Streaming giant Netflix has released a thought-provoking new documentary series delving into the life of ancient Macedonian king Alexander the Great. The show, titled ‘Alexander the Great: The Making of a God,’ has garnered attention for its exploration of the possible romantic relationship between Alexander and his general, Hephaestion. The first episode, ‘The Boy King,’ features dramatic reenactments of their deep bond – played by Buck Braithwaite and Will Stevens – suggesting they may have been more than just close friends.
Although concrete evidence is lacking, scholars and historians have long debated whether Alexander and Hephaestion were romantically involved. Dr. Salima Ikram, a respected professor at the American University of Cairo, suggests in the series that Hephaestion may have been Alexander’s greatest love. It is important to note that same-sex relationships between men were not uncommon during Alexander’s time, as acknowledged by both the show and historical sources.
Renowned historian Robin Lane Fox, a member of Britain’s Royal Society of Literature, has also expressed the belief that Alexander and Hephaestion were more than friends. Fox served as a historical advisor on the 2004 film ‘Alexander,’ directed by Oliver Stone, which portrayed their relationship. In his award-winning non-fiction book, ‘Alexander the Great,’ Fox writes on page 56, ‘Hephaistion was the man whom Alexander loved, and for the rest of their lives, their relationship remained as intimate as it is now irrecoverable: Alexander was only defeated once, the Cynic philosophers said long after his death, and that was by Hephaistion’s thighs.’
One of the primary ancient texts shedding light on their bond is Quintus Curtius Rufus’ ‘History of Alexander the Great.’ Written about four centuries after Alexander’s death, Curtius describes Hephaestion as the dearest of the king’s friends, someone who had been by his side since childhood and shared all his secrets. Hephaestion’s candid advice to Alexander was highly valued and esteemed by the king himself.
While the true nature of Alexander and Hephaestion’s relationship may forever remain a mystery, the Netflix series offers intriguing insights into their personal and professional connection, leaving viewers to ponder the depths of their bond.
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