Monday, January 31, 2005


David Farrar disses Alexander as the second greatest general in the History of the World, the first being one Gaius Julius Caesar. With the Greatest of Possible Respect for David, he's gone off the Deep End. I made this determination objectively because my favourite ancients general, Hannibal, is disqualified because he lost his last battle and wasted many years in Italy.

Julius Caesar won primarily through conquering France Gaul, a task which was made easy by the Gauls being french disunited. Julius's victory in the subsequent Civil Wars was largely due to Pompey taking flight when Julius crossed the Rubicon. Capturing Rome gave Julius an advantage which he never lost.

Alexander, on the other hand, had to take on the Hyperpower of his time. Not only were the Persians have bigger armies but they also had more greek phalanxes on their side than Alex had on his. Furthermore while Julius conquered Gaul, Alexander fought his way through Anatolia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Lebanon and the Indus Valley.

It is clear then that in terms of generalship, the best general of the classical age is Alexander. Where Julius comes out tops is his political ability, that he established a form of government (ie. dictator-for-life) that held the empire together for the next five hundred (or fifteen hundred) years.

Oh, there was a movie involved but it's so bad, I've given it a miss.