Aforismi, Altre Arti

Quotes: Oliver Stone – “Alexander: Revisited – The Final Cut” (2007)

Our world is gone now. I’m the last left alive. Whether that’s a blessing or a curse who by Hades would know. But I’ve paid my price in blood. And in broken dreams. They say we were the greatest fighting force ever known to man. Greater even than the expedition to Troy. But how can I say it? How can I tell you what it is like to be young and to dream big dreams? To believe when Alexander looked you in the eye, you could do anything. Anything. In his presence, by the light of Apollo, we were better than ourselves. Truly, I’ve known many great men in my life but only one colossus. And only now, when old do I understand who this force of nature really was. Or do I? Did such a man as Alexander exist? Of course not. We idolize him, make him better than he was. Men, all men, reach and fall, reach and fall. In the East, the vast Persian Empire ruled almost all the known world. In the West, the once great Greek city-states Thebes, Athens, Sparta, had fallen from pride. For 100 years now, the Persian kings had bribed the Greeks with their gold to fight as mercenaries. It was Philip, the one-eyed, who changed all this uniting tribes of illiterate sheepherders from the high and lowlands. With his blood and guts, he built a professional army that brought the devious Greeks to their knees. He then turned his eye on Persia where it was said the Great King Darius himself on his throne in Babylon, feared Philip. Philip was murdered much to Persia’s delight and perhaps sponsored by their gold. And Alexander, at twenty, became the new ruler of Macedonia. Announcing revenge for the death of Philip Alexander liberated all of the cities of western Asia south to Egypt where he was declared Pharaoh of Egypt and worshipped as a god. And finally, he provoked the rise to battle in the heart of the Persian Empire, near Babylon. –Ptolemy

It was mad. Forty thousand of us against hundreds of thousands of barbarian races unknown to us gathered under Darius himself. East and west had now come together to decide the fate of the known world. It was the day Alexander had waited for all his life. Son of a god. It was a myth, of course. At least it started as a myth. I know. I was there. –VFC Ptolemy

  • I didn’t cross Asia to steal this victory, Cassander. –Alexander
  • Your father taught you never to surrender your reason to your passion. Now I urge you with all my experience, regroup. Fall back to the coast, raise a larger force. –Parmenion
  • I would, if I were Parmenion. But I am Alexander. And no more than Earth has two suns will Asia bear two kings. These are my terms. And if Darius isn’t a coward who hides behind his men then he’ll come to me tomorrow. And when he bows down to Greece Alexander will be merciful. –Alexander

I’ve come to believe the fear of death drives all men, Hephaistion. And this we didn’t learn as schoolboys. It is the cause of all of our misfortunes. –Alexander

You’ve all honored your country and your ancestors. And now we come to this most distant place in Asia where across from us, Darius has at last gathered a vast army. But ask yourselves., who is this great king who pays assassins in gold coins to murder my father, our king in a most despicable and cowardly manner? Who is this great king, Darius, who enslaves his own men to fight? Who is this king but a king of air? These men do not fight for their homes. They fight because this king tells them they must. And when they fight, they will melt away like the air, because they know no loyalty to a king of slaves. But we are not here today as slaves. We are here today as Macedonian freemen! And though outnumbered, I say to you who know the price of tyranny who’ve carried the Persian yoke too long, you have a strength born of your hearts and all their arms, their numbers, their chariots and all their fine horses will mean nothing in the hands of slaves. Some of you, perhaps myself, will not live to see the sun set over these mountains today. For I will be in the very thick of battle with you. But remember this: The greatest honor a man can ever achieve is to live with great courage and to die with his countrymen in battle for his home. I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time. Conquer your fear and I promise you, you will conquer death. And someday I vow to you, your sons and your grandsons will look into your eyes. And when they ask why you fought so bravely at Gaugamela you will answer, with all the strength of your great, great hearts: “I was here this day at Gaugamela, for the freedom and glory of Greece!” Zeus be with us! –Alexander

The Persian Empire, the greatest the world had yet known was destroyed. And Alexander, at 25, was now king of all. –VFC Ptolemy

They [snakes] are like people. You can love them for years. Feed them, nurture them but still, they can turn on you. –Olympias

Some called his mother, Queen Olympias, a sorceress and said that Alexander was the child of Zeus. Others, Dionysus. But truly, there was not a man in Macedonia who didn’t look at father and son, side by side, and wonder. –VFC Ptolemy

In the world he grew up to I’ve come to believe it was in friendship that Alexander found his sanity. –VFC Ptolemy

