In the very first paragraph of the life of Alexander the great, (Plutarch, Dryden J & Clough A. H. 2004). Plutarch insists that “It must be borne in mind that my design is not to write histories, but lives” And as he takes us through Alexander’s epic life from 356 to 323 B.C., it is a journey of a conqueror not a story of a great man. Having been born on a day of three coinciding great events to the king meant that the omens were reading greatness for the young man according to Macedonian customs.
Alexander developed a passion for conquest early in life and would always say that his father, King Philip, would leave nothing for him to win once he inherits the throne. In a display of amazing ability, he tamed a gift horse that no one could ride in front of the king and the nobles after which he names him Bucephalus and goes on to ride him for the greater part of his great career. This incident earned him so much admiration that the king tearfully proclaims “O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal t and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.” Which he eventually did (Plutarch, Dryden J & Clough A. H. 2004)
He was taught by Aristotle, the greatest philosopher of his time and was a great reader of all disciples. His wisdom was displayed as a child when he entertained his father’s Persian guests while the king was away. He fought his first battle at only sixteen years of age against the Maidi people defeating and subsequently quelling the rebellion. After his father Philip was assassinated, Alexander the great became king at twenty years of age starting the eventful journey of conquest lasting eleven years that would see him rule over an empire ranging from Africa to Asia. There are very few rulers who can compare to Alexander, however from Plutarch’s work we can draw a comparison between Alexander the great and Caius Julius Caesar (100 to 44 BC) the great roman ruler.
Alexander the great and of Julius Caesar was both of noble lineage as Alexander was the son of the king Philip of thee royal Macedonian household while his mother Olympias was a noble lady (Plutarch, Dryden J & Clough A. H. 2004). Caesar was a nephew to Marius the elder and descended from the Julian clan of the Caesar family which according to (Plutarch & Du Pontet R. L 2009) traced its ancestry to the founder of the Roman Empire, Aeneas.
Both rulers had excellent learning and showed early of later greatness. Alexander was taught by Aristotle and found pleasure in reading widely while Caesar was also well educated and had excellent oratory skills. His teachers included Cicero.
While he was still very young, Alexander hosted the ambassadors from the king of Persia, in the absence of his father, and conversed with them impressing so much upon them by his cordiality, and the topics he discussed them, which were far from being juvenile. Caesar on his part was able to avoid capture on many occasions as Sylla, master of Rome wanted to capture him due to his perceived threat as a relative to Marius, Sylla’s political enemy.