I did not blush or turn away; a true warrior does not pretend humility when truth is spoken.
“It means little to be heir until I am tested in battle!”
“Competition for the kingdom would make you a better king!”
“My actions must be without blemish if I expect to receive the respect of Athens and the other Greek states.”
“Always remember that our actions will inevitably bear consequences for good or ill.”
“It is dangerous not to consider the consequences of one’s action.”
“Of all his companions, I think you are the most worthy to act as Patroklus to our noble descendent of Achilles.”
“True glory is not measured by sons but the number of battles won.”
“In Greece, for one man to give unselfishly to the other is considered by many to be the highest of love, especially between men destined to fight beside each other on the battlefield.”
Hermias turned a kindly gaze toward Alexander. “How goes the subjugation of Greece?”
Alexander’s sigh was palpable. “Too well, I fear. Soon, there will be no glory left for me.”
At Alexander’s command, we mounted our horses. While his companions clanged about, trying to heave our armored bodies onto the backs of skittering steeds, Alexander’s horse, Bucephalus, knelt until his master was comfortably seated and then arose. We all stared, wide eyed with amazement.
Alexander grinned and learned over to whisper at me. “I’ve been training him secretly for weeks.”
“Our horses, especially those in the cavalry units, are treated almost like gods come down to earth. It is both an honor and a duty to show them the greatest dignity and respect.”
“I treasure your love and companionship above all others. But as future king, I have to take into account how my relationships will affect my ability to rule.”
“Not all wars are fought on a battlefield.”
“A good commander must sometimes be ruthless.”
Aristotle’s smile became animated. He reached into one of the cubbyholes and drew out a bundle of scrolls tied together with a ribbon. “These are for you, Alexander. I hope you don’t mind the few notes I scribbled in the margins.”
I leaned over Alexander’s shoulder and put my arm around his waist as he read the book’s title out loud. “The Iliad, Story of Achilles, by Homer.”
Tears welled in Alexander’s eyes as he leafed through the scrolls. The edition was rare and contained many annotations written in flowing script that I immediately recognized as our teacher’s. It was not only a precious gift but a subtle way for Aristotle to express his hope that someday Alexander would conquer Persia as gloriously as Achilles had triumphed over Troy.
“Hephaestion, I look at you and see the twin soul of Alexander! Serve him well.”
“I’ve seen how the men react to you, Alexander. I think in time they might follow you to the very ends of the earth.”
“I was starting to worry my father would conquer all the known world before I became king.”
“He bade me make friends of both the good and the bad nobles, that I should use the former and abuse the latter.”
“It reminded me of a lesson I want you never to forget, Son. Never underestimate your enemy. Never!”
“And never fear a larger army if your tactics are superior,” said Alexander.
Philip frowned but then laughed. “Yes, quite right, my boy. Overwhelming force is useless in the face of superior tactics.”
“Fear will keep them in line.”
“I run only against kings.”
“I told him that until he settled matters and made peace within his own house, their allegiance would be lukewarm at best. Harmony must start at home.”
“The will of the gods is greater than even your love.”
“Promise me, Alexander. Promise not to die until after I am dead.”
[…] “My dearest Hephaestion, you I love above all others. But as king, I must sometimes rise above desires of the flesh, putting the interests of the kingdom above all else. The truest love is found in the soul, which no weapon can ever assail or wound. Thus, our love shall be eternal.”