You don’t need much to fight. When you’re in the front ranks of a battle, facing some Northern barbarian tribe, courage won’t be in the soles of your feet, Perdiccas. Or in the thickness of your tunic, Philotas. Or in the lining of your stomach, Nearchus. It’s in the heart of a man. You don’t need to eat every day or until you’re full, Ptolemy. You don’t need to lie in bed in a morning when you can have some good bean soup, Cassander, after a forced night march. Come on, Alexander. Where’s your hunger to twist Hephaistion’s head off? Is he stronger than you? Then beat him another way. Who will respect you as a king? You think because of your father? The first rule of war is to do what you ask your men to do. No more, no less. –Leonidas

It was said later that Alexander was never defeated except by Hephaistion’s thighs. –VFC Ptolemy

Excess in all things is the undoing of men. –Aristotle

When men lie together in lust, it is a surrender to the passions and does nothing for the excellence in us. Nor does any other excess, Cassander, jealousy among them. But when men lie together, and knowledge and virtue are passed between them that is pure and excellent. When they compete to bring out the good, the best in each other, this is the love between men that can build a city-state and lift us from our frog pond. –Aristotle

  • But if we are superior to the Persians, as you say, why do we not rule them? It is… lt has always been our Greek dream to go east. My father long wants it. –Alexander
  • The East has a way of swallowing men and their dreams. –Aristotle

I can only warn you, not teach you. Beware of what you dream for. The gods have a way of punishing such pride. –Aristotle

You ride that horse and by Zeus I say, you can rule the world. –Philip

It’s never easy to escape our mothers, Alexander. All your life, beware of women. They’re far more dangerous than men. –Philip

He could have a long life, but there would be no glory. –Alexander

There’s no glory without suffering, and this she will not allow. She makes you weak. The gods have never made it easy for man. –Philip

All greatness comes from loss. Even you, the gods will one day judge harshly. –Philip

A king isn’t born, Alexander. He’s made by steel and by suffering. A king must know how to hurt those he loves. It’s lonely. Ask Herakles. Ask any of them. Fate is cruel. No man or woman can be too powerful or too beautiful without disaster befalling. They laugh when you rise too high and crush everything you’ve built with a whim. What glory they give, in the end, they take away. They make of us slaves. Truth is in our hearts, and none will tell you this but your father. Men hate the gods. The only reason we worship any of them is because we fear worse. –Philip

Alexander once said to me: “We are most alone when we are with the myths.” And thus, it came to pass in a dream as mythical to all Greeks as Achilles defeating the Trojans. At this one glorious moment in time, Alexander was loved by all. But in the end, I believe Babylon was a far easier mistress to enter than she was to leave. –VFC Ptolemy

Have you so quickly forgotten? Fortune favors the bold. –Alexander

Aristotle was perhaps prescient. Do these images fool us with their beauty and degrade our souls? –Alexander

You are not wrong, Princess Stateira. He, too, is Alexander. –Alexander

But beware, most of all, of those closest to you. They are like snakes and can be turned. Cassander is Antipater’s son. Even Cleitus, your father’s favorite and Ptolemy, your friend, yes. But beware of men who think too much. They blind themselves. Only Hephaistion do I leave out. But all of them you make rich, while your mother and yourself, you leave in generous рoverty. Why won’t you ever believe me? It is only a dark mind like mine that can know these secrets of the heart. For they are dark, Alexander. So dark. But in you, the son of Zeus, lies the light of the world. Your companions will be shadows in the underworld when you are a name living forever in history as the most glorious, shining light of youth, forever young, forever inspiring. Never will there be an Alexander like you. Alexander the Great. –Olympias in the letter to Alexander

It’s a high ransom she charges for nine months’ lodging in the womb. –Alexander

  • We all suffer. Your father, mine. They all came to the end of their time. And in the end, when it’s over, all that matters is what you’ve done. –Alexander
  • You once said: “The fear of death drives all men.” Are there no other forces? Is there not love in your life, Alexander? What would you do if you ever reached the end of the world? –Hephaistion
  • I’d turn back and conquer its opposite. –Alexander

l’m so jealous of losing you to this world you want so badly. –Hephaistion

For Alexander, there could be no pretender to the throne of Asia which now included all of Sogdia and Bactria. It was here that he made one of his most mysterious decisions. Ten years after his mother’s insistence he marry a Macedonian, the most рowerful man in the world took a girl of no political significance. Why? Some say it was for alliance with the tribes. Others, the desire for a successor. And yet others said Alexander truly fell in love. Who Roxane really was I doubt that any of us ever saw further than the pools of those black eyes. –VFC Ptolemy

