Alexander, the making of a god, Netlix docu series
Alexander the great and Bucephalo
Alexander the great fresco
Alexander the great sculpture

Alexander the great was a a military strategist of genius, capable of defeating colossal armies. Setting out with a small army from his native Macedonia, he conquered the Persian Empire (1/4 of the world’s population). That’s astonishing. But he was much more than this. Smart, curious about other cultures, he was ready to open his way of life to foreign traditions. It was a trait misunderstood by his compatriots, and still very rare today. Fascinated by Egypt, Alexander became a Pharaoh by opportunism, but also out of love of the country’s culture. Insatiable and convinced of his divine essence, he didn’t stop at Persia, but went all the way to India, becoming history’s greatest conqueror.

Alexander was one of a kind. That’s make any attempt of biopic (docuseries, in this case) really tricky. The docuseries begins when Alexander is a 20 years old prince. That’s a pity, because his childhood, the influence of his mother, of his preceptor Aristotle, and the context of the Greek provinces at the time, would have helped understanding who he was. The series follows him for a few years, until Darius’s deafeat and the pinnacle of Alexander’s glory. It may prepare a season 2, or it was a choice to focus on the ascension of the hero.

The docuseries succeeds in showing how Alexander’s men were perplexed by his bold, completely new and unpredictable strategic choices. Above all, they were baffled and sometimes furious at his openness to foreign traditions. But at the same time, they couldn’t help (as we can’t, either, nowadays) to be fascinated by such unimaginable successes. Alexander was certainly a charismatic leader. For his men, beating repeatedly very bad odds must have been the mark of man touched by the gods, a semi-god himself. Intoxicated by his own glory, he sometimes lost touch with reality. But he was a visionary who understood that there can be no solid, lasting conquest without assimilation and acculturation.

1 season, 6 episodes (40 mn), 2024, on Netflix

Casting : Buck Braithwaite / Alexander, Mido Hamada / Darius III, Will Stevens / Hepaestion, Dino Kelly / Ptolemy, Jadran Malkovich / Parmenion, Souad Faress / Oracle

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