Maneck Bhujwalla writes:
I saw the TV documentary "In the Footsteps of Alexander ..." by Michael Wood, that was shown on public TV stations earlier this week. Here are my comments on what I learned from the documentary:
* Since childhood Alexander had nursed a feeling of bitterness and revenge against Persia for its defeat of Greek cities in earlier wars.
* Alexander had a psychological complex with respect to his father, King Phillip, and he wanted to prove himself to be a greater king than his father.
* Alexander's faith in the Greek gods whose messages he received through various oracles at different temple sites, gave him the sense of destiny that he was to be a world conqueror.
* Alexander was unpredictable in behavior, obstinate, and very lucky. Whereas he mostly massacred and tortured and destroyed his defeated enemies, occasionally like in the case of King Porus in India, he forgave and did not kill.
* Alexander proved himself to be a tyrant, by his various large scale massacres - 2,000 (Greek?) people crucified in Tyre, whole population on mountain top in Central Asia massacred even after they surrendered, all the Greek men, women, and children of a small town in Central Asia massacred when he found out that they belonged to the Greek people who had not supported him in Greece even though these people welcomed him, all the people of several towns in India massacred.
* Alexander was corrupted by the absolute power he gained through his conquests, and in denying his parenthood from King Phillip with whom he had conflict, he claimed that an oracle told him that he was the son of God.
* When his close friend tried to discourage his claims to be a God, and his dictatorial attitude that ran counter to democratic ideals of their Greek culture, and reminded him that his father was a greater ruler than him, Alexander kills his friend who had once saved his life. This shows his lack of loyalty, friendship, and brutality. Even the Greek historian has a hard time trying to defend this action.
* In the documentary, Michael Wood acknowledges that contrary to the misconception that the Persians were pagans, the inscriptions showed that the Persian kings worshipped Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom, and the Persian people believed in righteousness, honesty, and other ethical values.
* The people of many countries conquered and destroyed by Alexander, called Alexander as the devil, or the devil's creation, or Alexander the Accursed, not just Persians or Zoroastrians.
* In spite of Alexander's destruction of Persepolis and Zoroastrian religious books, etc., he did not succeed in permanently destroying the culture, tradition, or religion. The Parthians (from northeast Iran) overthrew the Greek rulers and later the Sassanian kings regained the original territory of the Persian empire of the Achaemanid kings.
* The original sacred fire in front of which Kind Darius (who was defeated by Alexander) prayed to God, was kept burning through the millenia, as claimed by the small Zoroastrian community that was interviewed by Michael Wood in Iran.
* And, the most important religious scriptures were saved because they were preserved by priests from generation to generation due to their practice of reciting them from memory. And even many of the lesser important scriptures were re-assembled during the Sassanian rule.
* If Alexander had not defeated the Persian king, Darius in the first battle at Sisson, it is likely that the countries that were victimized by his conquests in the Middle East and Asia, would not have suffered such destruction, killings, slavery, etc.
* If Alexander had not looted the treasury of Iran (which had more gold than all the gold at Fort Knox, in the United States), he would not have had the money to continue his military campaign further in Central Asia and India.
* Alexander's life of excess in wars, drinking, etc., finally caught up with him, and instead of living forever like a son of God, he dies a lone tyrant's death, without a true friend, at a very early age.
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