As Michael Wood stood on the bridge over the river at Issus, his view was obstructed by power lines and superhighways. It was hard to imagine the intensity of that now-famous battle in such ordinary surroundings. When the two armies met here in November 333 B.C., Alexander and his army were on a mission of revenge. The atrocities of the Persian invasion of Greece 150 years earlier were fresh in their minds and they were determined to exact retribution. While Issus has changed greatly since that day, at the ancient town of Gordion the mood of Alexander's time was almost palpable. The town takes its name from the Macedonian Gordius, who was believed to have settled here, arriving in a wooden cart. As thanks for a journey well-ended, Gordius left his cart at the temple of Zeus. The ordinary cart had an intricate leather knot and pin holding the yoke to its shaft. Local legend had it that the person who could unravel this knot would rule all of Asia. Whether Alexander patiently worked the knot out, or hacked it apart with his sword, we do not know. But the knot was undone and the legend fulfilled. A thunder storm at Alexander's encampment that night confirmed this. Zeus approved.
click here to see where to watch or .
Ready to Watch In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, Season 1, Episode 1?