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.
or to any other of the neighbouring nations accustomed to arms, but he resolved, like the prudent prince he was, to rely on his own countrymen.  And such was his ability that, under his rule, the people very soon became admirable soldiers.  For nothing is more true than that where a country, having men, lacks soldiers, it results from some fault in its ruler, and not from any defect in the situation or climate.  Of this we have a very recent instance.  Every one knows, how, only the other day, the King of England invaded the realm of France with an army raised wholly from among his own people, although from his country having been at peace for thirty years, he had neither men nor officers who had ever looked an enemy in the face.  Nevertheless, he did not hesitate with such troops as he had, to attack a kingdom well provided with officers and excellent soldiers who had been constantly under arms in the Italian wars.  And this was possible through the prudence of the English king and the wise ordinances of his kingdom, which never in time of peace relaxes its warlike discipline.  So too, in old times, Pelopidas and Epaminondas the Thebans, after they had freed Thebes from her tyrants, and rescued her from thraldom to Sparta, finding themselves in a city used to servitude and surrounded by an effeminate people, scrupled not, so great was their courage, to furnish these with arms, and go forth with them to meet and to conquer the Spartan forces on the field.  And he who relates this, observes, that these two captains very soon showed that warriors are not bred in Lacedaemon alone, but in every country where men are found, if only some one arise among them who knows how to direct them to arms; as we see Tullus knew how to direct the Romans.  Nor could Virgil better express this opinion, or show by fitter words that he was convinced of its truth than, when he says:—­

 “To arms shall Tullus rouse
 His sluggish warriors."[1]

[Footnote 1:  Residesque movebit Tullus in arma viros. Virg.  Aen. vi. 814.]

CHAPTER XXII.—­What is to be noted in the combat of the three Roman Horatii and the three Alban Curiatii.

It was agreed between Tullus king of Rome, and Metius king of Alba, that the nation whose champions were victorious in combat should rule over the other.  The three Alban Curiatii were slain; one of the Roman Horatii survived.  Whereupon the Alban king with all his people became subject to the Romans.  The surviving Horatius returning victorious to Rome, and meeting his sister, wife to one of the dead Curiatii, bewailing the death of her husband, slew her; and being tried for this crime, was, after much contention, liberated, rather on the entreaties of his father than for his own deserts.

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