In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great

PBS (ended 1998)


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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • Episode 4
      Episode 4
      Michael Wood recounts the tale of Alexander??s final days before his sudden and mysterious death at the age of 32 in Babylon. After trekking through the Khyber Pass and into the valleys of Pakistan??s North-West frontier, Michael encounters a retired Pakistani general who used to lecture about Alexander at a military college. The old soldier explains the tactics of Alexander??s decisive battle with the Indian King Porus and his war elephants, before Michael crosses into India. At this point of his journey, Alexander decided to return to Iran through the deserts along the dreaded Makran coast, where many of his soldiers died of thirst and starvation. Michael picks up on the story, hiring a train of 32 camels to retrace Alexander??s tortuous route to Babylon. There, Alexander??s ultimate dreams of conquest were thwarted when he indulged in a prolonged drinking session.moreless
    • Episode 3
      Episode 3
      Michael Wood makes his way through war-torn Afghanistan on a dramatic march with pack horses over the Hindu Kush Mountains. At Kabul, Michael finds himself in the middle of a siege of the city by the fundamentalist Taliban. Hiring horses for the camera equipment and armed guards to ward off ambushes, he sets off to follow Alexander's trail, 20,000ft up in the Hindu Kush Mountains, to make it through the Khawak Pass and Central Asia. On the other side, the historical traveler stays with a local warlord before pushing on by jeep across the Oxus river into former Soviet Central Asia. The journey finally leads to the city of Khodjent. Here, Michael hears of Alexander's increasingly unstable personality. At a drunken banquet in Samarkand, the conqueror murdered one of his closest associates, fought on through the silk route, and then captured and fell in love with the beautiful teenager Roxan.moreless
    • Episode 2
      Episode 2
      Traveling through the heart of modern-day Persia on the second leg of the trek, Michael Wood journeys to the shores of the Caspian Sea, where the young conqueror was declared Lord of Asia; poised to invade Afghanistan. Entering modern Iraq, Michael is unable to travel to the site in Northern Iraq of Alexander's decisive victory against Darius and the Persians, as it lies behind a modern military frontline. Instead he flies there and, directly above the battleground, he describes the conflict for the navigator with the help of the aircraft's computer system. After the defeat of their Persian army, the young Alexander invaded Persia itself, in hot pursuit of the fleeing Darius. Michael picks up the trail with the help of Iranian guides and continues his trek through the Zagros Mountains. At the ancient city of Susa, he hears the traditional tale-tellers recite Alexander??s story.moreless
    • Episode 1
      Episode 1
      Michael Wood begins the series as 21-year-old Alexander and his Greek army set out to invade Asia and overthrow the Persian Empire. En route, he recounts Alexander??s early years. His mother, Olympias, was intensely devoted to strange religious cults, but Aristotle, one of the great philosophers, tutored Alexander. He was 21 when he succeeded to the throne in 336 BC, following the assassination of his father. The kingdom he inherited already dominated a Greece exhausted by the war between Athens and Sparta. Shortly after becoming king, Alexander journeyed from northern Greece into Turkey where, in 334 and 333 BC, he visited Troy, disbanded his boats, marched along the sea coast and then, in a famous story, cut the Gordian Knot. At Issus, on the Syrian border, Alexander routed Persian leader Darius and then marched south through Lebanon.moreless