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Picturing a World

Alexander the Great hatchling

A friend of mine is something of an expert on Alexander the Great in history and legend, so references to him always catch my eye. Then there are dragons, one of my special interests—along with illustration, of course. Medieval comic strip, anyone? In the story depicted here, Olympias, the wife of Philip of Macedon, is seduced by a sorcerer named Nectanebo, who comes to her in the shape of a dragon. Result? According to this illuminator anyway, a little hatchling Alexander! For the story in full, click here.

Writer's tip: Once you track down an original narrative, illustrations like this are harder to misappropriate for invention. If you see something puzzling or outrageous that sparks your imagination, go for it—make up you own story and let it lead you where it will. (Alternatively, of course, you can retell the existing story with some major alteration. How would you stage Alexander's birth as a dragon—in modern dress?)

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