Alexander: The Making of a God (2024) s01e05 Episode Script

The Living God

[dramatic music playing]
[Oracle] Into each life comes adversity.
[Alexander] What is there to understand?
Why you would march us
through a burning desert for weeks,
just to see us climb into a lion's mouth?
What if it's something
I have to do before I face Darius?
[Oracle] But for those who seek greatness,
they must take the hardest path,
the road less traveled.
They must pass through the tempest,
the eye of the storm.
[strong wind blowing]
[Oracle] But this is how the gods test us.
- [Hephaestion yells]
- [yells]
[Oracle] For it is only
in the eye of that storm
where we find if we are truly worthy,
how they challenge us
to recognize what is truly important
[Oracle] what is worth fighting for
and what is worth moving heaven and earth
[both laugh]
[Oracle] to protect.
[dramatic music intensifies]
[dramatic music fades, echoes]
[suspenseful music playing]
We have been waiting for you, Alexander.
You know who I am?
The world knows who you are.
The question is,
do you?
Two bitter enemies
worlds apart.
But two sides of the same coin.
A young Macedonian prince
fighting for his country
and for his own name.
And a Persian king
determined to defend
the greatest empire on earth.
But who shall be victorious?
The gods will decide.
this war,
the worlds I fight for,
everything I do in pursuit of some
higher meaning is pointless?
That is not what I said.
And it is not what you feel within.
But what if I fail?
The child of a god cannot fail.
My mother
She told me that.
She told you only what
you needed to hear to set you on the path.
The path to where?
Let me show you.
[voice whispers]
[ethereal music playing]
[chants in Coptic]
[thunder claps]
[chants in Coptic]
[chanting continues, echoes]
- [horses galloping]
- [Darius screams]
[Oracle continues chanting]
[music ends, echoes]
- [wind blows]
- [voice whispers]
[Lloyd] We simply do not know
what happens in that inner sanctuary
in the Temple of Amun at Siwa.
Our sources are
at loggerheads with each other here.
But one thing is certain,
is that Alexander comes out
of the experience a changed man.
He claims that the Oracle
pronounced that he was
the son of the god Amun.
And whether it is
a fervent spiritual belief of his
or whether it is
an incredible piece of politics,
he projects himself from here on in
as a living, breathing god.
[dramatic music playing]
[crowd cheering]
[cheering continues]
[Ptolemy] Stand back!
Everybody back!
Guards! Control this crowd!
[loudly] Ptol, it's okay.
[cheering continues]
[Salima] Alexander spends the night
at the temple in Siwa,
and there, the Oracle speaks to him.
- [crowd cheers]
- [Ptolemy] Alexander, keep moving.
[Salima] When he comes out, he says that
the god Amun-Ra claimed him as his son.
And so, Alexander is also divine
and, therefore, obviously
the legitimate ruler of Egypt,
and certainly for the Egyptians,
he is a god from that point on.
- [crowd cheers]
- [man] Alexander!
[cheering continues]
It's good to see you.
[inhales, exhales]
- A living god?
- [exhales]
The High Priest confirmed it.
Apparently, he's the son of Zeus.
[inhales deeply, exhales]
Well, then, if he is not Philip's son,
is he really our king?
- It's not a joke, General.
- And I'm not laughing.
The troops are getting fractious.
They've done nothing but train for months.
Then they'll be ready
to fight for Macedon.
But will Alexander?
Doesn't it bother you?
Him here, in his Egyptian clothes,
learning Persian from the enemy's wife.
He's going native.
A pharaoh.
Now a god.
Where does it all end?
With a glorious victory over Persia.
Does it?
I need to know that he is still with us.
And you too.
[Carolyn] Why go to the oracle
of an Egyptian deity, Amun?
Well, the Greeks were quite flexible
in their understanding of their gods.
They accepted that perhaps their gods
could go by
different names in different places
and so, although it was
the oracle of Amun in Egypt,
the Greeks associated Amun with Zeus.
So, in going to that oracle,
it's also like Alexander
was getting recognition from Zeus as well.
They would've been
one and the same to the Greeks.
[dramatic music intensifies]
- [swords clatter]
- [man grunts]
[Darius] Again.
[swords clatter]
[man grunts]
[both grunt]
I've never seen him like this.
- [strains]
- [man grunts]
Right now, he would take on all of Macedon
if it would save
Stateira from that savage.
[both straining]
[Lloyd] Let's not over-egg the idea
that it's all over for Darius.
He's still got substantial territories
from Babylon all the way through
to Northern India and Pakistan.
But we can't deny that the loss
of Asia Minor, the Levant,
Egypt, to Alexander
is an enormous blow.
That was a substantial part
of his kingdom gone.
