Saturday, September 3, 2016

Homer and Alexander the Great

Everyone has someone they look up to, whether it is an actor, a sportsperson, a saint, a religious figure in general, an author, a hero from history etc. However, how often do we hear of great men admiring other great men? One such example is of course Alexander the Great who admired many people from history, heroes, soldiers, authors and philosophers. One great example is his admiration for Homer and his work. Plutarch shows this admiration through a story, where the Iliad maintains a significant importance for the Macedonian King. Plutarch writes:

‘One day a casket was brought to him [Alexander] which was regarded by those who were in charge of Darius’ baggage and treasure as the most valuable item of all, and so Alexander asked his friends what he should keep in it as his own most precious possession. Many different suggestions were put forward, and finally Alexander said that he intended to keep his copy of the Iliad there. This anecdote is supported by many reliable historians, and if the tradition which has been handed down by the Alexandrians on the authority of Heracleides is true, then certainly the poems of Homer were by no means an irrelevant or an unprofitable possession to accompany him on his campaigns.’[1]

[1] Plutarch, The Age of Alexander, trans. Ian Scott-Kilvert and Timothy E. Duff, (London, Penguin Books, 2011), p.308.

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