ever to excel, to do better than others, and to bring glory to your forebears, who indeed were very great … this is my ancestry; this is the blood I am proud to inherit.
We have seen how Alexander thought of himself as the young Achilles, destined from birth to win glory and renown in battle against the barbarians of Asia. His attitude to war was fundamentally Homeric: for him it remained, first and last, the royal road to personal arete. He slept with two things beneath his pillow: a dagger, and a well-thumbed copy of the Iliad. Olympias had taught him from childhood to regard kingship as his destiny.