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Denys d'Halicarnasse, Les Antiquités romaines, livre VI


Texte grec :

[6,64] Ὃ δὲ πάντων ἐστὶ κράτιστον ἐν τοῖς πολέμοις, καὶ οὔτε ὑμεῖς αὐτοὶ ἐνεθυμήθητέ πω, οὔτε τῶν συμβούλων οὐδεὶς λέγει, τοῦτο προσθεὶς παύσομαι. οὐδενὸς οὕτω δεῖ τοῖς μέλλουσιν εὐτυχὲς ἕξειν τὸ τῶν ἀγώνων τέλος, ὡς στρατηγῶν ἀγαθῶν. τούτων ἡ μὲν ἡμετέρα πλουτεῖ πόλις, αἱ δὲ τῶν ἀντιπάλων σπανίζουσιν. αἱ μὲν οὖν πολυοχλοῦσαι δυνάμεις, ὅταν λάβωσιν ἡγεμόνας οὐκ εἰδότας ἄρχειν, ἀσχημονοῦσι καὶ περὶ αὑταῖς σφάλλονται τὰ πλεῖστα, καὶ τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον κακοπαθοῦσιν, ὅσῳπερ ἂν μείζονα ἔχωσι πόνον. οἱ δ´ ἀγαθοὶ στρατηλάται, κἂν μικρὰς λάβωσι δυνάμεις, ταχέως ποιοῦσιν αὐτὰς μεγάλας. ὥστ´ ἄχρις ἂν ἡγεῖσθαι δυναμένους ἄνδρας ἔχωμεν, οὐκ ἀπορήσομεν τῶν ἄρχεσθαι βουλομένων. ἐνθυμούμενοι δὴ ταῦτα καὶ τῶν ἔργων τῆς πόλεως μεμνημένοι μηδὲν ταπεινὸν μηδ´ ἀγεννὲς μηδ´ ἀνάξιον ὑμῶν αὐτῶν ψηφίσησθε. τί οὖν, εἴ τις ἔροιτό με, {τι} πράττειν ὑμῖν παραινῶ; τουτὶ γὰρ ἴσως πάλαι γνῶναι σπεύδετε. μηδένα μήτε πρεσβείαν πέμπειν πρὸς τοὺς ἀφεστηκότας, μήτε ἄφεσιν ψηφίσασθαι τῶν χρεῶν, μήτ´ ἄλλο ποιεῖν μηδέν, ὅ τι δόξειεν ἂν φόβου τεκμήριον εἶναι καὶ ἀμηχανίας· ἐὰν δὲ καταθέμενοι τὰ ὅπλα κατέλθωσιν εἰς τὴν πόλιν καὶ παράσχωσιν ὑμῖν βουλεύσασθαι περὶ σφῶν αὐτῶν, καθ´ ἡσυχίαν ἐξετάσαντας τότε χρῆσθαι μετριότητι πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἰδότας, ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἀνόητον, ἄλλως τε κἂν ὄχλος ᾖ, πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ταπεινοὺς αὔθαδες γίνεσθαι φιλεῖ, πρὸς δὲ τοὺς αὐθάδεις ταπεινοῦσθαι.

Traduction française :

[6,64] "But the greatest advantage in war is one which neither you yourselves have yet thought of nor any of your advisers mentions. This I will add to those I have named, and then make an end. There is nothing so essential to those who are to have their wars crowned with success as good generals. In these our commonwealth is rich, while there is a scarcity of them among our enemies. For very numerous armies, when led by generals who know not how to command, disgrace themselves and bring about their own defeat as a rule, and the larger their bulk is, the more liable they are to this fate; whereas good generals, even though the armies they receive are small, soon make them large. Hence, as long as we have generals able to command, we shall never lack men ready to obey. Bearing these things in mind, therefore, and recalling the (p49) achievements of the commonwealth, vote for nothing mean, ignoble, or unworthy of yourselves. What course of action, then, if anyone should ask me, do I advise you to take? For this is what you have probably long been eager to know. My advice, then, is neither to send ambassadors to the seceders nor to decree an abolition of their debts, nor to do anything else that might seem to betray fear or perplexity. But if they lay down their arms, return to the city, and leave it to you to consult about them at leisure, I advise you first to examine the situation and then to treat them with moderation, knowing as you do that all senseless creatures, particularly a rabble, behave themselves with arrogance toward the meek and with meekness toward the arrogant."

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Dernière mise à jour : 9/01/2007