Aeneas Tacticus, On the Defence of Fortified Positions

LCL 156: 26-27

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Aeneas Tacticus



Ὅσοις τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐκ τῆς αὑτῶν2 ὁρμωμένοις χώρας ὑπερόριοί τε ἀγῶνες καὶ κίνδυνοι συμβαίνουσιν, ἄν τι σφάλμα γένηται κατὰ γῆν ἢ κατὰ θάλασσαν, ὑπολείπεται τοῖς περιγιγνομένοις αὐτῶν οἰκεία τε χώρα καὶ πόλις καὶ πατρίς, ὥστε οὐκ ἂν 2ἄρδην πάντες ἀναιρεθείησαν· τοῖς δὲ ὑπὲρ τῶν μεγίστων μέλλουσι κινδυνεύειν, ἱερῶν καὶ πατρίδος καὶ γονέων καὶ τέκνων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων, οὐκ ἴσος οὐδὲ ὅμοιος ἀγών ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ σωθεῖσι μὲν καὶ καλῶς ἀμυναμένοις τοὺς πολεμίους φοβεροὺς τοῖς ἐναντίοις καὶ δυσεπιθέτους εἰς τὸν λοιπὸν χρόνον εἶναι, κακῶς δὲ προσενεχθεῖσι πρὸς τοὺς κινδύνους 3οὐδεμία ἐλπὶς σωτηρίας ὑπάρξει. τοὺς οὖν ὑπὲρ τοσούτων καὶ τοιούτων μέλλοντας ἀγωνίζεσθαι οὐδεμιᾶς παρασκευῆς καὶ προθυμίας ἐλλιπεῖς εἶναι δεῖ, ἀλλὰ πολλῶν καὶ παντοίων ἔργων πρόνοιαν ἑκτέον, ὅπως διά γε αὑτοὺς3 μηδὲν φανῶσι 4σφαλέντες· ἂν δὲ ἄρα τι σύμπτωμα γένηται, ἀλλ᾿ οἵ γε λοιποὶ τὰ ὑπάρχοντα εἰς ταὐτό ποτε καταστήσαιεν


Aeneas the Tacticus


Οn the Defence of Fortified Positions

When men set out from their own country to encounter strife and perils in foreign lands and some disaster befalls them by land or sea, the survivors still have left their native soil, their city, and their fatherland, so that they are not all utterly destroyed But for those who are to incur peril in defence of what they most prize, shrines and country, parents and children, and all else, the struggle is not the same nor even similar. For if they save themselves by a stout defence against the foe, their enemies will be intimidated and disinclined to attack them in the future, but if they make a poor showing in the face of danger, no hope of safety will be left. Those, therefore, who are to contend for all these precious stakes must fail in no preparation and no effort, but must take thought for many and varied activities, so that a failure may at least not seem due to their own fault. But if after all a reverse should befall them, yet at all events the survivors may

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aeneas_tacticus-defence_fortified_positions.1923