These events carry in them many lessons for those who can read them aright and wish to be guided in the conduct of their lives. The disaster which befell Regulus offers us the clearest possible illustration of the principle that we should not rely upon the favors of fortune, above all when we are enjoying success. Here we see the very man, who only a little while before had refused any pity or mercy to the vanquished, himself lead captive and pleading before his victims for his own life. Euripides quote, “one wise head can outmatch a score of hands”. I - 35

I have recorded these events in the hope that the readers of this history may profit from them, for there are two ways by which all men may reform themselves, either by learning from their own errors or from those of others; the former makes a more stricking demonstration, the latter a less painful one. For this reason we should never, if we can avoid it, choose the first since it involves great dangers as well as great pain, but always the second, since it reveals the best course without causing us harm. From this I conclude that the best education for the situations of actual life consists of the experience we acquire from the study of serious history. For it is history alone which without causing us harm enables us to judge what is the best course in any situation or circumstance. I - 35

It was of course Xanthippus who had been responsible for this extraordinary transformation and recovery in the fortunes of Carthage, but quite soon after the battle he sailed off home, and by this action proved that he was a man of rare wisdom and good sense; for the truth is that it is precisely the most brilliant and exceptional achievements which give rise to the most intense jealousies and the most poisonous slanders. A native citizen may be able to resist those for some time, if he enjoys the support of his kinsmen and possesses plenty of friends, but a foreigner will quickly succumb and find his position immediately threatened. I - 36

Now in general the Romans rely upon force in all their undertakings, and consider that having set themselves a task they are bound to carry it through, and similarly that nothing is impossible once they have decided to attempt it. It often happens that this spirit inspires them to succeed, but sometimes involves them in total disaster. I - 37

[Gaius Lutatius won some ground from the Carthaginians but…] he foresaw that the Carthaginian fleet would return, and he never lost sight of the prime objective of his expedition, namely that it was only by a victory at sea that the war as a whole could be decided. So he did not allow time to be wasted or his men to be left unemployed. v.s. Book 1:61 The Carthaginians had assumed that the Romans would never again challenge their naval supremacy, and so in their contempt for their opponents they had neglected their own navy. I - 59

The unexpected disaster of the Aetolians, too, may teach all the world not to calculate on the future as though it were the actually existent, and not to reckon securely on what may still turn out quite otherwise, but to allow a certain margin to the unexpected. And as this is true everywhere and to every man, so is it especially true in war. II - 4

His wife Teuta succeeded him on the throne; and managed the various details of administration by means of friends whom she could trust. She suffered from a typically feminine weakness, that of taking a short view of everything; she could see no further than her people's recent success, and thus had no eyes for events elsewhere. II - 4

That men, in the infirmity of human nature, should fall into misfortunes which defy calculation, is the fault not of the sufferers but of Fortune, and of those who do the wrong; but that they should from mere levity, and with their eyes open, thrust themselves upon the most serious disasters is without dispute the fault of the victims themselves. Therefore it is that pity and sympathy and assistance await those whose failure is due to Fortune: reproach and rebuke from all men of sense those who have only their own folly to thank for it. II - 7

My object, in commenting on the blind folly of the Epirotes, is to point out that it is never wise to introduce a foreign garrison, especially of barbarians, which is too strong to be controlled. II - 7

The queen received this plain speaking with womanish passion and unreasoning anger. So enraged was she at the speech that, in despite of the conventions universally observed among mankind, she despatched some men after the ambassadors, as they were sailing home, to kill the one who had used this plainness. II - 8

The Gauls showed no power of planning or carrying out a campaign, and in everything they did were swayed by impulse rather than by sober calculation. II - 35

for it is the function of the historian to record and transmit to posterity such episodes in the drama of Fortune; that our posterity may not from ignorance of the past be unreasonably dismayed at the sudden and unexpected invasions of these barbarians, but may reflect how shortlived and easily damped the spirit of this race is; and so may stand to their defence, and try every possible means before yielding an inch to them. I think, for instance, that those who have recorded for our information the invasion of Greece by the Persians, and of Delphi by the Gauls, have contributed materially to the struggles made for the common freedom of Greece. For a superiority in supplies, arms, or numbers, would scarcely deter any one from putting the last possible hope to the test, in a struggle for the integrity and the safety of his city and its territory, if he had before his eyes the surprising result of those expeditions; and remembered how many myriads of men, what daring confidence, and what immense armaments were baffled by the skill and ability of opponents, who conducted their measures under the dictates of reason and sober calculation. II - 35

