Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander the great is renowned as the greatest conqueror of all time: he subjugated hundreds of nations, brought Eastern Europe and much of Asia under his sway, and was supreme ruler of the world’s greatest empire by the age of thirty-two. He was a brilliant general, who, although constantly at war, never lost a battle and he commanded the respect and admiration of his men.
One day he was marching with a
company of soldiers through the Greek state of Corinth and saw a man lying in
the sun. As he drew nearer he recognised him as Diogenes of Synope, a man of
wisdom who was famous for having lived for many years, in a barrel on the
streets of Athens.
Alexander drew rein and, commanding his men to halt, approached the philosopher and asked if there were anything in the world that he could give him.
“Nothing,” replied Diogenes, “though I should be grateful if you and your friends would move to one side, and not keep the sun off me.”
This answer impressed Alexander and he exclaimed “Why, if I were not Alexander, I should be Diogenes!”
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