Thursday, September 30, 2010

A touch of Alexander in the night

Critics all but universally denounced Oliver Stone's 2004 "Alexander" movie. I must admit that the film was pretty strange in places, but it certainly sparked my own imagination and phantasy-life.

One scene I particularly enjoyed was Alexander, on campaign somewhere in Asia, sits down to his daily papyrus review, while the camera hovers over his shoulder.

The employment of Greeklish seems a bit odd, but I find this little touch of ancient literacy very appealing, and not out of keeping with Alexander's obviously formidable intellect, nourished in his youth by Aristotle personally.

Plutarch's Alexander biography has a marvelous scene where Hephaestion and Alexander, alone in their tent at night, are at work going over the daily correspondence. Hephaestion deletes the spam and passes the important mails on for Alexander to deliberate. A. unrolls a papyrus from his Mom, takes off his ring and blows upon it, an indication to H. that her words are to be classified top secret.

Scholars continue to debate about whatever romantic or sexual interests may have existed between the two of them, but for me this little story from Plutarch sums up their whole relationship. After all, how many husbands or wives or partners do you know who would want to examine their mate's emails every day, or who share the same userid or passwords? 



  1. Don't forget the times that Alexander referred to Hephaestion as his Patrocles, which was seen as a love relationship by the Ancient Greeks (maybe the Romans too ? ). They sacrificed together at Troy which reinforced his view that the two of them were linked by love - Eros, not Agape.

  2. I love Oliver Stone's Alexander... if only for Angelina Jolie and what's her name Rosario Dawson! Good for him for giving those two such iconic parts!