These things made it clear to every one of correct judgment that before long a war between these two nations was inevitable. II - 36

For though many statesmen had tried in past times to induce the Peloponnesians to join in a league for the common interests of all, and had always failed, because every one was working to secure his own power rather than the freedom of the whole; yet in our day this policy has made such progress, and been carried out with such completeness, that not only is there in the Peloponnese a community of interests such as exists between allies or friends, but an absolute identity. of laws, weights, measures, and currency.1 All the States have the same magistrates, senate, and judges. Nor is there any difference between the entire Peloponnese and a single city, except in the fact that its inhabitants are not included within the same wall; in other respects, both as a whole and in their [p. 134] individual cities, there is a nearly absolute assimilation of institutions. II - 37

The cause then, in my opinion, was this. Nowhere could be found a more unalloyed and deliberately established system of equality and absolute freedom, and, in a word, of democracy, than among the Achaeans. This constitution found many of the Peloponnesians ready enough to adopt it of their own accord: many were brought to share in it by persuasion and argument: some, though acting under compulsion at first, were quickly brought to acquiesce in its benefits; for none of the original members had any special privilege reserved for them, but equal rights were given to all comers: the object aimed at was therefore quickly attained by the two most unfailing expedients of equality and fraternity. This then must be looked upon as the source and original cause of Peloponnesian unity and consequent prosperity. II - 38

It was in virtue of this policy,--by holding out the bait of equality and freedom, and by invariably making war upon and crushing those who on their own account, or with the support of the kings, enslaved any of the states within their borders, that they finally accomplished the design which they had deliberately adopted, in some cases by their own unaided efforts, and in others by the help of their allies. For in fact whatever was effected in this direction, by the help of these allies in after times, must be put down to the credit of the deliberately adopted policy of the Achaeans themselves. They acted indeed jointly with others in many honourable undertakings, and in none more so than with the Romans: yet in no instance can they be said to have aimed at obtaining from their success any advantage for a particular state. In return for the zealous assistance rendered by them to their allies, they bargained for nothing but the freedom of each state and the union of the Peloponnese. II - 42

pg. 150 and 154 [have description of the league]

But the increased power and national advancement which these events brought to the Achaeans excited the envy of the Aetolians; who, besides their natural inclination to unjust and selfish aggrandisement, were inspired with the hope of breaking up the union of Achaean states, as they had before succeeded in partitioning those of Acarnania with Alexander. II - 45

He satisfied himself that Antigonus was a man of activity and practical ability, with some pretensions to the character of a man of honour; he however knew perfectly well that kings look on no man as a friend or foe from personal considerations, but ever measure friendships and enmities solely by the standard of expediency. He, therefore, conceived the idea of addressing himself to this monarch, and entering into friendly relations with him, taking occasion to point out to him the certain result of his present policy. But to act openly in this matter he thought inexpedient for several reasons. By doing so he would not only incur the opposition of Cleomenes and the Aetolians, but would cause consternation among the Achaeans themselves, because his appeal to their enemies would give the impression that he had abandoned all the hopes he once had in them. This was the very last idea he desired should go abroad; and he therefore determined to conduct this intrigue in secrecy. [p. 143] The result of this was that he was often compelled to speak and act towards the public in a sense contrary to his true sentiments, that he might conceal his real design by suggesting one of an exactly opposite nature. For which reason there are some particulars which he did not even commit to his own commentaries. II - 47

pg. 168 II - 56 [Polybius's views on history]

