On the Folly of Complete Victories

Aelian, Varia Historia 14.25

“When there was once that worst of plagues, civil conflict, on Khios, one man who was a politician among them said to some of his companions who were hurrying to exile all their opponents, “Don’t! Now that we’ve won, let’s keep some of them around so that we won’t start to fight one another in the future because we don’t have any enemies.”

He persuaded them when he said this since it seemed to all that he spoke well in saying so.”

Ἐστασίασάν ποτε πρὸς ἀλλήλους οἱ Χῖοι, ἀνδρειότατα νοσήσαντες νόσον ταύτην βαρυτάτην. ἀνὴρ οὖν ἐν αὐτοῖς πολιτικὸς τὴν φύσιν πρὸς τοὺς σπουδάζοντας τῶν ἑταίρων πάντας ἐκβάλλειν τοὺς ἐναντίους “μηδαμῶς” ἔφη· “ἀλλ᾿ ἐπεὶ κεκρατήκαμεν, ὑπολειπώμεθά τινας, ἵνα μὴ τοῦ χρόνου προϊόντος, οὐκ ἔχοντες ἀντιπάλους, ἡμῖν αὐτοῖς ἀρξώμεθα πολεμεῖν.” καὶ εἰπὼν ἔπεισε· καὶ γὰρ ἔδοξε καλῶς λέγειν, ἐπεὶ οὕτως ἔλεγεν

Hieronymus Bosch, “The Ship of Fools”

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