  • He [Philip] never lusted for war, Alexander, or enjoyed it so. He consulted his peers in council, among equals, the Macedonian way. He didn’t decide based on his personal desires. –Parmenion
  • I’ve taken us further than my father ever dreamed. Old man, we’re in new worlds. –Alexander

By Zeus and all the gods, what makes you so much better than them, Cassander? Better than you really are. In you and those like you is this. What disturbs me most is not your lack of respect for my judgment. It’s your contempt for a world far older than ours. –Alexander

In the ways of my country those who love too much lose everything and those who love with irony last. –Mazaeus

I found it in Egypt. The man who sold it said it came from a time when man worshipped sun and stars. I’ll always think of you as the sun, Alexander. And I pray your dream will shine on all men. –Hephaistion

There are many different ways to love, Roxane. –Alexander

You must never confuse your feelings with your duties, Alexander. A king must make public gestures for the common people. –Olympias

Hephaistion loves me, as I am, not who. –Alexander

  • I wonder… did you ever love him? –Alexander
  • What? I never stopped. –Olympias

His soldiers accepted the finding of guilt against Parmenion as they understood well the code of vengeance that made the head of family responsible for the behavior of all. –VFC Ptolemy

  • Come, Alexander, drink this sadness away. –Ptolemy
  • If only thirst could quench sorrow, Ptolemy. –Alexander

This is the man who is going to take you from Greece to Persia? He can’t even make it from one couch to the next. –Alexander

  • Women bring men home. I have no such feeling. –Alexander
  • You have Babylon, Alexander. Where your mother awaits your invitation. –Ptolemy
  • Yes, I have Babylon. But each land, each boundary I cross, I strip away another illusion. I sense death will be the last. Yet still I push harder and harder to reach this home. –Alexander

Self-control is a lover I’ve known too long, Ptolemy. The struggle worries me to the bone. And success I find to be as corrupt as failure. But Dionysus, bless his ancient soul frees me from myself. And then, I move up. I am simply Alexander.

Let me rot in Macedonian rags rather than shine in Eastern pomp. –Cleitus

This army…. This army is your blood, boy! Without it, you’re nothing! –Cleitus

  • Sometimes, to expect the best of everyone is arrogance. –Hephaistion
  • Then Cleitus spoke true. I have become a tyrant. –Alexander
  • No. But perhaps a stranger. You’ve gone too far. They don’t understand you anymore. –Hephaistion

Have courage, Father. And go on your way rejoicing that at each step you may recall your valor. –Alexander

But you know there’s no part of me without a scar or a bone broken. By sword, knife, stone, catapult and club. I’ve shared every hardship with all of you. –Alexander

Yes. You’re right, Crateros. I have been negligent. I should’ve sent you veterans home sooner, and I will. The first of you shall be the Silver Shields. Then every man who’s served seven years. With full pensions from our treasury. And respected, rich, loved. You’ll be treated by your wives and children as heroes for the rest of your lives and enjoy a peaceful death. But you dream, Crateros. Your simplicity long ended when you took Persian mistresses and children and you thickened your holdings with plunder and jewels. Because you’ve fallen in love with all the things in life that destroy men. Do you not see? And you, as well as I, know that as the years decline and the memories stale and all your great victories fade it will always be remembered, you left your king in Asia! For I will go on, with my Asians. I paid for your bastard children. I’ve taken nothing for myself. And all l’ve asked of you is one more month. I’ve taken you further than my father ever dreamed. So go home. I look to the barbarians for their courage. I go east. –Alexander

I confess a disaрpointment. Esрecially on these reports of your taking on Eastern ways. Beware how these manners inflame the senses with pride. However, I have lived long enough now to question when so many others invest such emotion in their disrespect for you. I can only hope that you continue what you began as the boy I knew at 12. Be that man always, Alexander, and you will not slip. And perhaps you will prove this old materialist, as you always thought me: A dreamer after all. –Aristotle in the letter to Alexander

Isn’t it a lovely thing to live with great courage and to die leaving an everlasting fame? –Alexander

  • Slander is not power. –Olympias
  • Shame is? –Alexander

Stop it. Stop acting like a boy. You’re a king. Act like one. –Olympias

What have I done to make you hate me so? One day, you will understand this. But I have only you in my heart. I know what you need. Now is the time. The gods favor you. Great wealth, power, conquest. All you desire. The world is yours! Take it. Take it. –Olympias

May all those who come here after us know, when they see this altar that Titans were once here. –Alexander

