Alexander: The Making of a God (2024) s01e06 Episode Script

A World Still to Conquer

[dramatic music playing]
And so the world did burn.
A raging firestorm
that spread across the land.
And for some,
it would end.
But in that white-hot heat,
which loyalties would crack?
And which would be forged anew?
[Salima] Darius had already been beaten
very badly at Issus,
and so, he had been retreating.
He'd lost large chunks of his empire.
His family was in hostage to Alexander,
so, he tried to broker a deal
with Alexander,
offering him half the empire,
untold wealth,
and the hand of his daughter in marriage.
[Jennifer] Barsine had actually
been betrothed to Mazaeus,
so, the fact that Darius was willing
to give his daughter to Alexander
really shows that Darius
is trying everything at his disposal
to prevent this war from continuing.
Alexander sent a reply
that he was not interested in anything
- No.
- [Jennifer] that Darius was offering.
But he sends this letter through Mazaeus
so that Mazaeus is able to see
that Darius is willing
to be disloyal to his own men
in exchange for peace with Alexander.
A messenger delivered this.
Direct from Alexander.
It seems you have your answer, my king.
[dramatic music playing]
[Jennifer] As a result of Alexander
rejecting Darius's peace offer,
there will now be one final showdown
at Gaugamela in modern-day Iraq.
[Lloyd] Gaugamela, without a doubt,
is one of those moments in history.
- [spears pounding]
- [Lloyd] It is the moment when
the future of the world is decided.
[music intensifies]
[weapons rattle]
[soldiers shouting]
And so, the battle breaks
- in storming chaos.
- [horses gallop]
[soldiers shout]
[swords clashing]
Troops inflamed,
slashing each other with bronze.
- [soldiers shouting]
- [weapons clashing]
[man screams]
But the wise man knows
- [swords slash]
- [soldiers scream]
you can crush your enemy with strategy
[horse neighs]
or with sheer force of will.
[music wanes, echoes]
- [swords clash]
- [men scream]
[ethereal music playing over battle noise]
[horse neighs]
On paper, Darius should have
this battle won before it even begins.
He has ten times as many men as Alexander.
[soldier grunts]
- [grunts]
- [soldiers shout]
What Alexander does
is kick things off from the right.
He actually draws the Persians out
further and further
and further to the right,
pulling the Persian line apart.
General Parmenion,
attack their right flank.
[man screams]
Cavalry, follow me! Yah!
- [soldiers shout]
- [dramatic music playing]
We have Parmenion
trying to defend the left side
of the Macedonian army against Mazaeus.
[soldier screams]
[Carolyn] But they are outnumbered,
there are gaps opening up,
and Parmenion is struggling.
He's leaving their center exposed.
General Mazaeus! Quickly!
Counter the cavalry on the right.
[Mazaeus] On me!
Darius responds to this action
by sending chariots
right into the Macedonian phalanx.
[horses neigh]
[Jennifer] But they're too smart for that,
and they simply open gaps in the line
and let them ride right through.
[horses neigh]
[swords clashing]
[horse neighs]
Meanwhile, Alexander is still fighting
on the Macedonian right.
His opening tactics to split apart
the Persian lines have worked,
and a gap has now opened up.
[soldiers shout]
Hold the line!
This is our moment.
He charges at Darius, who is, of course,
at the heart of the Persian army.
- [horse neighs]
- [men shout]
Darius sees Alexander coming to him,
and I suppose
there's a sense of déjà vu here.
Here we go again.
He needs to get away
from Alexander as quickly as he can.
Many people think, "Oh my God.
This is an act of great cowardice."
But this is actually an act of statecraft,
because if the king dies,
then that's the end of the empire.
[Oracle] When they finally surrender
to the whim of the gods,
and when those gods stride forth
in all their blazing power
- [strains]
- [man screams]
Guards, stop them!
what mortal man can compete?
[breathes heavily]
[horses neigh]
[breathes heavily]
[Hephaestion, muffled] Alexander
- Alexander.
- [panting]
Their commanders have taken flight.
Not even Achilles
could dream of such a triumph.
Seeing Darius flee from the battlefield,
his old colleague, Mazaeus, also flees.
- Cavalry! On my mark, follow me!
