Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Genghis Khan
This paper will explore the lives of three of the most well known
rulers in human history, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and
Genghis Khan. This will first consist of an examination of the
personalities and gifts of each of these rulers. Details of the course
and extent of the conquests and achievements of each individual will
follow this. The lasting contributions made by these three men will
then be noted. The first ruler under consideration is Alexander the
Great. He was the son of Philip II , King of Macedonia, and his wife
Olympia, in the year 356 B.C. (^Alexander^). He was a student of
Aristotle, and gained interests in the areas of philosophy, medicine,
and scientific investigation (^Alexander^). Aristotle took great care
in providing Alexander with a very structured and disciplined education
(Williams 7-9). However, Alexander^s father, Philip II, would not
allow Alexander to form the habits of a recluse. Philip initiated
Alexander early with the duties of his high station. It was in this
role that Alexander showed his ability to lead men, and be a great
administrator. At age sixteen, Alexander was appointed Regent of
Macedonia, while Phillip was detained at the siege of Byzantium
(Williams 10). It has been noted that Alexander, by this point, had
already astonished some Persian deputies by the pertinency of his
questions, and the acuteness of his intellect (Williams 10). By the
time he was eighteen, Alexander had commanded the left wing of the army
at the battle of Chaeroneia, and defeated the Thebans (Williams
10-11). The following is an account of the words of Arrian, an
acquaintance of Alexander. He spoke these words Alexander^s death on
June 13, 323 B.C.:
Let him who would vilify Alexander, not select a few blameworthy acts,
but sum up all his great deeds and qualities, and then consider who and
what he himself is who would thus abuse the man who attained the
pinnacle of human felicity^who was the undisputed monarch of both
continents^and whose name has pervaded the whole of the earth^ My own
opinion, therefore, I will profess, that not without especial purpose
of the deity such a man was given to the world, to whom none has ever
yet been equal (Williams 409). The date of Julius Caesar^s birth is in
dispute. The probable date was July 12 or 13, 100 B.C. (David 12).
His father was Gaius Caesar, who died when Julius was only sixteen.
His mother was Aurelia, who was a noble woman, and it seems certain
that he owed much to her (David 12). In 84 B.C., Caesar married
Cornelia, a daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna (^Caesar^). Caesar is
noted for his great energy, intellect, and physical state (^Caesar^).
Caesar showed generosity to his opponents after he defeated them,
however this did not necessarily make him endeared to them (^Caesar^).
He won the devotion of his soldiers by the victories that he led them
through (^Caesar^). He was a man of great intellect and used this in
battle as an excellent strategist. This was made evident in his
defeat of the Gauls (David 86-89). This same intellect assisted him in
becoming a great politician of his time. He also prepared his seven
books on the Gallic War for publication in 51 B.C., wrote his books on
the civil war, and his Anticato (^Caesar^). Genghis Khan was a warrior
and a ruler of genius who, starting from obscure and insignificant
beginnings, brought all the nomadic tribes of Mongolia under the rule
of himself and his family in a rigidly disciplined military state
(^Genghis Khan^, Britannica).
"Alexander the Great." The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1998 ed.
"Caesar." The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1998 ed.
David, Peter. Julius Caesar. New York; Cromwell-Collier Press. 1968.
"Genghis Kahn." Collier^Òs Encyclopedia. 1968 ed.
"Genghis Kahn." The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1998 ed.
Williams, John. The Life of Alexander the Great. New York; A. L. Burt Company.
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