Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius.

But even to well-governed States, their conquests may chance to occasion much harm; as when some city or province is acquired abounding in luxury and delights, by whose manners the conqueror becomes infected; as happened first to the Romans, and afterwards to Hannibal on taking possession of Capua.  And had Capua been at such a distance from Rome that a ready remedy could not have been applied to the disorders of the soldiery, or had Rome herself been in any degree tainted with corruption, this acquisition had certainly proved her ruin.  To which Titus Livius bears witness when he says, “Most mischievous at this time to our military discipline was Capua; for ministering to all delights, she turned away the corrupted minds of our soldiers from the remembrance of their country.”  And, truly, cities and provinces like this, avenge themselves on their conquerors without blood or blow; since by infecting them with their own evil customs they prepare them for defeat at the hands of any assailant.  Nor could the subject have been better handled than by Juvenal, where he says in his Satires, that into the hearts of the Romans, through their conquests in foreign lands, foreign manners found their way; and in place of frugality and other admirable virtues—­

 “Came luxury more mortal than the sword,
 And settling down, avenged a vanquished world."[1]

And if their conquests were like to be fatal to the Romans at a time when they were still animated by great virtue and prudence, how must it fare with those who follow methods altogether different from theirs, and who, to crown their other errors of which we have already said enough, resort to auxiliary and mercenary arms, bringing upon themselves those dangers whereof mention shall be made in the Chapter following.

[Footnote 1: 

 Saevior armis
 Luxuria occubuit victumque ulciscitur orbem.
 Juv.  Sat. vi. 292.]

CHAPTER XX.—­Of the Dangers incurred by Princes or Republics who resort to Auxiliary or Mercenary Arms.

Had I not already, in another treatise, enlarged on the inutility of mercenary and auxiliary, and on the usefulness of national arms, I should dwell on these matters in the present Discourse more at length than it is my design to do.  For having given the subject very full consideration elsewhere, here I would be brief.  Still when I find Titus Livius supplying a complete example of what we have to look for from auxiliaries, by whom I mean troops sent to our assistance by some other prince or ruler, paid by him and under officers by him appointed, it is not fit that I should pass it by in silence.

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