But in truth, judgments of either side founded on the bare facts of success or failure in the field are by no means final. It has often happened that what seemed the most signal successes have, from ill management, brought the most crushing disasters in their train; while not unfrequently the most terrible calamities, sustained with spirit, have been turned to actual advantage. I am bound, therefore, to add to my statement of facts a discussion on the subsequent policy of the conquerors, and their administration of their universal dominion: and again on the various feelings and opinions entertained by other nations towards their rulers. And I must also describe the tastes and aims of the several nations, whether in their private lives or public policy. The present generation will learn from this whether they should shun or seek the rule of Rome; and future generations will be taught whether to praise and imitate, or to decry it. The usefulness of my history, whether for the present or the future, will mainly lie in this. For the end of a policy should not be, in the eyes either of the actors or their historians, simply to conquer others and bring all into subjection. Nor does any man of sense go to war with his neighbours for the mere purpose of mastering his opponents; nor go to sea for the mere sake of the voyage; nor engage in professions and trades for the sole purpose of learning them. In all these cases the objects are invariably the pleasure, honour, or profit which are the results of the several employments. Accordingly the object of this work shall be to ascertain exactly what the position of the several states was, after the universal conquest by which they fell under the power of Rome, until the commotions and disturbances which broke out at a later period. These I designed to [p. 170] make the starting-point of what may almost be called a new work, partly because of the greatness and surprising nature of the events themselves, but chiefly because, in the case of most of them, I was not only an eye-witness, but in some cases one of the actors, and in others the chief director. III - 4

There is nothing, therefore, which we ought to be more alive to, and to seek for, than the causes of every event which occurs. For the most important results are often produced by trifles; and it is invariably easier to apply remedial measures at the beginning, before things have got beyond the stage of conception and intention. III - 7

The most important thing, then, for statesmen to observe is the motives of those who lay aside old enmities or form new friendships; and to ascertain when their consent to treaties is a mere concession to the necessities of the hour, and when it is the indication of a real consciousness of defeat. In the former case they must be on their guard against such people lying in wait for an opportunity; while in the latter they may unhesitatingly impose whatever injunctions are necessary, in full reliance on the genuineness of their feelings whether as subjects or friends. So much for the causes of the war. III - 12

And altogether he was in a state of unreasoning anger and violent exasperation, which prevented him from availing himself of the real causes for war, and made him take refuge in pretexts which would not admit of justification, after the manner of men whose passions master all considerations of equity. How much better it would have been to demand of Rome the restoration of Sardinia, and the remission of the tribute, which she had taken an unfair opportunity to impose on pain of a declaration of war. As it was, he said not a word of the real cause, but alleged the fictitious one of the matter of Saguntum; and so got the credit of beginning the war, not only in defiance of reason, but still more in defiance of justice. III - 15

Some uncritical readers may perhaps say that such minute discussion on points of this kind is unnecessary. And if any man were entirely self-sufficing in every event, I might allow that the accurate knowledge of the past, though a graceful accomplishment, was perhaps not essential: but as long as it is not in mere mortals to say this, either in public or private affairs,--seeing that no man of sense, even if he is prosperous for the moment, will ever reckon with certainty on the future, --then I say that such knowledge is essential, and not merely graceful. For take the three commonest cases. Suppose, first, a statesman to be attacked either in his own person or in that of his country: or, secondly, suppose him to be anxious for a forward policy and to anticipate the attack of an enemy: or, lastly, suppose him to desire to maintain the status quo. In all these cases it is history alone that can supply him with precedents, and teach him how, in the first case, to find supporters and allies; in the second, to incite co-operation; and in the third, to give vigour to the conservative forces which tend to maintain, as he desires, the existing state of things. In the case of contemporaries, it is difficult to obtain an insight into their purposes; because, as their words and actions are dictated by a desire of accommodating themselves to the necessity of the hour, and of keeping up appearances, the truth is too often obscured. Whereas the transactions of the past admit of being tested by naked fact; and accordingly display without disguise the motives and purposes of the several persons engaged; and teach us from what sort of people to expect favour, active kindness, and assistance, or the reverse. They give us also many opportunities of distinguishing who would be likely to pity us, feel indignation at our wrongs, and defend our cause,--a power that contributes very greatly to national as well as individual security. Neither the writer nor the reader of history, therefore, should confine his attention to a bare statement of facts: he must take into account all that [p. 193] preceded, accompanied, or followed them. For if you take from history all explanation of cause, principle, and motive, and of the adaptation of the means to the end, what is left is a mere panorama without being instructive; and, though it may please for the moment, has no abiding value. III - 31

