Tuesday, 23 September 2008

‘We Greeks are the chosen, the elect’

'We Greeks are the chosen, the elect. Our culture is the best, our civilisation the best, our men the best. All others are barbarians; and it is our moral duty to conquer them, enslave them and, if necessary, destroy them… The Persian way of life has the seed of death and fear in it; the Greek of life and courage' (Aristotle: Alexander the Great).

Here's a clip from Robert Rossen's 1956 film Alexander the Great, in which Alexander's tutor Aristotle explains to the Macedonian prince the nature of Hellenism and its destiny to subjugate the east and all it represents.

In Rossen's film, Alexander is played by Richard Burton in an unconvincing blond wig. The film has its limitations, but aspires to seriousness and is certainly a lot better than most of the other 'sword and sandal' Hollywood epics of the time and surpasses in every way Oliver Stone's disastrous Alexander (2004).

(The best 'sword and sandal' Hollywood epic is probably Anthony Mann's The Fall of the Roman Empire, made in 1964).

This clip is a response to the video doing the rounds at the moment taken from a quiz programme on an obscure British TV station in which the answer to the question ‘What nationality [sic] was Alexander the Great?’ is given as Skopjan.

Fyromians have taken this silly quiz question error as great proof of their claims that Alexander was Bulgarian like them. What a pity that we Greeks – ‘the chosen, the elect’, as Aristotle says in Rossen's film – have been reduced to debating morons and rebutting TV quiz question nonsense.

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