Comparison Of Alexander The Great And Julius Caesar

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Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar are two of the most powerful names in all of ancient history, leaders who both impacted their era and the future. “Alexander the Great… took the dynamic of glory, gain and conquest to unprecedented lengths” (Fox 222) and became “incomparably richer than anyone known in previous Greek history, [as] he pressed eastwards into India, bound for the Outer Ocean…” (Fox 222). He was also known for being “… cool enough to take huge risks, but intelligent enough to adapt them to the weak points of his ever-changing enemies” (Fox 224), these qualities ensured his spot atop his massive Greek empire at such a young age. Another great leader, Julius Caesar was the most famous Roman, “…[proving] to be the most masterly populist in Roman politics” (Fox 361) who had “…charm and ruthlessness, daring and deceit [all] intertwined” (Fox 362). It was these qualities where “…he proved to be a superb general” (Fox 362) with “…a quick, educated mind… always interested in literature. But he too was born a fighter” (Fox 364). However, which leader comes out on top as being the greatest of all time? Alexander the Greatest is a superior leader to Julius Caesar because of three reasons: he has more military victories, he unified many cultures causing scientific innovation and artistic beauty, and he made more strategic political decisions.

To begin with, Alexander has shown more military successes compared to Caesar. Incredibly, “[Alexander] never lost a battle and his minor campaigns were masterpieces of audacity and hardly credible stamina” (Fox 223). This is significant because, although his army and title were given to him following the death of his father, King Phillip the II, the young Alexander still surpassed the odds and made his own name for himself. His unbelievable ability to maneuver his way around a battlefield, and, proficiency to read enemies are skills that had come naturally to the boy rather than taught. In comparison, Caesar had many successful campaigns, as “from 58 to 50 he was the conqueror of vast territories in the West… [and] In 55 he… became the first invader of Britain…” (Fox 363). Although, “the British invasion failed…” (Fox 363). Linking back, while Caesar has shown military prowess, especially in trying to expand into territory further reaching than Alexander had gone, he still faces more defeat. In conclusion, Alexander’s natural talents allowed him to remain undefeated and undoubtedly perfect, seemingly, almost impossible to beat, even when compared to the ruthless Caesar.

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Furthermore, while both left important and long-lasting impacts, Alexanders’ is of slightly more importance. Alexander founded many cities which “…were not just military outposts… they were meant to be famous… and to that end… placed… near accessible routes for trade and exchange” (Fox 228). “[These] cities… were centers of Greek language and Greek entertainments, including athletic games” (Fox 228) sparking … “the Hellenistic period” (history.com). This is significant because the Hellenistic age of Greece was a time of cultural flourish and great ingenuity, like Archimedes approximation of pi (Jack Mitchell, Lecture of October 3rd, 2019). Without these achievements, the world may have been intellectually behind. Moreover, his feats inspired other leaders, including Caesar himself who “…used his power to carry out much-needed reform, relieving debt, enlarging the senate, building the Forum Iulium and revising the calendar” (History-Julius Caesar). Caesar’s restructuring of Rome is significant as it “…gave the Roman state a reprieve that lasted for more than 600 years in the East and for more than 400 years in the relatively backward West” (Toynbee). Therefore, even though Caesar left an important impact on the Roman Empire, Alexander’s legacy combined multiple cultures, and his death aided in innovation, inspiring future leaders (i.e. Caesar) to follow in his footsteps.

Finally, Alexander’s tactics for bringing his empire together benefit him and his citizens, more, than Caesar and his. For Alexander, “after the initial conquest, further looting and violence were not [his] idea of ruling his subjects” (Fox 231). His ideas included putting in place the Oecumenical Policy (Jack Mitchell, Lecture of October 3rd, 2019, Ancient Greece and Rome) “[for example] he ordered many of his officers to marry Persian princesses at a mass wedding” (History.com). In doing so his idea was to create a cultural mosaic and unite all of his kingdoms, as well, by adopting some of their customs he could continue to peacefully win them over. Furthermore, Alexander caused “… a real increase in freedom for most Greek cities [all over his empire]” (Fox 228). This is significant to the stability of the empire because revolts and rebellions were unlikely to occur. In contrast, some of Caesar’s political tactics lead to his demise. Sadly, his many reforms, while beneficial to the people, “alienated strongly republican senators. A group of these, led by Cassius and Brutus, assassinated Caesar on the Ides (15) of March 44 BC” (History-Julius Caesar). When passing new laws, Caesar had his people in mind showing the strengths of a good leader. However, his choice of people he surrounds himself with is shown to be a weakness, as the enemies he brought into the senate ended what could have continued on to be an even greater legacy. In conclusion, Alexander’s young charm and push for unity show him to be a greater leader than Caesar.

To conclude, Caesar, while having made his mark as an influential leader, is still inferior to the skilled Alexander the Great. For one, Caesar did not produce as much triumph as Alexander at the battle. Secondly, Caesar’s legacy was more geared towards Rome’s preservation, whereas Alexanders had a farther reach. Finally, Caesar’s weaknesses caused his downfall, and he made poor political allies, whereas Alexander showed the opposite.  

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