Alexander the Great was born in the 356 BC and died in the year 323BC during this short life he would change the shape of the entire ancient world creating one of the most prosperous empires known to man. In battle he is known to be one of the greatest generals to have ever lived as he died undefeated. He succeeded his father Philip the II to his generalship where he gained and used this authority to wage military campaigns on his father's behalf that the latter had planned for the expansion of his empire (Simon H, 2008). It is also important to note that Alexander the great was tutored in his childhood by one of the most eminent philosophers of that age and without a doubt also of this age, this was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who had previously studied in Plato's academy (Russell B, 1972).
Napoleon Bonaparte on the other hand was born on the 15th of august 1769 and died on the 5th of May 1821. He was born to Charles Bonaparte and LatiziaRamolio on the Island of Corsica at the time of his childhood, Paoli the would be savior of Corsica was captured and killed by he became a hero figure for young Napoleon. At the a young age Napoleon had the ambition of a carrer in the military therefore in 1779 he joined the French military academy in Brienne where he showed great aptitude in the field of mathematics. He was also took the brunt of ridicule from both his teachers and schoolmates who were mostly from the noble society in France, who couldn't understand why a Corsican was enrolled in such a prestigious school(Charles M, 2001).
In my opinion the early lives of this two characters could not be any more different in that Alexander the great grew up in a relatively comfortable environment being he was the kings son and also did not have to fight to get his generalship as he got it by the virtue of being the kings son. As of the case of Napoleon he was born in a particularly tumultuous time in the history of France i.e. being the end of the French revolution, and furthermore he was discriminated against for being a Corsican.
Rise to Power.
Alexander the great.
Throughout Alexander's childhood a great many stories have been told about the great feats he accomplished as a boy it is therefore hard for many historians to separate fact from myth with that in mind we have to consider some of this stories as myth meant to validate his claim on the throne but as we shall see shortly his exploits on the battle field seem to have fulfilled this role perfectly. Such include ‘ The taming of Bucephalas'. This is an event supposed to have happened when young Alexander was only twelve years old whereby he wagers the cost of a horse on condition he tames it. Bear in mind this horse that his father wanted to purchase is wild and could not be controlled by several. It his said that he turned the horse to the sun,spoke to it, mounted it and brought it to a gallop on his return he was met by his father weeping who supposedly said ‘This kingdom is too small for you'(Langhorne W, 1772).
At the age of 16 King Philip was concerned with developing his sons abilities as a leader and therefore as he went on a military campaign he appointed Alexander regent of Macedon during this time he defeated the Thracian revolt and built a new capital. This proved to his father that he had what it took he was therefore awarded greater command and won many more battles for his father. King Philip the organized a force to mount an attack on the Persian empire, before the attack he decided to marry Eurydice of Macedon but unfortunately was assassinated during the course of the wedding and thus Alexander rose to power by murder of potential rivals, political opponents and the support of the army(Cartledge P, 2004).
When Napoleon finished his military schooling at the Paris Military Academy in record time he was posted to the Garrison at Auxonnehere he improve ways that artillery could be employed in the battle field here he caught the attention of his commanding officer and therefore he continue his mercurial rise through the ranks of the French arm influencing the change of military ideology in the French army through new and groundbreaking ideas that he came up with he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel of the battalion of National Volunteers and the next year was promoted to the rank of Captain in the army at the age of 22 . In the summer of 1798 napoleon was given command of a force that was to Egypt and the Sinai for France. This mission was one of the largest of Victories in his early career as he captured Malta in order to keep communication lines open. He then proceeded to capture the island in less than 48hrs (Allan S,1998). After freeing Muslim slaves in the island and replenishing his ranks he set sail to Egypt and marched towards Cairo on conquering Alexandria and Cairo.
On his return to France in 1799 he found the country in uproar and was given command of the French army he then proceeded to storm the council of the ancients which was the governing body which led to the to the resignation of its director and subsequent dissolution of the entire council which was replaced by a provisional commission of three that include General Napoleon. In 1804 a plot was uncovered to assassinate him he used this to his advantage in justifying the recreation of a hereditary monarchy he was then to be crowned Napoleon I by pope Pius VII and thus the 2nd French Empire (Wooley R, 1915).
In my opinion just as was in both their childhoods we see thatnapoleone had to work harder than the former in order to become ruler of france but as it were there are a lot of similarities in their military careers at this time before assuming power thus affirming that they are both very capable generals.
Alexander the Great
The legacy of Alexander the great is multi faceted and includes many more attributes in addition to his military achievements as he founded many cities including his first that he named after himself as Alexander polis many of this cities became major centers of art and culture. He also spread Greek philosophy art and other exports of Greek culture such as art and architecture through his conquests and subsequent rule of large swathes of Europe and Asia including Northern Africa. The trade ties that his empire pioneered and developed survived through the ages up to and until now.
In civil affairs Napoleon implemented a wide range of liberal reforms in all the conquered lands starting with the freeing of slaves in Malta and the recognition and respect of the religion of Islam in conquered Egypt as an aspect of the freedom of belief principle that is regarded as staple in human rights. In warfare he brought about a modernization in French military organization by introducing the corps as largest army units and also contribution in theories of the employment of artillery in the modern battlefield. He is also known for thrusting most of Europe into a war that claimed the lives of many people. He also ended lawlessness and disorder in post revolutionary France. He was also responsible for the spread of French revolutionary values and civil law to the rest of the world.
In conclusion these two leaders had a most checkered life rife with both similarities and differences. Their differences being most obvious in their lineage and early lives in that by this study it is clearly seen that Napoleon is a more self made man without an ounce of royal blood; furthermore he is of Italian ancestry and from Corsica. In this way then we can see that the odds were stacked against him and as insurmountable as it seemed he was crowned emperor. For the case of the former he was of royal blood and ascended to the throne he inherited from his father.
The similarities stem from their military campaigns both being brilliant generals one undefeated and one whose defeat led to his incarceration in exile and later his demise the latter being Napoleon Bonaparte and the former being Alexander the Great.