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Xenophon: Socrates’ prescription for averting the calamities of war

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Xenophon: Selections on war and peace

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Xenophon
From Memorabilia
Translated by Edward Bysshe

Nature has placed in men the principles both of friendship and dissension. Of friendship, because they have need of one another, they have compassion of their miseries, they relieve one another in their necessities, and they are grateful for the assistance which they lend one another: of dissension, because one and the same thing being agreeable to many they contend to have it, and endeavour to prejudice and thwart one another in their designs. Thus strife and anger beget war, avarice stifles benevolence, envy produces hate. But friendship overcoming all these difficulties, finds out the virtuous, and unites them together. For, out of a motive of virtue they choose rather to live quietly in a mean condition, than to gain the empire of the whole earth by the calamities of war.

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