And in making these calculations Hannibal showed his Hannibal correctly judges the character of Flaminius. consummate prudence and strategical ability. For it is mere blind ignorance to believe that there can be anything of more vital importance to a general than the knowledge of his opponent's character and disposition. As in combats between individuals or ranks, he who would conquer must observe carefully how it is possible to attain his object, and what part of his enemy appears unguarded or insufficiently armed,-- so must a commander of an army look out for the weak place, not in the body, but in the mind of the leader of the hostile force. For it has often happened before now that, from mere idleness and lack of energy, men have let not only the welfare of the state, but even their private fortunes fall to ruin: some are so addicted to wine that they cannot sleep without bemusing their intellects with drink; and others so infatuated in their pursuit of sensual pleasures, that they have not only been the ruin of their cities and fortunes, but have forfeited life itself with disgrace. In the case of individuals, however, cowardice and sloth bring shame only on themselves; but when it is a commander-in-chief that is concerned, the disaster affects all alike and is of the most fatal consequence. It not only infects the men under him with an inactivity like his own; but it often brings absolute dangers of the most serious description upon those who trust such a general. For rashness, temerity, and uncalculating impetuosity, as well as foolish ambition and vanity, give an easy victory to the enemy. And are the source of numerous dangers to one's friends: for a man who is the [p. 240] prey of such weaknesses falls the easiest victim to every stratagem, ambush or ruse. The general then who can gain a clear idea of his opponent's weaknesses, and direct his attack on the point where he is most open to it, will very soon be the victor in the campaign. For as a ship, if you deprive it of its steerer, falls with all its crew into the hands of the enemy; so, in the case of an army in war, if you outwit or out-manœuvre its general, the whole will often fall into your hands. Nor was Hannibal mistaken in his calculations in regard to Flaminius. For no sooner had he left the neighbourhood of Faesulae, and, advancing a short way beyond the Roman camp, made a raid upon the neighbouring country, than Flaminius became excited, and enraged at the idea that he was despised by the enemy: and as the devastation of the country went on, and he saw from the smoke that rose in every direction that the work of destruction was proceeding, he could not patiently endure the sight. Some of his officers advised that they should not follow the enemy at once nor engage him, but should act on the defensive, in view of his great superiority in cavalry; and especially that they should wait for the other Consul, and not give battle until the two armies were combined. But Flaminius, far from listening to their advice, was indignant at those who offered it; and bade them consider what the people at home would say at the country being laid waste almost up to the walls of Rome itself, while they remained encamped in Etruria on the enemy's rear. Finally, with these words, he set his army in motion, without any settled plan of time or place; but bent only on falling in with the enemy, as though certain victory awaited him. III - 81,82

[General response to Fabius's strategy]

For there is nothing more intolerable to mankind than suspense; when a thing is once decided, men can but endure whatever out of the catalogue of evils it is their misfortune to undergo. III - 112

[Varro and Paullas]

pg. 278 IV - 17 [Cynaetha's treachery]

For we mortals have an irresistible tendency to yield to climatic influences: and to this cause, and no other, may be traced the great distinctions which prevail amongst us in character, physical formation, and complexion, as well as in most of our habits, varying with nationality or wide local separation. And it was with a view of softening and tempering this natural ruggedness and rusticity, that they not only introduced the things which I have mentioned, but also the custom of holding assemblies and frequently offering sacrifices, in both of which women took part equally with men; and having mixed dances of girls and boys: and in fact did everything they could to humanise their souls by the civilising and softening influence of such culture. The people of Cynaetha entirely neglected these things, although they needed them more than any one else, because their climate and country is by far the most unfavourable in all Arcadia; and on the contrary gave their whole minds to mutual animosities and contentions. They in consequence became finally so brutalised, that no Greek city has ever witnessed a longer series of the most atrocious crimes...I have had three objects in saying thus much on this subject. First, that the character of the Arcadians should not suffer from the crimes of one city: secondly, that other nations should not neglect music, from an idea that certain Arcadians give an excessive and extravagant attention to it: and, lastly, I speak for the sake of the Cynaethans themselves, that, if ever God gives them better fortune, they may humanise themselves by turning their attention to education, and especially to music. IV - 21

But I have another and higher object also in thus speaking: which is to prevent our ignorance from forcing us to give a childish credence to every traveller's tale and marvel related by voyagers; and that, by possessing certain indications of the truth, we may be enabled by them to test the truth or falsehood of anything alleged by this or that person. IV - 42

