Marius Says: F**k Greek Literature!

Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum (85)

[Marius speaking:]

“My words are not artfully chosen. I don’t give a shit about that. Virtue shows herself without any help. Only those who want to hide their shameful conduct with rhetoric have need of artifice. I also didn’t learn Greek literature: I had no desire to learn that, since it apparently never did anything to enhance the virtue of its teachers. Instead, I learned all about the things which do the best for the Republic: to assault the enemy, to move the defenses, to fear nothing except a bad reputation, to suffer summer blazes and winter frosts equally, to sleep on the ground, and to tolerate neediness and labor at the same time. I will exhort my soldiers with these precepts, but I will not coddle them with art, and I will make myself, not my glory, their work. This is useful, this is civic power. For, when you conduct the army safely through idle softness and drive it on with punishment, that is to be a master, not a general.”

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John Vanderlyn, Marius Amid the Ruins of Carthage

Non sunt composita verba mea: parvi id facio. Ipsa se virtus satis ostendit; illis artificio opus est, ut turpia facta oratione tegant. Neque litteras Graecas didici: parum placebat eas discere, quippe quae ad virtutem doctoribus nihil profuerant. At illa multo optima rei publicae doctus sum: hostem ferire, praesidia agitare, nihil metuere nisi turpem famam, hiemem et aestatem iuxta pati, humi requiescere, eodem tempore inopiam et laborem tolerare. His ego praeceptis milites hortabor, neque illos arte colam, me opulenter, neque gloriam meam, laborem illorum faciam. Hoc est utile, hoc civile imperium. Namque cum tute per mollitiem agas, exercitum supplicio cogere, id est dominum, non imperatorem esse.

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