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These recitals may suffice, without being tedious, to show that he exercised his authority according to all the most illustrious and royal methods of government. To which grandeur if he arrived by the assistance of Fortune, he is to be acknowledged the greater, because he made so glorious a use of her. So that the more any man extols his fortune, the more he advances his virtue, which made him worthy of such fortune.

But now I shall return to the beginnings of his advancement and the early dawnings of his power, and endeavor to discover what was there the great work of Fortune, which rendered Alexander so great by her assistance. First then, how came it to pass that some neighing barb did not seat him in the throne of Cyrus, free from wounds, without loss of blood, without a toilsome expedition, as formerly it happened to Darius Hystaspes? Or that some oneflattered by a woman, as Darius by Atossa, did not deliver up his [p. 506] diadem to him, as the other did to Xerxes, so that the empire of Persia came home to him, even to his own doors? Or why did not some eunuch aid him, as Bagoas did the son of Parysatis, who, only throwing off the habit of a messenger, immediately put on the royal turban? Or why was he not elected on a sudden and unexpectedly by lot to the empire of the world, as at Athens the lawgivers and rulers are wont to be chosen? Would you know how men come to be kings by Fortune's help? At Argos the whole race of the Heraclidae happened to be extinct, to whom the sceptre of that kingdom belonged. Upon which consulting the oracle, answer was made to them that an eagle should direct them. Within a few days the eagle appeared towering aloft, but stooping he at length lighted upon Aegon's house; thereupon Aegon was chosen king. Another time in Paphos, the king that there reigned being an unjust and wicked tyrant, Alexander resolved to dethrone him, and therefore sought out for another, the race of the Kinyradae seeming to be at an end. They told him there was one yet in being, a poor man and of no account, who lived miserable in a certain garden. Thereupon messengers were sent, who found the poor man watering some few small beds of pot-herbs. The miserable creature was strangely surprised to see so many soldiers about him, but go he must; and so being brought before Alexander in his rags and tatters, he caused him presently to be proclaimed king and clad in purple; which done, he was admitted into the number of those who were called the king's companions. The name of this person was Alynomus. Thus Fortune creates kings suddenly, easily changing the habits and altering the names of those that never expected or hoped for any such thing.

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load focus Greek (Frank Cole Babbitt, 1936)
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