Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon[a] and a member of the Argead dynasty.
Plutarch wrote: “In his diet, also, he was most temperate, as appears, omitting many other circumstances, by what he said to Ada, whom he adopted, with the title of mother, and afterward created Queen of Caria. For when she, out of kindness, sent him every day many curious dishes and sweetmeats and would have furnished him with some cooks and pastry-men, who were thought to have great skill, he told her he wanted none of them, his preceptor, Leonidas, having already given him the best, which were a night march to prepare for breakfast, and a moderate breakfast to create an appetite for supper. Leonidas also, he added, used to open and search his chamber’s furniture and wardrobe to see if his mother had left him anything that was delicate or superfluous. He was much less addicted to wine than was generally believed; that which gave people occasion to think so of him was that when he had nothing else to do, he loved to sit long and talk, rather than drink, and over every cup hold a long conversation.
“For when his affairs called upon him, he would not be detained, as other generals often were, either by wine, or sleep, nuptial solemnities, spectacles, or any other diversion whatsoever; a convincing argument of which is, that in the short time he lived, he accomplished so many and so great actions. When he was free from employment, after he was up and had sacrificed to the gods, he sat down to breakfast and then spent the rest of the day hunting, writing memoirs, making decisions on some military questions, or reading. In marches that required no great haste, he would practice shooting as he went along or mount a chariot and descend from it in full speed. Sometimes, as his journals tell us, for sport’s sake, he would hunt foxes and go fowling. When he came in for the evening, after bathed and was anointed, he would call for his bakers and chief cooks to know if they had his dinner ready.
“He never cared to dine till it was pretty late and beginning to be dark, and was wonderfully circumspect at meals that everyone who sat with him should be served alike and with proper attention: and his love of talking, as was said before, made him a delight to sit long at his wine. And then, though otherwise, no prince’s conversation was ever so agreeable, he would fall into a temper of ostentation and soldierly boasting, which gave his flatterers a great advantage to ride him and made his better friends very uneasy.”