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THE PENIARTH HISTORIA DE PRELIIS1 THE late fifteenth-century manuscript Peniarth 481 is in two parts, the Tfirst^ part (ff. 1-98) written by an English scribe and illustrated by a artist, the second (ff. 99-167) probably written and illuminated Cologne. The two parts, though of different origin, were, nevertheless, bound together from the first, probably in England according to Mr Daniel Huws. The first part, in a bastard secretary hand, comprises the Latin text of the popular Disticha Catonis with Benedict Burgh's English translation in rhyme royal inter- posed (ff. 1-27) and the equally popular Alexander text Historia de preliis (ff. 30-98), whilst the second part contains the common enlarged text of the Historia sanctorum trium regum of John of Hildesheim (d. 1375). Of these texts, the Peniarth 481 Historia de preliis merits close attention on several counts. The text traces the life and career of Alexander the Great as the Middle Ages imagined them to be. It commences with his mother's seduction by the deposed Egyptian pharaoh Nectanebus and ends with his early death by poison in Babylon. The tale recalls Alexander's boyhood and recounts how he slew his natural father Nectanebus and tamed the man-eating horse Bucephalus. It details his early campaigns in the western Mediterranean, his celebrated visit to Jerusalem, and his settling the states of the Greek homeland. Much attention is subsequently devoted to Alexander's invasion of Persia and his correspondence with Darius, the Persian king. Alexander even visits Darius incognito and is forced to flee for his life when recognized. His great victories over Darius are recounted, and, as successor to the murdered Persian king, Alexander marries his daughter and executes his assassins. Alexander then turns to India, corresponds with the powerful Indian prince Porus and later kills him in single combat. It is at this time, too, that he corresponds with Talistris, Queen of the Amazons. The dangers and hardships of the Indian campaign are vividly portrayed: the lack of water, the menace of snakes, hippopotamoi, scorpions, savage pigs, mice as big as moles, bats as big as doves, huge vulture-like birds, elephants, men and women with six hands each, dog-faced baboons, wild men, the storms of the autumn equinox, and heavy snow-fall. Whilst in India, Alexander also visits the ascetic Gymnosophists and enters upon a long philosophical correspondence with Dindimus, King of the Brahmins. After describing further battles with the natives and wild beasts, the text goes on to narrate how Alexander climbed the adamantine mountain and visited the prophetic trees of the Sun and Moon. His services to Queen Candacis of Meroe and her family are also related, before Alexander embarks on yet further