de imperio: 28


Ego enim sic existimo, in summo imperatore quattuor has res inesse oportere,—scientiam rei militaris, virtutem, auctoritatem, felicitatem. Quis igitur hoc homine scientior umquam aut fuit aut esse debuit? qui e ludo atque e pueritiae disciplinis bello maximo atque acerrimis hostibus ad patris exercitum atque in militiae disciplinam profectus est; qui extrema pueritia miles in exercitu fuit summi imperatoris, ineunte adulescentia maximi ipse exercitus imperator; qui saepius cum hoste conflixit quam quisquam cum inimico concertavit, plura bello gessit quam ceteri legerunt, plures provincias confecit quam alii concupiverunt; cuius adulescentia ad scientiam rei militaris non alienis praeceptis sed suis imperiis, non offensionibus belli sed victoriis, non stipendiis sed triumphis est erudita. Quod denique genus esse belli potest, in quo illum non exercuerit fortuna rei publicae? Civile, Africanum, Transalpinum, Hispaniense, servile, navale bellum, varia et diversa genera et bellorum et hostium, non solum gesta ab hoc uno, sed etiam confecta, nullam rem esse declarant in usu positam militari, quae huius viri scientiam fugere possit.


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.