Episode 1: Son of God
In the footsteps of Alexander the Great In this award winning adventure Micheal Wood embarks on a 2000 mile journey in the foot steps of Alexander’s triumphal march from Greece to India. Traveling with Lebanese traders, Iranian pilgrims and Afghan guerrillas, by jeep, train, boat, camel and on foot, he interweaves the momentous events of the past with present day reality and brings us new insights into a man whose myth and achievements still resonate down the centuries.
He was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks. Following the unification of the multiple city-states of ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon (a labour Alexander had to repeat because the southern Greeks rebelled after Philip’s death), Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as the borders of Punjab.
Before his death, Alexander had already made plans to also turn west and conquer Europe. He also wanted to continue his march eastwards in order to find the end of the world, since his boyhood tutor Aristotle had told him tales about where the land ends and the Great Outer Sea begins. Alexander integrated foreigners into his army, leading some scholars to credit him with a “policy of fusion.” He encouraged marriage between his army and foreigners, and practiced it himself. After twelve years of constant military campaigning, Alexander died, possibly of malaria, West Nile virus, typhoid, viral encephalitis or the consequences of heavy drinking.