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Fronto: Devotion to peace


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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace


From his letters
Translated by C.R. Haines

He made his way not only into frozen lands, but also into a southern situation, to the advantage of those provinces which, lying beyond the Euphrates and the Danube, Trajan had annexed to the Roman Empire…These entire provinces, Dacia and the parts lost by the Parthians, Hadrian voluntarily restored. His armies in Asia he amused with “sallies” in the camp instead of with swords and shields: a general the like of him the army never afterward saw.

The same devotion to peace is said to have withheld him from action absolutely justified, so that in his freedom from empty ambition he is clearly comparable in all the line of Roman Emperors to Numa alone.


The power of the Macedonians swelling like a torrent with mighty force in a brief day fell away to nothing: and their empire was extinguished in the lifetime of a single generation…

Not one of them anywhere has a town or permanent dwelling or settled home: they owe their freedom to their poverty, for he who goes about to subjugate the poor gets but a barren return for his labour…

Those nations whose plundering raids have caused disasters I class as brigands rather than as enemies.

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