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History´S Greatest Military Captains Essay

1414 words - 6 pages

There are many qualities one requires to be a successful General, they can be divided into two categories as I see it: those of character, that is, personal leadership, and those of professional and tactical capacity. When it comes to command in the field, the first category is slightly more important than the second, although it is useless, of course, if separated from the second, and vice versa. Alexander III of Macedon and Hannibal of Carthage are considered among the greatest generals to have ever lived.
Alexander's legendary feats and his ability to grasp the strategic and tactical situation are absolutely worth studying for all military leaders in learning the art of war. What he was ...view middle of the document...

With a persona of this magnitude one cannot be relegated solely to the study of military prowess, for one cannot help but to reflect on the qualities of the man also. One method of looking at the greatness of a man is to turn to his enemy for observations. "At this, Darius stretched his hands to the heavens and prayed thus: O Zeus the King, to whom it has been given to order the affairs of Kings among men, do thou guard safe for me, if so it may be, the sovereignty of Persians and Medes, as thou didst give it me; but if I be no longer King of Asia, do thou give my power to none but to Alexander. So much does he care for honourable conduct even towards enemies" (Arrian {R} I: 405). Alexander displayed that he was as politically astute as he was militarily smart. He usually left local elders or chiefs in charge of captured towns but he always left his own military commander and garrison to keep an eye out for his best interests. In Lydia he introduced a new concept, that of the office of taxation and finance not being subordinate to the satrap. This took away the satrap's potential for graft and corruption by the distribution of power. His marriage into noble families and the mass marriage in Susa in 324 helped to combine the two nations of Macedonia and Persia. Even though he became the great ruler, he still abided by his nation's laws, particularly that the army assemblies vote on right and wrong. He also did not generally interfere with the local native laws or customs and he never interfered with anyone's religion. Wherever Alexander traveled, he also tried to improve the economics of the territory. He built new cities where he thought a trade route would flourish, establishing over seventy new cities, several with his name. He connected the west with the east by introducing Greek art, poetry, and philosophy to all nations. During his campaign, Alexander had brought with him all the various scientists to study plant and animal life and establish libraries. He enhanced the canal system in Babylonia to encourage trade and improve living conditions in that city.
Hannibal Barca was driven by of factors of things, however history suggests that two things particularly were accountable for his legendary drive. These factors can be divided into love of country, and love of family and go a long way in explaining his hate of Rome; for in the first Punic War, Romans had humiliated both his father and his nation. Thus, these perceived or actual wrongs committed against family and country was crucial in shaping Hannibal’s hate for Rome. Long before the Second war, Hannibal Barca, barely 9 years of age, took a solemn oath that would bind him for the remainder of his life. The story, which most historians give credence to as fact, starts on the eve of Hamilcar’s departure to Iberian Peninsula, when his son came to him and begged to be allowed to fight. Hamilcar agreed to take Hannibal to Iberian Peninsula on the condition that he takes a vow. Perplexed,...

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