Certain men make history, men born to be mould-breakers. C. M. Kornbluth’s science-fiction story, The Adventurer explores this idea:
They are the Phillips of Macedon, the Napoleons, Stalins and Hitlers, the Suleimans — the adventurers. Again and again they flash across history, bringing down an ancient empire, turning ordinary soldiers of the line into unkillable demons of battle, uprooting cultures, breathing new life into moribund peoples.
There are common denominators among all the adventurers. Intelligence, of course. Other things are more mysterious but are always present. They are foreigners. Napoleon the Corsican. Hitler the Austrian. Stalin the Georgian. Phillip the Macedonian. Always there is an Oedipus complex. Always there is physical deficiency.
Those last couple elements date the story, I suppose.