Did Nepos rated Darius above Alexander?

Feb 2019
316
Thrace
#1
Cornelius Nepos: Lives of Eminent Commanders (1886) pp. 305-450

Check the chapter Of Kings from his book, Lives of Eminent Commanders.

He writes: "But of those who were sovereigns with absolute authority, the most eminent were, as we think, Cyrus, king of the Persians, and Darius, the son of Hystaspes, both of whom, originally in a private station, obtained thrones by merit."

I have no problem with the ranking per se(the achievements of Darius speak for themselves), but I find it interesting that it comes from a Roman historian. Did i read the chapter correctly? Is Alexander excluded from that statement?
 
Apr 2014
121
Liverpool, England
#2
Nepos certainly seems to be setting Cyrus and Darius, son of Hystaspes above Alexander, though not this does not necessarily apply to their conquests on attaining power - it depends how much weight he is giving to their achievement in gaining power in the first place; which was much easier for Alexander. It is such a brief account that it is difficult to be sure exactly what he is saying.

As a Roman, he is possibly a bit prejudiced against Alexander as being just a Greek, who only fought a lot of feeble orientals and might not have found the Romans so easy to beat. (One notices that the Romans do not seem to have been as successful as Alexander when fighting the same feeble orientals.)
 
Feb 2019
316
Thrace
#3
Nepos certainly seems to be setting Cyrus and Darius, son of Hystaspes above Alexander, though not this does not necessarily apply to their conquests on attaining power - it depends how much weight he is giving to their achievement in gaining power in the first place; which was much easier for Alexander. It is such a brief account that it is difficult to be sure exactly what he is saying.

As a Roman, he is possibly a bit prejudiced against Alexander as being just a Greek, who only fought a lot of feeble orientals and might not have found the Romans so easy to beat. (One notices that the Romans do not seem to have been as successful as Alexander when fighting the same feeble orientals.)
I was under the impression that Romans idolized Alexander. Iirc he was Caesar's role model.
 
Feb 2019
316
Thrace
#6
Not role model. The only reference is that Caesar was saddened by the fact that Alexander had achieved so very much more at an earlier age as he had.
That realization pretty much kick-started his career as a living legend. I think he went on to emulate Alexander afterwards, maybe even outdo him.
 
Apr 2014
121
Liverpool, England
#7
Actually, looking at the Latin, what Nepos says is that he thought the most eminent were: "Persarum Cyrus et Darius, Hystaspi filius." Does this not mean: "Of the Persians, Cyrus and Darius were the best?" This changes the meaning a bit.
 
Likes: Openminded
Jul 2016
9,323
USA
#8
That realization pretty much kick-started his career as a living legend. I think he went on to emulate Alexander afterwards, maybe even outdo him.
Crying in Spain as a military tribune didn't kickstart Caesar's career. Teaming up later on with Pompeius Magnus (who did style himself as the Roman Alexander) and Crassus is what jump started his career. Getting elected as consul, then getting pro-consulship and governorship of Gaul, is what kick started his career.

How did he emulate Alexander afterwards? He went out of his way to deny himself a crown. He only fought a civil war out of necessity. Minus Gaul, he was never conquering simply for the sake of it, and even much of that is explained by legitimate reasons.
 
Feb 2019
316
Thrace
#9
Crying in Spain as a military tribune didn't kickstart Caesar's career. Teaming up later on with Pompeius Magnus (who did style himself as the Roman Alexander) and Crassus is what jump started his career. Getting elected as consul, then getting pro-consulship and governorship of Gaul, is what kick started his career.

How did he emulate Alexander afterwards? He went out of his way to deny himself a crown. He only fought a civil war out of necessity. Minus Gaul, he was never conquering simply for the sake of it, and even much of that is explained by legitimate reasons.
Kickstarted as in a compilation of YT motivational videos on steroids. It most likely boosted his ambitions, deciding he will one day be spoken in the same breath as Alexander.
 

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