Plus the fact now, he's lost his wife,
he's losing confidence
with his chief advisors,
ministers, and council of war.
It is looking dodgy for him.
- But the game isn't over yet.
- [grunts]
My king, I bring news.
Of Alexander's death, I hope.
[both straining]
No, sir.
My hope he would have been swallowed
by the Great Sand Sea proved optimistic.
He returned from
the Temple of Siwa a few days ago
to some excitement, it would seem.
Excitement? [pants]
- [swords clatter]
- [Darius grunts]
Rumor amongst the locals is that
the high priestess at Siwa
has declared him the rightful pharaoh.
- [straining]
- [man grunts]
[Bessus] More than that
- [swords clink]
- [Darius grunts]
son of Zeus-Amun, sir.
- [man moans]
- [strains]
A living god.
[both grunting]
- [dramatic music stops]
- [pants]
Then it seems
I am to be a god killer. [panting]
I have a little something to tell you.
I have a little news myself.
I'm afraid your news
has already spread like wildfire.
Is he going to be known as the son
of the son of God?
You need to come with me.
It's urgent.
[Lloyd] By this stage in Alexander's life,
I think his heart
is no longer Macedonian per se,
but here's a young man
experiencing a much wider world
with a great cultural depth to it.
And I just think he happily buys in
to whatever he encounters next.
I think that's the thing with Alexander.
He's incredibly receptive
to the next thing that opens up to him.
[Alexander] Hm.
Well, this doesn't feel welcoming.
We are concerned,
the leaders of your army.
May I speak my mind, sir?
You've earned that right, General.
Then hear me when I say
we have lost all focus on our mission.
You might be worshiped
here by the Egyptians,
but our men
will never bow down to one of their own.
Now, wait a minute, General.
I know my men.
Theirs is a faith that needs to be earned
in great deeds.
Then I will earn that faith.
I promise you.
We'll make preparations
to leave Egypt immediately
and face Darius on the field.
I must have loyalty.
Especially among those
that I depend on most.
Did I not lead you to victory at Granicus?
Issus and Tyre?
So I ask all of you right now
to make your choice.
with my blessing.
Or pledge your life to me all the way
to the gates of Babylon and Persia beyond.
[dramatic music intensifies]
What do you say?
[music wanes]
I agree with you, General.
Out here,
how they worship my oldest friend, it's
It feels like hysteria.
It does.
But they are willing
to follow him to the ends of the world.
And that belief,
that faith in him
it can level armies,
entire cities.
They're ready to fight to the death
to win a war in his name.
The least we can do
is show them how.
So am I with you, my king?
- Nai!
- [heroic music intensifies]
[soldiers] Nai!
[heroic music playing]
[softly] Nai.
[music wanes]
[Lloyd] Ptolemy's dilemma is palpable.
He was probably the person who knew
Alexander best of all of his generals.
They'd grown up together since boyhood.
He knew him intimately.
And so, for Alexander
to now present himself to Ptolemy
as this god-king,
and an Egyptian-style god-king at that,
is so unpalatable to Ptolemy
and to the rest
of the the Macedonians, of course.
But there is an irony to all of this,
and that is,
in years to come,
Ptolemy himself, of course,
was going to be crowned
as the pharaoh of Egypt,
the Lord of the Two Lands,
and he himself was made into a living god.
Thank you, Ptol.
For your faith in me.
It's not faith, Alexander.
It's friendship.
And it's blood.
Because I know that for all of this,
you are still Macedon
to the bone.
[dramatic music begins]
[music intensifies]
[door opens]
Sir, the magi, what did they say?
The usual.
Omens of victory,
vague warnings of doom, empty words.
Are the generals all assembled?
They're ready for your orders, my king.
I can assure you, Bessus, they are not.
[Ali] I don't think there's any doubt
whatsoever that after Issus,
Darius is hemorrhaging support
from the political elite.
They're starting to have doubts.
They don't know whether
this guy's gonna survive.
It It's really quite chaotic.
If you can imagine that you've had
this imperial system in place
for 200 years,
it's very disruptive to everyone.
They don't know what comes in its place,
what's happening.
So, really, for Darius,
he's got one very last throw of the dice.
I think a big showdown
somewhere was inevitable.
[Mazaeus] Alexander still has
a huge numerical disadvantage,
even with his Egyptian reinforcement.
We estimate 30,000 heavy infantry,
7,000 cavalry.
Which means
we can easily contain his forces here
[assertively] No.
My king?
[calmly] No, no, no.
No, Mazaeus.
I've read those reports too.
He's restored army morale
and won the hearts of the Egyptian people.
He even has a new nickname.
Alexander the Invincible.
So, no.
