No More Worlds to Conquer

Francis James Franklin (Alina Meridon)

When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.

This fantastic line was spoken by the late, great Alan Rickman in Die Hard, and I know I was not the first person to ask who he was quoting. At the time, the consensus seemed to be that it wasn’t a real quote, and even now it’s something of a curiosity. It has taken on a variety of forms over the centuries, but is found originally in ‘On Contentment of the Mind’ in Plutarch’s Moralia (see, e.g., Alexander Quotes):

Alexander cried when he heard Anaxarchus talk about the infinite number of worlds in the universe. One of Alexander’s friends asked him what was the matter, and he replied: “There are so many worlds, and I have not yet conquered even one.”

It’s interesting that the sense has changed from ‘I…

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