Michael Wood - In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: A Journey
from Greece to Asia
Michael Wood is yet another western writer who erroneously labels Alexander and his Macedonians as "Greek" in his book. His book is also filled with other historical distortions as well. What follows is a criticism of his film and book, which appeared in Archeology May/June 1998 issue:
"Despite Michael Wood's enormous effort, modern politics prevented him from realizing his goal. There is ambiguity about the distinction between Greek and Macedonian, terms that Wood uses indiscriminately even though ancient sources are clear to distinguish between the Greeks and the Macedonians in Alexander’s entourage. As time went on, most Greeks were dropped, and the expedition became solely a Macedonian operation."
"As is often the practice with these productions, a book has been issued to accompany the film. Written by Wood and published by the BBC and the University of California Press, it lacks the grace of the television production, and its intended audience is not clear It is not very interesting as a piece of travel literature until it gets to north Afghanistan, where, coincidentally, the film comes alive. Most people will find it an uneven and occasionally inaccurate account of Alexander's career. Some lapses in historical accuracy, while perhaps acceptable in the film where they do not diminish the visual impact, have no place on a printed page. At one point the date of tie deaths of Alexander's wife Roxanne and son Alexander IV is given as 314 BC, at another 313 (the correct date is 311/310). There is a slightly garbled account of Alexander’s plans, which, according to the first-century B C writer Diodorus Siculus, did not include the conquest of Arabia, as Wood alleges."
"As in the film, there is confusion between Greeks and Macedonians. During the earlier part of Alexander’s campaign, the army contained important contingents of Greek allies and mercenaries, but in time most of these were replaced Macedonian and Asian troops. It is simply incorrect to call Alexander’s army Greek. In one place Wood refers to the army’s "Greek high command," though there were only a handful of important Greek commanders and a few pages later it is the "Macedonian high command" that draws our attention." (Alexander's Epic March, Archeology, May/June 1998)
It is a historical distortion to call Alexander and his Macedonian army "Greek". The complete work of this English "historian" is distortion, starting with the very title for Alexander's journey did not start in Greece, but in Macedonia. Every ancient historian is clear of that.
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