Plutarch: Advanced and bettered by wars? Only if riches, luxury, dominion are preferred to security, gentleness, independence accompanied by justice.
The Comparison of Numa with Lycurgus
Translated by John Dryden
Numa’s muse was a gentle and loving inspiration, fitting him well to turn and soothe his people into peace and justice out of their violent and fiery tempers…Numa did not out of cowardice or fear affect peace, but because he would not be guilty of injustice…
Numa’s whole design and aim, the continuance of peace and goodwill, on his death vanished with him; no sooner did he expire his last breath than the gates of Janus’s temple flew wide open, and, as if war had, indeed, been kept and caged up within those walls, it rushed forth to fill all Italy with blood and slaughter; and thus that best and justest fabric of things was of no long continuance, because it wanted that cement which should have kept all together, education. What, then, some may say, has not Rome been advanced and bettered by her wars? A question that will need a long answer, if it is to be one to satisfy men who take the better to consist in riches, luxury, and dominion, rather than in security, gentleness, and that independence which is accompanied by justice.