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The true identity of Rider in Fate/Zero is Alexander the Great, the famed conqueror and King of Macedonia. Since Alexander conquered so many countries, his name has been adapted to many different languages, including Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, in which he's known as Iskandar, Eskandar, and İskender. (Source.)

The page I linked says the Japanese forms of the name are "アレクサンドロス (Arekusandorosu), アレクサンダー (Arekusandā), アレキサンダー (Arekisandā)" which are all based on the Greek form, Ἀλέξανδρος (Alexandros), or the English/general European form, Alexander. Did the staff ever publish any statements about why Rider is called by a Middle Eastern form of his name, Iskander, instead of using one of the European forms based on "Alexander"?

(Note: If the answer contains spoilers for Season 2, please use spoiler tags, or at least warn me at the top.)

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While I don't know if Gen Urobuchi had said anything about this, the TYPE-MOON Wikia page for Rider (under Profile section, since you know his real name the first paragraph shouldn't be too bad in terms of spoilers) says his name was also Al-Iskandar which does kinda sound like Alexander.

But then that doesn't answer why they choose that name. This is just speculation on my part, however Iskandar is derived from the Old Persian name Sikandar. Old Persian have been used in Achaemenid Empire at the time of Alexander's conquests, and it should be noted that the Achaemenid Empire was one of the largest empires in the world in terms of how many people it ruled.

Darlus ruled about 50 million people in the largest empire the world had seen (Meyer, p.85)

And Wikipedia lists it as the second largest in terms of % of the world population

44.48% (50 million out of 112.4 million in 480 BC)

I would assume Alexander's name being Al-Iskandar (or just Iskandar) is a note to one of his greatest achievements: his victory against the Achaemenid Empire.

  • Would someone like to explain their downvote? if there is something wrong with my research then please let me know – Memor-X Oct 1 '14 at 2:50
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    Thanks for your answer, I think your reasoning is good. I also suspected it might be because Alexander spent a good portion of his life ruling Persia rather than Macedonia, and even adapted to the Persian culture in a lot of respects. And his Ionioi Hetarioi Noble Phantasm does bring him to the Persian desert, not the mountains of Macedonia. – Torisuda Oct 1 '14 at 7:53
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    @Torisuda: I think that is interesting enough to be made into an answer. – nhahtdh Oct 1 '14 at 12:35
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    @nhahtdh Done. Since neither my nor Memor-X's answers have an official statement, I'm going to hold off accepting anything for a bit. – Torisuda Oct 1 '14 at 21:39
  • @Torisuda maybe someone should ask Gen Urobuchi next TYPE-MOON Ace she he did talk about Alexander f****** both Kayneth and Sola-Ui when the topic came to whether there's still be come "cheating" involved had Kayneth summoned him (source) – Memor-X Oct 1 '14 at 22:18
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I don't have any concrete statement from Gen Urobuchi or the anime production staff, but I suspect it's because although Alexander the Great began as King of Macedonia, he spent a good portion of his life ruling Persia and other Middle Eastern kingdoms, and so was actually more of a Middle Eastern king than a Greek one.

According to the Wikipedia article, Alexander reigned from 336 BC to 323 BC—a reign of only thirteen years. He spent two years as King of Macedonia, rallying his forces for an invasion of Asia. In 332 BC, just two years after beginning his conquest, he overthrew Darius III, Pharaoh of Egypt and King of the Achaemenid Empire in Persia, and assumed those titles. That means that, of thirteen years of rule, he spent nine as King of Persia and Macedonia and just two as King of Macedonia; furthermore, we can see from the Wikipedia page that he spent almost all of his time after the invasion in Persia and the Middle East. As @Memor-X mentions in his answer, the Achaemenid Empire was one of the largest empires in the world by population, so being its king put Alexander over a far greater number of people than his kingship of Macedonia. As Memor-X mentions, "Iskandar" is Alexander's name in Old Persian, and all of these new subjects would have known him by that name. And after taking the kingship of Persia, Alexander didn't double back to Europe; he continued east, pushing through Pakistan and into India, searching for the great ocean at the end of the world (as his fictionalized counterpart Rider also was), planning to establish a capital at Babylon and invade the Arabian Peninsula. Since all the people on his eastward march would be more familiar with Persian than with Greek, it makes sense that they would also call him "Iskandar".

Not only that, but during his time as ruler of Persia, Alexander adopted several Persian customs and overall tried to integrate his Macedonian and Persian subjects (Source, the first paragraph, and also here.) Alexander also married two Persian princesses, Stateira II and her cousin Parysatis II, and integrated his army so that both Macedonians and Persians could hold positions of high power; he bribed, pandered, and punished as needed to keep the peace between them, even having some of his men executed for desecrating the tomb of Persian king Cyrus the Great.

Given all that, it seems possible that Urobuchi thought that even though Alexander began as a Greek king, his major accomplishments were more associated with Persia and the Middle East, and so it was the Persian form of his name that should go down in legend. His Noble Phantasm, Ionioi Hetarioi, transports everyone to the Persian desert, not the Macedonian hills, which could be another nod to this. It's also notable that, so far as I can remember, we first hear the name "Iskandar" from Rider himself, in Episode 4 when he flies into the middle of Saber and Lancer's battle and tries to recruit them for his army; perhaps Urobuchi thought that, given all the history that Memor-X and I mentioned, Rider would think of himself as Iskandar and not Alexander.

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    Can the downvoters explain? While neither Memor-X nor I have an official statement, I do think both of our answers are based on solid ground and not just wildly speculating. My stated preference was for an answer with an official statement, but I still think both of these answers add some value, especially in the absence of any answer with an official statement. – Torisuda Oct 2 '14 at 21:53
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So according to the Rider (Fate/Zero) Wikia, Iskandar is the "adult aspect" summoned in Fate/Zero, whereas Alexander is the "child aspect" whom I believe is summoned in the android IOS game Fate/Grand Order.

"the King of Conquerors (征服王, Seifuku-Ō?), summoned as the adult aspect known by the name Iskandar (イスカンダル, Isukandaru?) rather than the youthful aspect known as Alexander (アレキサンダ, Arekisanda?)."

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It because Japan and Turkey in the same language family. That means reading İskandar(İskender) easier than reading Alexander. But I have question too!

In fate\apo why did they call the Dracula's skill like Kazikuru bei? Its a Turkish word too but they didn't read it as "Kazikli Bey"

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    Welcome to Anime & Manga Stack Exchange. This looks like an interesting answer, could you expand more/provide sources for "Japan and Turkey in the same language family"? Also, compared to traditional forum, this is a Q&A site, and thus "answers" should only be used to answer the question. If you have a question, feel free to ask it on a new post. Finally, consider taking a quick tour to understand how this site works, thanks! – Aki Tanaka Sep 17 '18 at 2:36
  • @AkiTanaka Storm is talking about the Altaic Hypothesis. There's not a lot of proof for the hypothesis and it doesn't have many defenders nowadays. Storm might be on to something with the idea that Iskander is easier to pronounce for a native Japanese speaker than Alexander though---Isukandaa does seem to flow better vs. Arekkusandaa. – Torisuda Sep 17 '18 at 18:18

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