the elephant) from India to Greece, and in the process encounter all sorts of dangers and adventures while completing the long and arduous journey.
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