de imperio: 28 translation


For I think this: that in the greatest commander there should be these four things: knowledge of military affairs, courage, authority, good fortune. Therefore who ever was, or ought to have been, more knowledgeable than this man? He set out from school and the discipline of boyhood, during the greatest war and when there were the fiercest enemies, to his father’s army and to the discipline of military service; at the end of boyhood, he was a soldier in the army of the greatest commander, as he entered adolescence he himself was the commander of a very great army; he has clashed more often with the enemy than anyone has brought a dispute against a foe, he has waged more wars than other men have read about, secured more provinces than others have eagerly desired; his youth was trained in knowledge of military affairs, not by another’s instructions but by his own commands, not by the setbacks of war but by victories, not by campaigns but by triumphs. In short, what type of war can there be in which the fortune of the republic has not trained him? The various and different kinds of wars and enemies – civil war, African war, Transalpine war, Spanish war, servile war – not only waged, but also brought to an end, by this one man reveal that there is nothing situated in military experience which can escape the knowledge of this man.