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And first, if you please, consider that which seems the farthest distant of all from the common received opinion, and compare the disciples of Alexander with the pupils of Plato and Socrates. The latter instructed persons ingenuous, such as speak the same speech, well understanding (if nothing else) the Grecian language. But there were many with whom their precepts did not prevail; for men like Critias, Alcibiades, and Cleitophon shook off their doctrine like a bridle, and followed the conduct of their own inclinations. On the other side, take a view of Alexander's discipline, and you shall see how he taught the Hyrcanians the conveniency of wedlock, introduced husbandry among the Arachosians, persuaded the Sogdians to preserve and cherish—not to kill—their aged parents; the Persians to reverence and honor—not to marry—their mothers. Most admirable philosophy! which induced the Indians to worship the Grecian Deities, and wrought upon the Scythians to bury their deceased friends, not to feed upon their carcasses. We admire the power of Carneades's eloquence, for forcing the Carthaginian Clitomachus, called Asdrubal before, to embrace the Grecian customs. No less we wonder at the prevailing reason of Zeno, by whom the Babylonian Diogenes was charmed into the love of philosophy. Yet no sooner had Alexander subdued Asia, than Homer became an author in high esteem, and the Persian, Susian, and Gedrosian youth sang the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles. Among the Athenians, Socrates, introducing [p. 480] foreign Deities, was condemned to death at the prosecution of his accusers. But Alexander engaged both Bactria and Caucasus to worship the Grecian Gods, which they had never known before. Lastly, Plato, though he proposed but one single form of a commonwealth, could never persuade any people to make use of it, by reason of the austerity of his government. But Alexander, building above seventy cities among the barbarous nations, and as it were sowing the Grecian customs and constitutions all over Asia, quite weaned them from their former wild and savage manner of living. The laws of Plato here and there a single person may peradventure study, but myriads of people have made and still make use of Alexander's. And they whom Alexander vanquished were more greatly blessed than they who fled his conquests. For these had none to deliver them from their ancient state of misery; the others the victor compelled to better fortune. True therefore was that expression of Themistocles, when he was a fugitive from his native country, and the king entertained him with sumptuous presents, assigning him three stipendiary cities to supply his table, one with bread, a second with wine, a third with all manner of costly viands; Ah! young men, said he, had we not been undone, we had surely been undone. It may, however, be more justly averred of those whom Alexander subdued, had they not been vanquished, they had never been civilized. Egypt had not vaunted her Alexandria, nor Mesopotamia her Seleucia; Sogdiana had not gloried in her Propthasia, nor the Indians boasted their Bucephalia, nor Caucasus its neighboring Grecian city; by the founding of all which barbarism was extinguished and custom changed the worse into better. If then philosophers assume to themselves their highest applause for cultivating the most fierce and rugged conditions of men, certainly Alexander is to be acknowledged [p. 481] the chiefest of philosophers, who changed the wild and brutish customs of so many various nations, reducing them to order and government.
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