Home > Uncategorized > Demosthenes: When war comes home, the fatal weaknesses of states are revealed

Demosthenes: When war comes home, the fatal weaknesses of states are revealed

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Demosthenes
From Second Olynthiac
Translated by J.H. Vince

…Philip by all that might be deemed to constitute his greatness, by his wars and his campaigns, has only reduced his country beneath its natural level of insecurity. You must not imagine…that his subjects share his tastes. No: glory is his sole object and ambition…But his subjects have no share in the glory that results. They are perpetually buffeted and wearied and distressed by these expeditions north and south, never suffered to give their time to their business or their private affairs, never able to dispose of such produce as they raise, because the war has closed all the markets in their land…

For just as in our bodies, so long as man is in sound health, he is conscious of no pain, but if some malady assails him, every part is set a-working, by it rupture or sprain or any other local affection; even so it is with states and monarchies; as long as their wars are on foreign soil, few detect their weaknesses, but when the shock of battle is on their frontiers, it makes all their faults perfectly clear.

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