He was the son of Satyrus and Stratocleia, and was a native of Pleuron in Aetolia, although he spent the greater part of his life at Alexandria, where he was reckoned one of the seven tragic poets who constituted the Tragic Pleiad.
He flourished about 280 BC, in the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. He had an office in the Library of Alexandria, and was commissioned by Ptolemy to make a collection of all the tragedies and satyric dramas that were extant. He spent some time, together with Antagoras and Aratus, at the court of Antigonus II Gonatas.
Notwithstanding the distinction he enjoyed as a tragic poet, he appears to have had greater merit as a writer of epic poems, elegies, epigrams, and cynaedi. Among his epic poems, we possess the titles and some fragments of three pieces: the Fisherman, Kirka or Krika, which, however, is designated by Athenaeus as doubtful, and Helena, Of his elegies, some beautiful fragments are still extant. His Cynaedi, or Ionic poems (Ἰωνικὰ ποιήματα), are mentioned by Strabo and Athenaeus. Some anapaestic verses in praise of Euripides are preserved in Gellius.
- Meineke, Analecta Alexandrina (1843)
- Bergk, Poetae Lyrici Graeci
- Auguste Couat, La Poésie alexandrine (1882)
- J U Powell (ed), Collectanea Alexandrina: reliquiae minores poetarum graecorum aetatis ptolemaicae, 323 - 146 A.C. (1972)
- Enrico Magnelli (ed), Alexandri Aetoli Testimonia et Fragmenta. Studi e Testi 15. (1999)
- Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). "Alexander". In William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 111.
- Suda, s. v.
- Eudoc. p. 62
- Pausanias, Description of Greece ii. 22. § 7
- Scholiast, ad Hom Il. xvi. 233
- Chisholm 1911.
- Aratus, Phaenomena et Diosem. ii. pp. 431, 443, &c. 446, ed. Buhle
- ἁλιεὺς, Athenaeus, vii. p. 296
- Athenaeus, vii. p. 283
- August Immanuel Bekker, Anecdota Graeca p. 96
- Athenaeus, iv. p. 170, xi. p. 496, xv. p. 899
- Strabo, xii. p. 556, xiv. p. 681
- Parthen. Erot. 4
- John Tzetzes, ad. Lycophron 266.
- Scholiast and Eustathius, ad Il. iii. 314
- Strabo, xiv. p. 648
- Athenaeus, xiv. p. 620
- Aulus Gellius, xv. 20
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alexander Aetolus". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Alexander Ætolus". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Leonhard Schmitz, Leonhard (1870). "Alexander". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. p. 111.