In private life, if you wish to pass judgement on the characters of good or of bad men, you would not, assuming that your opinion is to be subjected to a genuine test, examine their actions only at periods of unclouded tranquility, but rather at times of conspicuous success or failure. The test of true virtue in a man surely resides in his capacity to bear with spirit and with dignity the most complete transformations of fortune, and the same principle should apply to our judgement of states. And so, since I could find no greater or more violent changes of fortune in our time than those which befell the Romans, I have reserved this place in my history for my study of their constitution. The particular aspect of history which both attracts and benefits its readers is the examination of causes and the capacity, which is the reward of this study, to decide in each case the best policy to follow. Now in all political situations we must understand that the principle factor which makes for success or failure is the form of a state's constitution: it is from this source, as if from a fountainhead, that all designs and plans of action not only originate but reach their fulfillment. VI - 2

But it is almost impossible for them to drink wine without being found out. For, to begin with, the woman has not got the charge of wine; and, in the next place, she is bound to kiss all her male relatives and those of her husband, down to his cousins, every day on seeing them for the first time; and as she cannot tell which of them she will meet, she has to be on her guard. VI - 2

Lucius, the son of Demaratus of Corinth, came to Rome relying on his own ability and wealth, and convinced that the advantages he possessed would place him in the front rank in the state: for he had a wife who, among other useful qualities, was admirably suited by nature to assist in any political enterprise. Arrived at Rome, and admitted to citizenship, he devoted himself to flattering the king; and before very long his wealth, his natural dexterity, and, more than all, his early training, enabled him so to please the king's taste that he gained his cordial liking and confidence. As time went on his intimacy became so close that he lived with [Ancus] Marcius, and assisted him in managing his kingdom. While so engaged, he contrived to make himself useful to every one. All who were suitors for anything found in him an active supporter and friend: his wealth was spent with noble liberality and judgment on various objects of national importance; and thus he secured for himself the gratitude of many, and the goodwill and good word of all, and finally obtained the throne. VI - 2

Every branch of virtue should be practised by those who aim at good training, from childhood, but, above all, courage. VI - 2

An impossible lie admits of no defence even. VI - 1

It is the act of a wise and sensible man to recognise--as Hesiod puts it--"how much greater the half is than the whole." VI - 1

It generally happens in the world that men who acquire have a natural turn for keeping; while those who succeed to wealth, without any trouble to themselves, are apt to squander it. VI - 1

The strongest fortifications are in general dangerous to both sides; which may be illustrated from what occurs in the case of citadels. These last are regarded as contributing greatly to the security of the cities in which they stand, and to the protection of their freedom; but they often turn out to be the origin of slavery and indisputable misfortunes. 10

"Secure retreat in case disaster fall." 16

One ought always to keep this line in mind. From failing to do so Lucius the Roman8 met with a grave disaster. So narrow is the risk of destruction to the most powerful forces when the leaders are unwise. A sufficient illustration to thoughtful men is furnished by the headstrong invasion of Argos by Pyrrhus king of the Epirotes,9 and the expedition through Thrace of king Lysimachus against Dorimichaites, king of Odrysae;10 and indeed many other similar cases. XVI

In consultations of war, as in those relating to bodily sickness, one ought to take as much account of the symptoms that have since arisen as of those originally existing. 66

A general needs good sense and boldness; they are the most necessary qualities for dangerous and venturesome undertakings. 117

I say this to point out the wisdom of the Romans, and the folly of those who despise the practice of making comparisons with the habits of foreign nations, and believe themselves competent to reform their own armies without reference to others. 156

The Romans were wont to take great care not to appear to be the aggressors, or to attack their neighbours without provocation; but to be considered always to be acting in self-defence, and only to enter upon war under compulsion. 157

If one ought to speak of Fortune in regard to such things; for I fear she often gets credit of that sort without good reason; while the real fault lies with the men who administer public business, who sometimes act with seriousness and sometimes the reverse. 184

Chance and Fortune, so to speak, enhanced the achievements of Scipio, so that they always appeared more illustrious than was expected. 161

But being jealous of Scipio they tried to decry his achievements. 164

He said that we should not let the enemy escape, or encourage their boldness by shirking a battle. 177

Pretending warm friendship, he tried every manœuvre whereby he might promote the enemy's interests, and surround us by the gravest perils. 179

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