I’m simply out of breath! I just watched for the hundredth time or so the Alexander Revisited DVD, which is much and much better than the movie that has been shown in theaters around the world. This DVD version is arranged by Oliver Stone the way he wanted it and starts off straight away with the Battle of Gaugamela. What a performance and what an achievement! I admire Oliver Stone’s eye for detail and how he uses all the information available from antiquity – a shame that most viewers don’t see this or don’t realize it.
After this passage, I stop my DVD. I have to recover from my overwhelming emotions!
In the same context, I watched a program last week about Darius where the question was being raised why he fled from the Battlefield at Gaugamela (as he did at Issus, by the way). Historians generally agree that Darius was not a coward. He is being described as a competent leader who has been victorious in many previous fights, so why did he flee when facing Alexander? Well, watching my DVD tonight, I suddenly realized I found an answer to that question. The fact is that Alexander headed straight for Darius – he was attacking him personally! This was no longer an organized battle of one army against the other, neither was it a fight of Persians against Greeks/Macedonians, it was Alexander himself who attacked the Great King Darius, the King of Kings!
Just imagine how in the middle of all that commotion and dust with so much tension in the air, you are suddenly facing a wild screaming “Barbarian”, ready to cut you into pieces! The adrenaline in Alexander’s blood must have risen to peak level by now. How many men has he slain? How much blood has been shed? The frenzy of battle must have been complete and suddenly out that deafening roar of war appears a most striking figure with waving plumes on his helmet, looking at you with piercing eyes that you can feel before seeing them. There comes Alexander in person, charging at you, the King! That should be enough for any man to flee head over heals, wouldn’t it?
I am so excited by what is happening there and by my own unexpected conclusions that I have to take a break in watching the movie. I’ll have another look tomorrow or so. What a grand pitched battle! Isn’t this a splendid reenactment? And then there is the music that supports this battle and carries it to a climax, it keeps on resonating in my head! I have to catch my breath and come back to my senses before returning to Alexander![photographs from the movie Alexander]