Dagmar Guenther (oficial)
Arqueóloga - Artista - Cineasta

Alexander – The Making of a God


With Buck Braithwaite, Mido Hamada, Will Stevens, Dino Kelly and others, produced by Lion Television, LionTV and Tallfeather Productions, UK 2024, streamed by Netflix.

King, legend, myth

He was the greatest military leader and king the world has ever seen. With not more than 20 years, almost the whole world of that time lay at his feet. He ruled over Macedon, Greece, and the whole Persian empire. His realm extended from Macedon and Greece over today's Turkey, Syria, Israel to Egypt, from the Iraq over Iran, Afghanistan to far away India. In Egypt he was declared Pharao and worshipped as a God. He died 323 BC in Babylon - probably by malaria, even if poison murder is still discussed - and became a myth.

Unnecessary discussions in advance

Now, Netflix has produced and published a new Alexander documentary - Alexander: The Making of a God. But how good is this production? Is it worth seeing? First of all: the discussion historians, politicians and fans in Greece are leading is petty and unnecessary. At no time, there’s a focus on homosexuality. Yes, there are a few innuendos. Alexander’s sexuality is discussed from time to time in circles of experts. In ancient Greece neither bi- nor homosexuality was criticized. Unfortunately this controversy diverted from the real content of this documentary.

The life of Alexander the Great

Alexander: The Making of a God is a British production, filmed 2023, published 2024, with Buck Braithwaite as Alexander, Mido Hamada as King Darius, Will Stevens as Hephaestion and Dino Kelly as Ptolemy, and was produced by Lion Television, LionTV and Tallfeather Productions. The tv series consists of six episodes with an average duration of 39 minutes. The show’s divided in several stages: the conflict with his father, Philip II of Macedon, the accession, the campaign against Persia, and his victory over King Darius III. The documentary is narrated by a female speaker from the off, who later appears as an oracle priestess, and is accompanied by archaeologists and historians, who comment on what is shown.

The main focus of episode 1 has been the murder of King Philip II. of Macedon, and Alexander’s accession to the throne, while episode 2 deals primarily with Alexander's invasion of Asia Minor with the battles at Granicus 334 BC, and the campaigns along the west coast of today’s Turkey. The battle of Issos is main part of episode 3. The following one deals with Alexander’s invasion in Egypt, his proclamation as Pharao, and ends with his departure to the oracle of Siwa. The final two chapters content among others the battle of Gaugamela, the invasion of Babylon and the morderous of King Darius III. by his own men. It ends with a short view of an actual excavation in Alexandria and the search of Alexander’s grave.

Far away from archaeological and historical facts

Alexander: The Making of a God shows all facets of a typic popular scientific documentary: lots of half-truths, many pathos, and omits incidents, the film makers themselves consider as unimportant. Most of all protagonists have got nicknames - why? The illustration of Alexander himself, the people and world around him also deviate from historical descriptions. And saddles with stirrups didn’t exist in the 4th century BC either. Bucephalos, Alexanders loyal horse, had been probably an Akhal-Teke, but most certainly not a Friesian horse, a horse breed developed not before 13th century AD (https://friesianhorsesociety.com/friesian-history/#).

Just entertainment without added value

In summary, Alexander: The Making of a God is just an entertaining program with either more or less talented actors and actresses, a story full of pathos and uncritical infatuation for an ancient warlord, who was never a noble and kinder discoverer. Above all, Alexander was driven by revenge, but as well by craving for recognition and megalomania, and the desire of ruling the whole world. Instead of making an honest and reflective documentary, Netflix decided to produce just a superficial, bad-researched show inspired by the life of a famous ancient king.