- [soldiers screaming]
This moment must have been one of both
sheer elation and ecstasy for Alexander,
but also incredible frustration,
because this is the closest
he has come to owning Persia.
But he still can't catch Darius.
And it's not over
until Darius is dealt with.
[Bessus] Gather as many men as you can.
Babylon has surely fallen.
We head east, deeper into the empire,
and raise a new army.
Persia will never capitulate.
[horse neighs]
My king.
- Ha! Ha!
- [horse neighs, gallops]
Mazaeus has no inclination
to follow Darius,
and instead, he heads back
to the city of Babylon,
the city, of course, he governs as satrap.
Not far behind him
rides Alexander and his inner circle,
and they too enter into Babylon,
this jewel of all Persian cities.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Salima] It is quite extraordinary
that this young general, Alexander,
has conquered Egypt,
marched through most of the Middle East,
and now has arrived
at the gates of Babylon.
And now, that too has fallen to him.
It would have been unthinkable
when people first saw
Alexander marching out of Macedon
that he would achieve so much
in such a short amount of time.
[dramatic music playing]
[footsteps approaching]
You're not gonna take his seat?
Do you remember?
At the shrine in Troy, you were so worried
you could never be like Achilles.
You could never be
"a lionheart who mauls battalions."
I didn't worry for one second.
[softly] Look at you now,
Stop. Please.
You want me to kneel
before the King of Asia?
[firmly] I said stop.
I will not sit,
because it is not yet mine, Heph.
Victory is total.
Alex, you have his throne.
His city.
His family.
What else is there?
You even have his dreams.
But he is still out there.
The King of Persia.
And until I deal with that,
I'm the king of nothing.
[dramatic music intensifies]
[music wanes]
- And where is my father?
- [horse neighs]
[Ptolemy] With any luck,
he's now as dead as a dog.
Did you think
you would just walk off into the sunset?
I I made my choice.
- Come with us.
- I will surrender to Alexander.
It's time for you to kneel
in front of the new King of Asia.
[soldier] Come on.
[Ptolemy] My king.
Your royal baggage.
Look at that, Ptolemy.
Someone has toppled
the brutal Persian conqueror.
[Ali] There is a story that's related
that says that Alexander finds
a statue of Xerxes, and Xerxes,
for Alexander, of course,
is the great king
who led the second invasion of Greece
and sacked the Acropolis.
He has this internal dialogue
where he's torn
about what to do about this statue.
It does exemplify Alexander's
deeper anxiety, shall we say, at this time
of his relationship with the Persians.
Shall I leave you lying there because
of the expeditions you led against Greece?
Or shall I pick you up
because of your virtues in other respects?
[Mazaeus] Sir.
May I humbly suggest
a war is no true measure of man,
but that only in a life of public service
can he be judged.
[dramatic music playing]
Then perhaps you can help me
return this to its rightful place.
[Mazaeus strains]
This is my decree.
If your citizens offer no resistance,
there will be no bloodshed.
But I think their governor
and his fiancée
are best placed to deliver that message.
Don't you?
[gasps softly]
Of course.
of kings.
[dramatic music playing]
[kisses hand]
[Salima] The great fear for Ptolemy
and Alexander's soldiers
is that the further east Alexander goes,
the more Eastern and, in their mind,
sort of dissolute he becomes.
He is then losing
his Greekness, his Macedonian-ness,
and that, for the army,
is a vital problem.
[Ptolemy] What was that?
When they said that
you had gone native, I stood up for you.
But this
Excuse me?
Paying respects to this scum
who slaughtered our ancestors
and then promises of no bloodshed
when you were more than willing
to put Greeks to the sword.
At Granicus? At Halicarnassus
- Oh, be silent, I will not have
- [shouts] What?
You will not have what?
Our people avenged
for centuries of tyranny?
Because I'm telling you now, Alexander,
that is the only reason why your men
have fought and bled
and died in your name.
For vengeance until the score is paid!
And it is you who will make sure
that that doesn't happen again, brother!
That the Babylonian people
have my protection.
Do you hear me?
Because now,
all of this
This is the Macedonian empire.
And we
We are all native now.
Darius does not think that
it's all over for him yet.
If he can get himself
to the Eastern satrapies,
that's tough terrain
for Alexander to follow him to.
