Alexander the Great
king of Macedon
Alexander the Great (Greek: Μέγας Ἀλέξανδρος, Megas Alexandros) (July, 356 BC – June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of the most famous kings and army leaders in history.
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- "I am dying from the treatment of too many physicians."
- Simple: I am dying because too many doctors are trying to keep me alive.
- "There is nothing impossible to him who will try."
- Simple: If you try you can do anything.
- What an excellent horse do they lose, for want of address and boldness to manage him! ... I could manage this horse better than others do.
- Simple: This is an excellent horse they give up, because they lack the boldness to tame him! ... I could tame this horse better than others.
- Holy shadows of the dead, I’m not to blame for your cruel and bitter fate, but the accursed rivalry which brought sister nations and brother people, to fight one another. I do not feel happy for this victory of mine. On the contrary, I would be glad, brothers, if I had all of you standing here next to me, since we are united by the same language, the same blood and the same visions.
- Simple: Holy ghosts, I am not to blame for your cruel and sad deaths, but the evil competition which has braught sister nations and similar people, to fight each other. I do not fee happy for this victory, I would he happy, brothers, if we were all united by the same languag, bood, and visions.
- If I were not Alexander, I should wish to be Diogenes.
- If it were not my purpose to combine barbarian things with things Hellenic (Greek), to traverse and civilize every continent, to search out the uttermost parts of land and sea, to push the bounds of Macedonia to the farthest Ocean, and to disseminate and shower the blessings of the Hellenic justice and peace over every nation, I should not be content to sit quietly in the luxury of idle power, but I should emulate the frugality of Diogenes. But as things are, forgive me Diogenes, that I imitate Herakles, and emulate Perseus, and follow in the footsteps of Dionysos, the divine author and progenitor of my family, and desire that victorious Hellenes should dance again in India and revive the memory of the Bacchic revels among the savage mountain tribes beyond the Kaukasos…
- As quoted in "On the Fortune of Alexander" by Plutarch, 332 a-b
- Simple: If it were not my goal to bring together barbaric (uncivilized) things with Greek, to travel to and civilize every continent, to look for the furthest parts of land and sea, to push the boundaries of Macedonia (Greece) to the farthest Ocean, and to bring the blessings of Greek justice and peace everywhere, I should not be happy to sit quietly with idle power, but I should act like Diogenes. But as things are, forgive me Diogenes, that I act like Herakles, and Perseus, and and follow in the footsteps of Dionysos, and desire that victorious Greeks should live in India, and revive their memory among the mountain tribes beyond Kaukasos...
- Our enemies are Medes and Persians, men who for centuries have lived soft and luxurious lives; we of Macedon for generations past have been trained in the hard school of danger and war. Above all, we are free men, and they are slaves. There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service — but how different is their cause from ours! They will be fighting for pay — and not much of at that; we, on the contrary, shall fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it. As for our foreign troops — Thracians, Paeonians, Illyrians, Agrianes — they are the best and stoutest soldiers in Europe, and they will find as their opponents the slackest and softest of the tribes of Asia. And what, finally, of the two men in supreme command? You have Alexander, they — Darius!
- Simple: Our enemies are Medes and Persions, men who for a long time have lived soft, easy lives; we of Greece for ages have been trained in the hard school of war. Above all, we are free men, and they skaves. There are Greek troops we fight in Persian service to be sure - but how different reasons for fighting! They fight for pay, and not much; we fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it. As for the foriegn troops with us, they are the best and strongest soldiers in europe, and they're enemies will be the weakest tribes of Asia. And finally, what of the commanders? You have Alexander, and they - Darius!
- Your ancestors came to Macedonia and the rest of Hellas (Greece) and did us great harm, though we had done them no prior injury. I have been appointed leader of the Greeks, and wanting to punish the Persians I have come to Asia, which I took from you...
- Alexander's letter to Persian king Darius in response to a truce plea, as quoted in Anabasis Alexandri by Arrian; translated as Anabasis of Alexander by P. A. Brunt, for the "Loeb Edition" Book II 14, 4
- Simple: Your ancestors came to Greece and caused a lot of pain, though we had done nothing to deserve it. I have been appointed leader of the greeks, and I have come to Asia to punish the Persians.
- So would I, if I were Parmenion.
- After Parmenion suggested to him after the Battle of Issus that he should accept Darius III of Persia's offer of an alliance, the hand of his daughter in marriage, and all Minor Asia, saying "If I were Alexander, I would accept the terms." (Variant translation: I would accept it if I were Alexander.) As quoted in Lives by Plutarch
- Youths of the Pellaians and of the Macedonians and of the Hellenic Amphictiony and of the Lakedaimonians and of the Corinthians… and of all the Hellenic peoples, join your fellow-soldiers and entrust yourselves to me, so that we can move against the barbarians and liberate ourselves from the Persian bondage, for as Greeks we should not be slaves to barbarians.
- As quoted in the Historia Alexandri Magni of Pseudo-Kallisthenes, 1.15.1-4
- Simple: Youths of the Pellaians, Macedonians, Corinthians, Lakedaimonians, and of the Hellenic Amphictiony, join your fellow soldiers and let me lead you, so that we can attack the barbarians and free ourselves from the Persian bondage, for as Greeks, we should not be slaves to barbarians
- Now you fear punishment and beg for your lives, so I will let you free, if not for any other reason so that you can see the difference between a Greek king and a barbarian tyrant, so do not expect to suffer any harm from me. A king does not kill messengers.
- As quoted in the Historia Alexandri Magni of Pseudo-Kallisthenes, 1.37.9-13
- To the strongest!
- After being asked, by his generals on his deathbed, who was to succeed him. It has been speculated that his voice may have been indistinct and that he may have said "Krateros" (the name of one of his generals), but Krateros was not around, and the others may have chosen to hear "Kratistos" — the strongest. As quoted in The Mask of Jove: a history of Graeco-Roman civilization from the death of Alexander to the death of Constantine (1966) by Stringfellow Barr, p. 6
- "I would rather excel others in the knowledge of what is excellent than in the extent of my powers and dominion."
- Simple: I would rather be better at knowing good things than be better at expanding my empire.
- "Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all."
- Simple: Remember, what you do personally will decide what happens to all of us.
- "In faith and hope the world will disagree, But all mankind's concern is charity."
- "How great are the dangers I face to win a good name in Athens."
- A tomb now suffices him for whom the whole world was not sufficient.
- Simple: On his grave: Now, a tomb is good enough for someone who thought the whole world was not good enough.