What, then, were the hopes on which Alexander relied when he crossed into Asia? Not a force counted by means of a wall that would hold a city of 10,000 men,1 nor fleets that sailed through mountains,2 nor scourges or fetters, insane and barbaric implements for chastising the sea3; but externally they [p. 475] were the great ambition in his little army, mutual rivalry of hot youth, competition for repute and excellence among his Companions. And within himself he had his own high hopes, reverence for the gods, fidelity toward his friends, frugality, self-control, experience, fearlessness toward death, high courage, humanity, affability, integrity of character, constancy in counsel, quickness in execution, the height of good repute, and a disposition to gain his end in everything honourable. For not appropriately nor convincingly did Homer4 employ a combination of three similes in his comparison describing the fair appearance of Agamemnon:
Like in his eyes and his head unto Zeus who delighteth in thunder,But if the god who begat Alexander made his natural endowment an harmoniously joined combination of many virtues, may we not say that he possessed the high spirit of Cyrus, the discretion of Agesilaüs, the intelligence of Themistocles,the experience of Philip, the daring of Brasidas, the eloquence and statesmanship of Pericles? And, to compare him with the men of still more ancient days, he was more self-restrained than Agamemnon ; for Agamemnon set a captive woman5 above his wedded wife,but Alexander, even before his marriage, kept aloof from his captives. He was more magnanimous than Achilles ; for Achilles6 gave back the body of Hector for a small ransom, but Alexander buried Darius at great expense ; Achilles,7 when he had become reconciled, [p. 477] accepted gifts and recompense from his friends to requite him for ceasing from his Wrath, but Alexander enriched his enemies by conquering them. He was more reverent than Diomedes8; for Diomedes was ready to fight with gods, but Alexander believed the gods to be the authors of all success. He was more deeply mourned by his relatives than was Odysseus ; for Odysseus'9 mother died of grief, but the mother10 of Alexander's foe, for the goodwill she bore him, shared his death.
Like unto Ares in waist, and in breadth of his chest to Poseidon.