Homer, Iliad 2.237-343

“Fools, you are speaking in public like senseless children

who have no concern for acts of war.

Where will our plans and oaths take us?

Men’s councils and deliberations end in the fire

along with the unmeasured libations and the handshakes we trust.

This is how we fight with words: we can never find their end

no matter how long we wait…”


‘ὦ πόποι ἦ δὴ παισὶν ἐοικότες ἀγοράασθε

νηπιάχοις οἷς οὔ τι μέλει πολεμήϊα ἔργα.

πῇ δὴ συνθεσίαι τε καὶ ὅρκια βήσεται ἥμιν;

ἐν πυρὶ δὴ βουλαί τε γενοίατο μήδεά τ᾽ ἀνδρῶν

σπονδαί τ᾽ ἄκρητοι καὶ δεξιαί, ᾗς ἐπέπιθμεν:

αὔτως γὰρ ἐπέεσσ᾽ ἐριδαίνομεν, οὐδέ τι μῆχος

εὑρέμεναι δυνάμεσθα, πολὺν χρόνον ἐνθάδ᾽ ἐόντες.


So Nestor speaks to the assembled Achaeans in book 2 of the Iliad.

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