Alexander

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Alexander is a male forename. It derives from the Greek adjective Αλεξανδρος‚, 'defender of men', sometimes applied to the goddess Hera, and later to the legendary hero Paris. It has various forms: Alexandre in French; Alessandro or Sandro in Italian; Alysaundre in medieval French, and its earliest form in English; Alasdair in Gaelic. In Russian, the male name Sacha (or Sashe) is a common shortening. In Persia, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries, the name Iskander is a commemoration of Alexander the Great's conquests in 331-329.

  • Saints.There have been several Saints called Alexander, some only recognized by the Orthodox churches. Among the early ones, several were martyrs, and one was a Pope. The most significant was Alexander of Constantinople, c. 242–c. 340), bishop of Byzantium and then first Archbishop of Constantinople, who excommunicated Arius, having attended the Council of Nicaea (325), which rejected Arianism and drew up the Nicene Creed.
  • Popes:
    • Alexander I, St, (c. 109-c. 116) The fifth or sixth pope after St Peter.
    • Alexander II (1061-73). Original name Anselm.
    • Alexander III (1159-81). Originally Orlando (Roland) Bandinelli.
    • Alexander IV (1254-61). Rinaldo, son of Philip count of Ienne.
    • Alexander V (1409-10). Pietro Philarghi (a Greek, formerly Peter of Candia, or Crete).
    • Alexander VI (1492-1503). A Spaniard christened Rodrigo de Borja y Borja, perhaps better known by its Italian equivalent Borgia. Notorious as a licentious Pope, father of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, amongst at least nine children.
    • Alexander VII (1655-67). Italian; Fabio Chigi.
    • Alexander VIII (1689-91). Pietro Ottoboni.
  • Kings and rulers, including:
    • in ancient Greece:
      • of Epirus: Alexander I, (370 - 331 BCE) and and Alexander II (272-c.242 BCE)
      • of Macedon: Alexander I (495-450 BCE), Alexander II (370 to 368 BCE); Alexander III, Alexander the Great, (356-323 BCE), his posthumous son Alexander IV (323-309 BCE), who was assassinated at the age of 14; and Alexander V (r. 297-294 BCE), who was also assassinated
    • in modern Greece, Alexander, King of the Hellenes (1893-1920) reigned from 1917 to 1920, and in other Balkan states the confusingly numbered Alexander (Karađorđević) I (1806-1885), Prince of Serbia 1842-1858; Alexander (Obrenović) I (1876-1903) King of Serbia 1889-1903; and Alexander I (Karađorđević)(1888-1934) King of Yugoslavia 1921-34.
    • in Scotland: see King Alexander
    • There have also been three Czars of Russia: Alexander I (1777-1825), ruled 1801-1825 - Napoleon's opponent;; Alexander (1818-1881) reigned 1855-1881; Alexander III (1845-1894)
  • The common noun alexanders, which is singular although having plural form, is an English name for a common plant (Smyrnium Olusatrum). It looks not unlike celery, growing about 4 foot tall, and was formerly eaten in the same way - popular with the Romans, who introduced it to Britain, because it was welcome early green-stuff.
  • The Alexander Technique is an alternative medicine approach to better posture and breathing.