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.