They travel further
and further east all the time
until they're starting to approach
what would now be
the border with Afghanistan.
[dramatic music playing]
Where are we headed now?
He's been spotted heading east
towards the Hindu Kush mountains.
So we're going after Darius again?
Alex, he's contained.
He's powerless. Alex.
This has become an obsession.
[Alexander] If he makes it to Bactria,
we could lose him forever.
- Alex. It's become
- [men shouting]
[music intensifies]
[horses neighing]
[music wanes]
[Lloyd] Darius's ambition at this time is
to open up
a long guerrilla warfare campaign
against Alexander.
With the backing of Bessus,
Bessus's soldiers, and his own mercenary,
they can hold out in the mountains
for months, if not years.
Alexander is upon us.
A small battalion
has been spotted a few hours away.
This will never end.
He'll kill us all.
[men chattering in low voices]
[dramatic music playing]
[music wanes]
It doesn't have to be treachery.
Believe me.
I know that now.
Look at it, Bessus.
What an exquisite idea.
An empire built on truth
A civilization.
And all it needed was a custodian
who would stay true to it.
[intense music builds]
[grunts, moans]
What motivates Bessus to do this
is a personal greed, personal power,
complete and utter dissatisfaction
with Darius.
And the man who had been most loyal
to him claims everything for himself.
Now, when Alexander hears
about these events
from scouts,
he is shocked by it.
So we have this amazing overnight journey
where Alexander and his men
travel 18 hours
on horseback without stopping
until they begin to catch up.
They can see
the cortège of Darius ahead of them.
[softly] This is no way for a king to die.
[loudly] This is no way for a king to die.
[solemn music playing]
He was the king of kings,
and he deserves the respect that befits.
[man] Men, gather his body.
[Salima] If Alexander was living
a scripted drama of his life,
he probably would not have written in
that Darius gets killed by someone else
because, for him,
the moment where
he took over the empire properly
should have been when he killed Darius.
[bird caws in distance]
Bessus was then put to death
at Alexander's request
because, of course,
Bessus was a king murderer,
and you can't let that go,
because otherwise Alexander might feel
that others would do
the same to Alexander.
When you think about it,
Darius's fight against Alexander
ended so tragically for him.
- [sobs]
- [Lloyd] He lost his wife,
he lost his chief friends and advisers,
and then, ultimately,
Darius III lost his life.
[Carolyn] Alexander uses Darius's death,
basically, as a form of propaganda.
He honors his body.
So, he's trying to show
that he is a legitimate, respectful heir.
[solemn music playing]
[Alexander] He deserved more
than to die in some filthy ditch.
And perhaps I drove him to that.
He drove himself to that.
All you did was return his body to me.
And for that
I am grateful.
[solemn music continues]
[Lloyd] With the death of Darius,
Alexander can justifiably
claim to be the King of Persia.
Alexander is at his pinnacle.
In just six short years,
he's gone from being a Macedonian prince
to the king
of the four quarters of the world.
The King of Persia.
There is no greater accolade.
[Hephaestion] An honorable man
and a formidable opponent.
The turning of a page.
And for us too.
We can finally go home.
What if we don't?
In death, Darius has pointed
the way for me to continue east.
Is Zeus not sending me a sign
that my divine calling
has not yet been fulfilled,
that my conquests are incomplete?
I need to create
an empire that eclipses all others.
[Hephaestion] But we could escape
this fray.
Live forever.
Like Homer said,
"Never a trace of age,
Oh, my dear Heph.
"But the fates of death await us."
"So we either give our enemy glory"
"Or win it for ourselves."
[Alexander] Find Ptolemy.
Parmenion too,
if he's not deep in his drink.
In fact, summon all my generals.
I have a world to conquer.
[dramatic music intensifies]
[Oracle] And so,
the war between two men will go on.
But not as we see now,
a battle between Alexander
and those he might conquer,
but the battle within Alexander himself.
Two sides of the living god.
A conflict that
will truly shape the world to come,
that will build a city
that will last for millennia
and obsess people till the end of time.
[car horns honking]
[Salima] Alexander's legacy lives on
in so many ways,
but the most obvious and the most elegant
is the city of Alexandria
that he founded over 2,000 years ago.
