This is the most detailed spread I've illustrated since I completed The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya 3 years ago. 😰
Some interesting objects and people you might like to see, which I've either used as loose inspiration or direct reference to their counterparts on this spread. Note: there's usually more than one of these objects in the same museum or other museums.
- Duck-headed ladle
- Gold jug from the Oxus tresaure collection
- Mesopotamian silver drinking bowl with gold appliques
- Mesopotamian musicians and their instruments
Food on the table (that's visible), in case you want to mimic this dinner party:
- A slab of beef
- Dried dates
- Pheasant with quince
- Babylonian meat stew, or Tu'hu (here's a recipe you can follow from Tasting History)
The couch that Alexander's sitting on is entirely made-up. I based the decoration off the Golden Vine and Golden Tree, which Alexander may have encountered, in real life and in legend.
"The Persian kings had come to such a pitch of luxury, that at the head of the royal couch there was a supper-room laid with five couches, in which there was always kept five thousand talents of gold; and this was called the king's pillow. And at his feet was another supper-room, prepared with three couches, in which there were constantly kept three thousand talents of silver; and this was called the king's footstool. And in his bed-chamber there was also a golden vine, inlaid with precious stones, above the king's bed." (Alexander's chamberlain Chares, as quoted by Athenaeus, taken from page 45 of Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend by Richard Stoneman)
For description and sources for Alexander's Persianised royal outfit (basically: a purple tunic with a white middle) - The Royal Costume and Insignia of Alexander the Great (2012), Andrew W Collins.
Regarding Alexander's character design, including the heterochromia, I talk about it more in this process post. This footnote is almost a mile long already!
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