We will not contain him.
We need to destroy him.
So, I am hereby mobilizing
the Immortal guards,
the hoplites,
the scythed chariots,
as well as the cavalries
of the Eastern satrapies,
the Indian garrison,
and the allied Scythian tribes.
In fact
send everything.
Then let us see
how this Alexander the Invincible
fares against the entire Persian Empire.
Indeed, sir.
A great army.
Truly inspired.
[Darius] Mazaeus?
[Mazaeus] Yes, my king?
I know you'll want to be at the vanguard,
so ride out
and determine Alexander's route.
Then burn all the crops between us.
We need to starve them out.
[breathes heavily]
But be aware.
That will harm our people too.
It's two years since the Battle of Issus.
Things are looking grim for Darius.
The war is not over yet.
He has been in Babylon all this time,
putting troops together,
bringing in more mercenaries.
Darius is all set again for the fight.
- [midwife] Yes.
- [straining]
[moans in effort]
[Lloyd] Stateira had been separated
from Darius III
for two years at this point,
so it is out of the question
that Darius could have fathered
this child, of course.
- So that leaves Alexander or his men.
- [straining]
[Lloyd] Now, I do not think that Alexander
would have conceivably allowed anyone
to have sexual relations
with this queen of Persia,
which leads me to believe that
the father of that child
can only have been Alexander himself.
[dramatic music playing]
Stateira and the baby do not survive
the traumas of childbirth.
[Lloyd] Alexander's biographer,
the historian Plutarch,
specifically names Stateira,
and he tells us
the circumstances in which she died.
That's extremely unusual for Plutarch
or any other historian of the time.
The second thing is we can trace
the events that
lead up to Stateira's death
in the Babylonian evidence
from the astronomical charts.
- [somber music playing]
- [sighs]
[Barsine shudders]
[Jennifer] Alexander seems to have
at least made a show
of mourning Stateira's death.
[Barsine inhales]
[Jennifer] We know from our sources
that he provided her with a lavish funeral
that seems to have been in concert
with her station in Persian society.
And so at least Alexander made
a political performance out of her death.
[somber music continues]
[Bessus] My king.
A message has arrived from Alexander.
Darius should hear of her passing from me,
not his spies.
Yes, my king.
[Alexander] But, Ptol?
Make sure you tell him how she died.
Your wife
She died giving birth
to a son.
[Darius shudders]
We really see Alexander there just
twisting the knife deliberately.
[tearfully] Bessus, she was lost.
And I failed her.
We are soldiers.
We are Persia.
[breathes shakily]
[Bessus] Sir?
They're waiting for you.
[breathes shakily]
[dramatic music playing]
[man] Stand guard!
[Carolyn] Stateira being alive
gives Darius more legitimacy.
He wasn't a direct heir to the throne.
She was a Persian royal woman.
She was of high status.
And so, her connection to Darius
gave Darius more authority
and more of a right to rule.
Her loss means
that's been cut off from him.
[dramatic music continues]
[Lloyd] Interestingly, at this period,
one of our key players,
Mazaeus, comes back into focus.
He's Darius's great confidant.
He's one of his chief advisors,
one of his go-to men,
and we find at this point, increasingly,
those who are loyal to Darius
start to move away from him.
Some of them actually even
start to go over to Alexander's camp.
And one later tradition,
outside the Alexander historians,
suggests that Hephaestion
actually met with Mazaeus
and persuaded him
to go over to Alexander's side.
[Hephaestion] Governor Mazaeus.
You know I'm duty bound
to gut you like a fish right here.
But before you do,
you should know
that Barsine is alive and well.
Not a hair on her head.
And King Alexander promises
that she will remain this way
under his personal protection.
- But
- [horse neighs]
he cannot keep his promise if he loses.
Why are you telling me this?
Perhaps you can help save Barsine
and remain governor of Babylon.
[Carolyn] Darius has been trying
to avoid another pitched battle,
and you cannot blame him for that.
This was a disaster for the Persian side,
but Alexander is having none of it.
He is determined
to show his military expertise
to capture Darius and to literally take
the Persian Empire for himself.
And so, it's inevitable that the two
have to meet on the battlefield again.
They can only dance around each other
like two territorial dogs for so long
before they have to come to blows.
[Lloyd] Darius leads his army to an area
that the locals called
the Place of the Camel,
Gaugamela, in Babylonian.
Gaugamela is situated in modern-day Iraq,
north of Babylon.
Alexander and his men
were pushing through the desert of Iraq
to get to this place,
and when they arrived
at their eventual campsite,
they were thirsty, hungry,
and exhausted already.
Meanwhile, Darius
and his men had set up camp.
They were well-fed, well-watered, rested.
