Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Porus vs. Alexander, the Indian Way

There have been serious discussions on Facebook and other media about the new Porus TV serial presenting history from the Indian point of view. This is a far cry from our Western view of Alexander’s campaign in that part of the world and most probably will come as a shock to us. Besides, a TV series of 260 episodes is far beyond our pace and concept of things.

But then, it may be worth watching at least some of these episodes which are set in grand Bollywood style as after all they may not be too far away from what Alexander found when he arrived in India and met Porus and the other opulent rulers in India. If this kind of pomp and opulence may seem exaggerated to our eyes, just imagine the effect it had on Alexander. It is so much beyond our vision of the world, even today and we easily tend to forget the impact this must have had on Alexander and his Macedonians. It is something to think about when watching this series. The teaser is an excellent introduction to the feel of the setting:

 

It is obvious that the Indian producers are not following Greek historians literally but the main story line of Alexander winning the Battle of the Hydaspes over Porus is respected. Also, Philip and Olympias are easily recognizable and the Macedonian part – as opposed to India's flamboyant colours and opulent glitter - is tuned down to single coloured clothes and set in classical decors. The actor playing the role of Alexander has been chosen with light eyes and his hair has been discoloured to match the picture we generally have of the Macedonian King (although his body language is not).

Little of Porus exploits have been recorded in Indian history, meaning that there is little information to go by. As a result, the Indian film producers let their imagination flow freely and did not shy away from creating a pretty extravagant setting in which they feel very comfortable, no doubt. The Alexander part, on the other hand, is following a pretty faithful storyline.

So let’s brush aside our prejudices and look at history from a different angle altogether. This is the first episode:

 

All following episodes can be watched on this link of Sony Liv.

4 comments:

  1. Alexander's helmet is rubber.
    The cheeks guards move when he speak.

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  2. Posted on behalf of Kalpana Ghimire
    Thanks Argyraspid for your article on the Porus Indian TV serial. It is true that there have been many comments on the Facebook forums with some disparaging it (‘colossus in the harbour, Minoan frescoes, temple of Zeus burnt instead of Artemis, Roman shields’) and others pleasantly surprised (‘Alexander and Hephaestion playing kottabos!’). The producers are of course not strictly following historical lines, the production being a historical fiction rather than a historical documentary. It is produced for the Indian audience, as such the body language, the facial expressions, the acting would, of course, will be unfamiliar to the non-Indian viewers. (No, neither is Alexander is talking English with a slight Irish accent here :-) I wonder how surprised would be Alexander himself if he could view the Oliver Stone or the Richard Burton movies). Also, the budget, even if it is substantial for India is peanuts for such a vast production. The major shooting site is Thailand since shooting in Pakistan would be impossible for an Indian production.
    You are right that the Alexander part is following a pretty faithful storyline. Thankfully they have not denigrated and insulted the Greeks and the Macedonians unlike the Hollywood producers of ‘300’ or ‘Indian Jones and the temple of doom’ which were such an insult to the Persians and the Indians.
    Thank you for the link, I do not plan to watch all the 260 episodes but am looking forward to see how Alexander’s Indian expedition scenes will be presented.
    Indians, since historical times, have loved extravagance. But would Alexander and his Macedonians be that surprised ? Maybe yes, maybe not. They would have certainly be acquainted with Hekataios and Herodotus phantasmagoric descriptions of India and the Indians and expected exotism. Alexander must have had reports of Indian extravagance. Didn’t Alexander re-equip his elite hypaspist corps in silver plated shields to outshine the Indians ? I would say that the Macedonians who were familiar only with the dry climates (Greece, Egypt, Persia, Bactria )were neither prepared to such a varied topography and climatic subtypes, ranging from arid deserts to glaciers in the north and finally to humid tropical nor to such fierce Indian resistance. They were more than surprised, they were overcome enough to revolt and go back.
    With all that is happening in the territories he had conquered and given that today we are facing similar inter-cultural, geo-political and globalization issues to those he also dealt with, Alexander’s saga are very much relevant today. His exploits are too vast and multi-faceted for a movie. Miniseries would be an excellent format to narrate Alexander’s chronicles. Then why are not the big Western miniseries producers like Netflix or BBC or HBO or Starz or his own countrymen the Greeks producing Alexander’s story? The first ever Alexander movie from 1941 was Indian. Why it is that a major Alexander related miniseries is Indian too ?

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    Replies
    1. Good question, “why are not Alexander’s own countrymen producing an Alexander story?”. We are flooded with endless critics and arguments about Alexander being Macedonian or Greek, about the character and the historical setting of Alexander in the movies but none of his countrymen has so far taken charge by producing a movie that would meet their idea of truth. It is much easier to criticize, isn’t it?
      A miniseries about Alexander sounds like a great idea. It would allow to highlight many more angles of Alexander’s life and conquests although I fear that even in that format only a fraction of his vast and multi-faced exploits (to use your words) could be treated.
      Alexander has left us the myth of his personality and conquests which historians, sculptors, painters and poets over the centuries have tried to capture. They all have their merits but none of them has managed to produce an authentic portrait and nobody ever will because each one of us has his own idea of who Alexander was and what he looked like. No movie can recreate his genius simply because we will always fall short.
      Thank you, dear Kalpana, for your input and point of view about Alexander and his Macedonians arriving in India. It’s something to think about.

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