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Polybius: Peace is a blessing for which we all pray to the gods


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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Polybius: The bestialization of man by war

Polybius: Diplomacy versus war


From The Histories
Translated by W.R. Paton

Peace is a blessing for which we all pray to the gods; we submit to every suffering from the desire to attain it, and it is the only one of the so‑called good things in life to which no man refuses this title. If then there be any people which, while able by right and with all honour to obtain from the Greeks perpetual and undisputed peace, neglect this object or esteem any other of greater importance, everyone would surely agree that they are much in the wrong. Perhaps indeed they might plead that such a manner of life exposes them to the attack of neighbours bent on war and regardless of treaties. But this is a thing not likely to happen often and claiming if it does occur the aid of all the Greeks; while to secure themselves against any local and temporary damage, amidst a plentiful supply of wealth, such as will probably be theirs if they enjoy constant peace, they will be in no want of foreign mercenary soldiers to protect them at the place and time required. But now simply from fear of rare and improbable perils they expose their country and their properties to constant war and devastation.

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