- [horse neighs]
- [men chattering]
If Alexander has
already crossed the Tigris
he will be just days away.
You saw his cavalry, yes?
Yes, sir.
From a distance.
Then he will take
the direct southeastern route to Babylon.
[dog barks]
Mazaeus, ride out with your cavalry
and prepare the plains for battle. Do it.
[shouts] Do it now!
Yes, my king.
[Lloyd] For Mazaeus,
this is a moment where
he begins to question
what Darius is all about.
Uh, and so, you really begin to see
this certain anxiety emerge in him
about Darius's qualities as a king.
[man] My king! Bessus!
You must see this.
[wind blowing]
[men whispering]
[wind continues to blow]
[Lloyd] Darius seems to be trapped in
this whirlwind of bad news all the time,
and suddenly, out of the night sky,
comes the worst omen
he could possibly have,
and that's a lunar eclipse.
The skies darken,
and the moon turns bloodred.
- [men whispering]
- [wind blowing]
Quickly, spread the word.
The magi have decreed
this foretells of a great victory.
That is all.
My king
Do you understand?
Yes, my king.
I suspect the magi
would see this omen differently.
[low chattering continues]
They would.
Find me a runner.
I need to send Alexander a message.
- Let me call back Governor Mazaeus.
- No.
He can be your envoy.
No, Bessus.
He must never know.
[Ali] As with these things in these times,
these are omens,
and they're taken as omens
by either side about what it means
and interpreted in different ways.
And it's more than likely that,
from the Persian point of view,
it would've been seen as
the great king, in this case, Darius,
being eclipsed by the new challenger,
and that would have been Alexander.
[Lloyd] Conversely, in Alexander's camp,
who witnessed the same eclipse, of course,
there, Alexander's priests say,
"Nothing to worry about here."
"This bodes badly for Darius,
but for you, this is a good sign."
[horse neighs]
You've seen it.
[Ptolemy] Well
- You can't exactly miss it.
- Hm.
[horse neighs]
You're right.
- [tools clattering]
- [men chatter]
What's worrying you, old friend?
What worries me
is the thousands of men
over that hill that want to kill us.
That we might be outnumbered five to one.
That we're walking into this
behind a man who thinks he's invincible.
- [horse neighs]
- [chatter continues]
And that might be
the sign he's very much not.
[clears throat]
Alexander has requested our presence.
A message has arrived from Darius himself.
What is it? A demand for surrender?
[Alexander] Nope.
It's another desperate offer.
In return for peace, Darius will give me
all the territory west of the Euphrates
and 30,000 silver talents.
I take it it's not enough?
He did leave a little extra bonus
to sweeten the deal though.
The hand in marriage
of his daughter Barsine.
[Hephaestion] Seriously?
She's already betrothed to
Governor Mazaeus, his most loyal general.
What's he thinking?
If he's making an offer like that,
what's going through his head?
Let Darius know I will not accept.
[Hephaestion] Wait.
We can use this.
[dramatic music playing]
We return Darius's offer
along with a message
from you declining it.
But we send it
care of Governor Mazaeus himself,
with instructions
to deliver it to his beloved king.
[dramatic music intensifies]
[music ends]
[Carolyn] As Darius
is trying to negotiate,
Alexander's also planning ahead,
and so, Alexander
sends Mazaeus a little note being,
"Hey, you thought you were gonna
get to marry the great king's daughter."
"Well, he's changing his mind about that."
"So maybe don't believe
everything he tells you."
And this is an important part
of Alexander's strategy as well,
not just winning
victories on the battlefield
but also manipulating personalities
and relationships
behind the scenes as well.
This must have put Mazaeus
in a difficult position,
because who do you believe?
Do you believe the Macedonian,
who could be telling the truth,
or could be lying through his teeth?
[horses neighing, galloping]
[chariot rattles]
[dramatic music playing]
[horse nickers]
[music wanes]
[Darius] While you're here,
place a garrison
on guard throughout the night.
I don't want a surprise attack.
[Carolyn] So, Mazaeus has to decide
who does he sort of
throw his weight behind?
Does he continue to support his great king
and do what he can
to defend Persia from the Macedonians?
Or does he start
to question where he belongs
and who will be more beneficial to him?
This war will soon be over, my friend.
[suspenseful music begins]
[Oracle] It is human nature
to try to bend the fates in their favor
because they refuse to see
what destiny is.
That for all their plans
[breathes heavily]
[Oracle] for all their paranoia,
they ignore the only truth that matters.
[dramatic music intensifies]
[Oracle] That their lives
are in the lap of the gods.
[soldiers shouting]
[man] Charge!
[men shouting over dramatic music]
[dramatic music playing]
[music ends]
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