Home > Uncategorized > Seneca the Elder: What is this hideous disease, this appalling evil that drove you to shed each other’s blood?

Seneca the Elder: What is this hideous disease, this appalling evil that drove you to shed each other’s blood?

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Seneca the Elder: It is this that drives the world into war

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Seneca the Elder
From Controversiae
Translated by M. Winterbottom

Look: often have armies of citizens and relatives taken their stand, drawn up to join battle; the hills on either side are filled with cavalry; and suddenly the whole terrain is strewn with the bodies of the slaughtered. Suppose someone amid that mass of corpses and looters should ask: What was it that compelled man to commit crime against man? Beasts do not war among themselves, and even if beasts did wars would we be unworthy of man, a quiet species, and nearest to the divine. What is this hideous disease, this fury that drove you to shed each other’s blood – though you are of one stock, one blood? What is this appalling evil that fate or chance has inflicted on this species alone?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 26, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Seneca the Elder from same: “Some laws, though unwritten, are more firmly established than all written laws”. Thanks for posting these profound, still-entirely-relevant examples of wisdom.

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