Macedonian Criticism of Oliver Stone’s film Alexander (Letter Sent to Movie Critics – November 2004)
1) Where are the Historical Errors in the film?
Stone has Collin Farell (the actor playing Alexander) saying to the Macedonians before the battle of Gaugamela against the Persians that they are fighting for “the glory of Greece.” Ancient sources do not write that Alexander fought for the “glory of Greece” but for that of Macedonia. Three ancient historians detailed Alexander’s address to the army before the battle. And each one of them made a clear distinction between Macedonians, Greeks, Illyrians, and Thracians, as four separate ethnicities that composed Alexander’s army. Here are the words of the Roman historian Curtius Rufus: “Riding to the front line he (Alexander the Great) named the soldiers and they responded from pot to spot where they were lined up. The Macedonians, who had won so many battles in Europe and set off to invade Asia … got encouragement from him – he reminded them of their permanent values. They were the world’s liberators and one day they would pass the frontiers set by Hercules and Father Liber. They would subdue all races on Earth. Bactria and India would become Macedonian provinces. Getting closer to the Greeks, he reminded them that those were the people (the Persians on the other side) who provoked war with Greece, … those were the people that burned their temples and cities … As the Illyrians and Thracians lived mainly from plunder, he told them to look at the enemy line glittering in gold” (Curt.3.10.4-10)
Notice what Alexander told the Macedonians – “Bactria and India would become Macedonian provinces”. It is for the glory of Macedonia, not for the glory of Greece. The Greeks, are here a second nation of importance to Alexander. Throughout Oliver Stone’s film there is confusion whether the Macedonians were distinct people or just another Greeks. Ironically the original Synopsis of the film makes the clear distinction between Macedonians and Greeks. There we read: “Alexander led his virtually invincible Greek and Macedonian armies through 22,000 miles…His extraordinary journey begins when Alexander launches his invasion from Macedonia…” Yet although in the Synopsis the Macedonians are separate from the Greeks, and they left from Macedonia and not from Greece, Stone has them fighting for the “glory of Greece”?! The error is obvious. Continue Reading