  • I worry for you without me. –Hephaistion
  • I am nothing without you. Come, fight, Hephaistion. We will die together. We’ll have children with our wives, and our sons will play together as we once did. A thousand ships we’ll launch from here, Hephaistion. We’ll round Arabia and sail up the gulf to Egypt. From there, we’ll build a channel through the desert and out to the Middle Sea. And then we’ll move on Carthage. And that great island, Sicily, they’ll pay large tribute. After that, the Roman tribe, good fighters. We’ll beat them. And then explore the northern forests and out the Pillars of Herakles to the western ocean. And then one day, populations will mix and travel freely. Asia and Europe will come together. And we’ll grow old, Hephaistion looking out our balcony at this new world. –Alexander

Happy? What is happy? While in your mind and body are stretched to breaking you have no thought beyond the next. And you look back then and there it was, happiness. In the doing, never the thinking. –Alexander

All that matters is what you’ve done. –VFC Alexander

On the 10th of June, a month short of his 33rd year, Alexander’s great heart finally gave out. And as he vowed, he joined Heрhaistion. But in his short life, he achieved, without doubt the mythic glory of his ancestor Achilles and more. Olympias’ transgression in the murder of his father is, to my mind, a probability. His, a burden. Alexander was too in love with glory for him to steal it. But by blood, and blood alone, he was guilty. Within hours we were fighting like jackals for his corpse. The wars of the world had begun. Forty years, off and on, they endured. Cassander in Greece. Crateros and Antigonus in western Asia. Solucas and Perdiccas in the East. Myself in Egyрt. Until we divided his emрire in four рarts. I think Alexander would have been disapрointed in us. Naturally, rumors grew he’d been poisoned by one faction of his generals or another, but the truth in these matters has long since been driven from currency. Cassander saw to that with his fake diaries painting Alexander as a sick and bloated drunk. Many believed, to remove suspicion from himself. He certainly proved he had the temperament for politics and murder when seven years later, he executed Olympias. Met her death with great courage. Five years– No, it was six years after that Cassander finally achieved the complete destruction of Alexander’s bloodline when he poisoned Roxane and Alexander’s 13-year-old son, the true heir to the empire. But Roxane too, like Olympias played by stern rules, supported by several generals. Days after Alexander’s death, she had Stateira poisoned. It was reason enough for some to believe she was the one behind Hephaistion’s sudden demise. But this is unproven in my mind. Bagoas disappeared from the histories entirely a wise move, perhaps. But I will say his love and devotion for Alexander were unquestionable and extraordinary. Now I am the keeper of his body embalmed here in the Egyptian ways. I followed him as Pharaoh, and have now ruled 40 years. I have two sons, each jealous of the other’s power. But they will grow to make fine fathers and husbands. And I trust they’ll be just in their affairs. But they have never seen the great cavalry charge of Gaugamela, or the mountains of the Hindu Kush when we crossed a hundred-thousand-man army into lndia. He was a god, Cadmos, or as close as anything I’ve ever known. “Tyrant!” they yell so easily. I laugh. No tyrant ever gave back so much. What do they know of the world, these schoolboys? It takes strong men to rule. Alexander was more, he was a Prometheus, a friend to man. He changed the world. Before him, there were tribes and after him, all was possible. There was suddenly a sense the world could be ruled by one king and be better for all. Eighteen great Alexandrias he built across this world. It was an empire, not of land and gold, but of the mind. It was a Hellenic civilization open to all. But the truth is never simple and yet it is. The truth is, we did kill him. By silence, we consented. Because– Because we couldn’t go on. What, by Ares, did we look forward to but to be discarded in the end, like Cleitus? After all this time, to give away our wealth to Asian sycophants we despised? Mixing the races, harmony? Oh, he talked of these things, but wasn’t it really about Alexander and another population ready to obey him? I never believed in his dream. None of us did. That’s the truth of his life. The dreamers exhaust us. They must die before they kill us with their blasted dreams. Oh, just throw all that away, Cadmos. It’s an old fool’s rubbish. You shall write, “He died of fever and a weakened condition.” Oh, he could have stayed home in Macedonia, married, raised a family. He’d have died a celebrated man. But this was not Alexander. All his life, he fought to free himself from fear. And by this, and this alone, he was made free. The freest man l’ve ever known. His tragedy was one of increasing loneliness and impatience with those who could not understand. And if his desire to reconcile Greek and barbarian ended in failure. What failure! His failure towered over other men’s successes. I’ve lived– I’ve lived long life, Cadmos, but the glory and the memory of man will always belong to the ones who follow their great visions. And the greatest of these is the one they now call Megas Alexandros. The greatest of them all. –VFC Ptolemy

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