Two Great Leaders
Two Great Leaders
Two of the greatest leaders in history were Alexander the Great of Macedon and Genghis Khan of the Mongol Empire - Two Great Leaders introduction. The two leaders have the same greatness in terms of conquest; nevertheless, they have it in different degrees. As leaders of vast lands, territories and after annexing a set of tribes, kingdoms and empire, these two personalities have created changes that forever linger in history. These leaders have united people, affecting their cultures, traditions and beliefs.
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In this paper, I would like to create a comparison between Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Such comparison is intended to compare and contrast the various effects of their regime, their methods, their way to power and the manner in which they treat their armies. I would also want to discuss, which of the two leaders have more influence and power.
I would like to start by a brief discussion of their lives, their career up to their deaths and finally the mark in history that they have left. Afterwards, there would be a comparison between the successes and the life that was lived by the two leaders. It would then be followed by a conclusion, summarizing how the two have achieved such greatness.
Alexander the Great
As a child, Alexander the Great has lived his life under the tutelage of Aristotle, who has taught him about the different lands that extend to the east. Aristotle also introduced him to poetry and rhetoric along with martial arts. Alexander grew up as a young man who would like to extend the borders of his empire farther than where his father has settled (Fox). His passion regarding this goal was overwhelming that he lived his life in order to reach beyond what he can actually reach.
Upon a realization that his empire is compose of different kingdoms and tribes who posses a mixture of diverging culture, tradition, language and beliefs, Alexander have thought of intermarriage between the tribe. He commands that certain tradition from the east be brought to the west and vice versa. Although this strategy would have worked in the long run, nevertheless, some of the short sighted commanders of Alexander did not share his vision (Fox).
Alexander’s incapability to manage his whole empire have left several positions open for a greedy demagogue. Thus, rebellion arises from one side of the empire to another. Plots against Alexander were also numerous, however, according to history books, Alexander managed to perceived traps before it was laid down.
Alexander was believed to die of a fever, an illness that he might have caught on his journeys. He died at the age of 33.His heir was also killed shortly after his death (Fox).
Alexander’s mark in history was his swiftness and ability to conquer regions from southern Europe to India. He has been one of the youngest leaders to have been able to generate and execute force. Living in an Era where swords and horses were the only means to conquer, he has managed to defeat enemies through a great strategy. He has affected the customs and traditions in his whole empire making trades of culture not only possible but also something that is inevitable. The silks of India and their dances were brought to Persia, Egypt and Macedon. The Jewish religion was reconstructed and was become known to the non-Jewish people because of its translation to the Greek language. Inter marriages between the Greek army and Persian princesses and women became dominant (Fox).
Genghis Khan was known before as Temujin, an ordinary lad in his usual tribe in the mountains. He was married to a fine woman from the other tribe named Borte. However when his father died, Temujin have decided to take his place as Khan or leader of the tribe. He killed his half-brother fearing that under a law implemented in their tribe, his half brother would be married to his mother. When, his wife was kidnapped by another tribe. He sought counsel to a blood kin, who seeing his character have gratefully extended help. When he got his wife back and has left the other tribe in total wreck. He gain more supporters and have later became known as Genghis Khan or the great king (Weatherford).
He has tried to unite the different tribes in their area. Later on they have become known as the Mongols. He have tried to conquer other villages, tribes and empire to gain the things that they have which he did not posses, namely, silk, pearl, gold and other luxurious stuffs, which people believe that a king rightly deserved. He further extends his conquest to China (May).
Upon his travels and conquest, he has learned several things. He changes several rules in the Mongol empire. He adapted the use of paper bills. He created laws which is against any sort of theft and provide his empire their own ethical standards (Weatherford).
Genghis Khan died at the age of 65 after falling from his horse. He was believed to have suffered internal damages which have taken his life. Nevertheless, his rule continues through the rule of his successors (Weatherford).
Some of the things that Genghis Khan was known were his toleration of religion. He believes that the state is of more importance than religion. He was also known for his great military which although small in number have gathered to extend his territory (Weatherford).
Alexander the Great versus Genghis Khan.
The main difference that can be seen between the two characters was the time that they were born, the place were they grew up and the circumstances that made them a leader. While Alexander the Great was a prince in Macedon with an ambitious father who would like to extend his territories far and beyond (Fox), Genghis Khan was born in a life that has not the same royalty and luxury as Alexander. Genghis Khan’s life is far simpler and native compared to Alexander.
As Alexander grew up he was exposed to different stories, languages and literature brought about by his Greek mentor Aristotle (Fox). Alexander was taught different martial arts at an early age. At the same age, Genghis Khan have been taking care of his tent and helping his father on his task. At teenage years, Alexander have been taming a wild horse and gained his father’s trust while Genghis Khan was trying to build his own family (May).
Alexander the Great has started his conquest at the early twenty while Genghis Khan was just realizing his role as a leader. As their father died, both have assumed the position that was vacated. Alexander with the knowledge of what was beyond has sought more power and fame. Genghis Khan was pushed by circumstances and will to go beyond his borders and extend his empire to gain more richness and access to various routes and privileges (Fox).
Alexander’s army was mostly a mixture of Greek soldier and soldiers from the places that he have conquered. His generals were loyal to him but there are instances wherein they doubt his capacity. They were trained as cavalry with swords or spears. They enjoy Alexander’s victory but since some of them are newly recruits, some could not understand Alexander’s way. His army follows him because he is the leader and usually do direct attack to the enemies (Fox). Genghis Khans’ soldiers and army on the other hand was composed of a few hundred who specialized in counter attacks and traps. As a strategy, Genghis Khans army learned the art of separating a great enemy army into several factions attacking from different directions. This gave Genghis Khan an edge on the battle field (May).
Alexander’s army mostly was not as well trained as Genghis Khan Army. The terrains in which the two armies settle and fought are also different, so their experiences regarding strategy planning and the use of traps should reflect on this.
Upon the age of thirty three Alexander died without anyone to succeed his throne. Genghis Khan managed to have his successors learn his way and manners in able to expand the empire even after his death.
As can be seen, both Alexander and Genghis Khan have been great leaders in their respective time. Having been able to acquire a vast amount of land, resources and kingdom, the two have only differ in their manner of uniting the people and their military strategy.
Since they have lived their life in a rather different scenario, it is inevitable for the two to have different views and goals. Alexander was very idealistic in his aims, he wish to conquer the whole land from ocean to ocean but he did not look into the problem of his people. He used his army as if they are only material things. Genghis Khan on the other hand, conquer for practical reason, he conquer because he needs something from a certain empire or because a certain empire did something wrong to him. He did not wish to unite the whole empire but he wants them to acknowledge him as “Genghis Khan” as their leader.
Fox, R. L. Alexander the Great. Penguin. 1994.
May, T. ‘Genghis Khan (1165-1227)’. 2001. Retrieved on November 27, 2007. Retrieved from the World Wide Web: http://www.accd.edu/sac/history/keller/Mongols/empsub1.html
Weatherford, J. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Crown. 2004.