Choose a heroic model

In 1647, Baltasar Gracian, a Jesuit, published a small book containing 300 short writings, useful in facing the dangers of life and providing free souls with a path to make their mark in civil and political life.
Here is one for reflection.

Choose a heroic model

More to emulate than to imitate. There are examples of greatness, living texts of reputation. Each in his role measure himself against those who are first, not so much to follow them as to surpass them.Alexander did not mourn Achilles when he saw his tomb, but himself, not yet blossoming into fame. There is no thing that awakens ambitions in the soul like the clarification of the fame of others: the same that, while destroying envy, feeds nobility.

Gracian interweaves here two different anecdotes illustrated by Plutarch in the parallel Lives of Alexander and Caesar: Alexander the Great does not weep in front of Achilles’ tomb, but honors his memory declaring him lucky to have had a faithful friend in life and a singer of his deeds after death; Caesar, instead, wept while reading a book about Alexander the Great because even though he had reached the same age, he had not yet equaled his fame.

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