Monday, February 03, 2020



Thucydides 2.11.4-5 (speech by Spartan King Archidamus; tr. Martin Hammond):
[4] War is unpredictable. Most attacks are sudden, springing out of anger: and often the smaller force, focused by fear, has worsted superior numbers caught complacently unprepared. [5] In enemy country there is constant need for both confidence and fear — a brave spirit for battle, but also practical precautions inspired by fear. This way lies the greatest courage in attack and the greatest security under attack.

[4] ἄδηλα γὰρ τὰ τῶν πολέμων, καὶ ἐξ ὀλίγου τὰ πολλὰ καὶ δι' ὀργῆς αἱ ἐπιχειρήσεις γίγνονται· πολλάκις τε τὸ ἔλασσον πλῆθος δεδιὸς ἄμεινον ἠμύνατο τοὺς πλέονας διὰ τὸ καταφρονοῦντας ἀπαρασκεύους γενέσθαι. [5] χρὴ δὲ αἰεὶ ἐν τῇ πολεμίᾳ τῇ μὲν γνώμῃ θαρσαλέους στρατεύειν, τῷ δ' ἔργῳ δεδιότας παρεσκευάσθαι· οὕτω γὰρ πρός τε τὸ ἐπιέναι τοῖς ἐναντίοις εὐψυχότατοι ἂν εἶεν πρός τε τὸ ἐπιχειρεῖσθαι ἀσφαλέστατοι.
A.W. Gomme, A Historical Commentary on Thucydides, Vol. II: Books II-III (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956), pp. 13-14:

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