Dr. Pepi Papakosta has found
what seems to be the Royal Road
and also the remains
of a monumental building.
Around this large building,
Dr. Pepi has found an array of objects.
[Calliope] These are oil lamps
from the time of Alexander.
We find hundreds of these lamps
in this area.
This small one was
for offering to the gods
connected with use of this building.
The way that today people go
to the church and light candle,
people used to offer
an oil lamp to Alexander.
We see signs of fire,
and that means
it's a an object that people here used.
People in Alexandria worshiped Alexander,
hoping that
he could protect them from evil.
He was considered a god.
In our excavation area,
we find a lot of votive offerings.
People used to offer
to Alexander small figurines
dealing with their problem, maybe.
They were old. They were sick.
The fact that we find
so many votive offerings here
means that people
were coming here to be helped.
People are still looking for any traces
they can find of the real man himself.
The ultimate thing,
of course, is his tomb.
Is it there in Alexandria?
Does it still exist?
I suppose that's
the million-dollar question.
To find Alexander in his coffin
with precious treasures around him
Oh my God.
If we If we manage to find this,
it will be the most greatest discovery
in the whole world.
[Salima] Alexander's tomb would not
really be what we think of as a tomb.
It would be far more monumental.
It would be like
a rather a large mausoleum.
[Calliope] We know by the ancient sources
that his tomb
was visible till 300 years AD.
[Lloyd] In late antiquity,
Alexandria was the site
of almost constant warfare.
It was attacked many, many times,
um, by Christian groups,
later on by Arab invaders.
The Alexandria of Alexander the Great
um, was battered and torn
and broken and decimated.
[Calliope] So, we lose the body.
We don't know if it was destroyed.
I believe that it was protected.
It was hidden.
So, that's why I hope
that the body, the sarcophagus,
still exists somewhere around here.
[Salima] There's another intriguing thing,
and that is a tunnel
with a wonderful pitched roof.
This could be part of a water system
for the city of Alexandria.
[man in Arabic] We have cleared a path
35 meters from the outside.
[Calliope] I am in the end
of our excavation work inside the tunnel,
and it was a surprise
because now we find a man-made wall.
So, I'm wondering
why they made the wall inside the tunnel
and why not use an already existing tunnel
in order to hide something valuable.
There is a precedent
for treasures being stashed away,
and, in fact, in Alexandria,
a life-sized statue of the Apis bull
was found walled up.
And so, behind this wall
that Pepi has found,
who knows what treasures lie.
[in Arabic] My wish is
to find something important
that shows where we are,
but what I wish more
is to find Alexander's tomb.
[dramatic music playing]
We have to go on.
We have to go excavating.
It's not easy,
and I hope that, in the end,
we will have
the surprise we are waiting for.
[Lloyd] I really admire Pepi's zeal
and her commitment to this project,
and I sincerely hope
that she finds what she's looking for.
But for me, you know,
Alexander has never gone away,
because we're encountering him
all the time.
We find him in legends and myths,
and he is so inspirational
to so many people too.
Alexander just grips the imagination.
He is someone who is
this shining moment of history.
And I think that he is
one of history's heroes.
- [crowd cheers]
- [dramatic music playing]
We will be fighting for Macedon,
- and our hearts will be in it!
- [soldiers roar]
[Lloyd] He was clearly
a very able soldier.
He also commanded loyalty.
[shouts] This
[calmly] is all it took.
He had a certain charisma.
He was an opportunist.
He was a young man with determination
and ambition and a charisma
to make people follow him.
[Carolyn] What he accomplishes
in his life seems impossible.
You know, it seems like
something only a hero out of,
you know, myth could do,
and yet he did it.
And at the end of the day,
we have to remind ourselves
that he was a real, living,
breathing, mortal human.
[both laughing]
[Lloyd] Alexander's story is
far from over.
In the next seven years,
we will see him
set out on a great adventure.
He will be on a quest
to authenticate his idea
of his own divinity,
but more than that,
he meets with another nemesis.
This is not a nemesis unlike Darius III,
for the nemesis that he has to encounter,
meet, and do battle with
is his own self.
It's his other Alexander.
[horse neighs]
[dramatic music playing]
[music ends]
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