Modesty and Shame are For The Weak

Sallust, Letter to Caesar 1

“Enough has been said about the war. When it comes to peace, since you and all your people are still working on this, I beg you first to think about what kind of thing you are considering. Thus, once you have separated the good from the bad, you can take an open road to the truth. I am of the following opinion: since everything which is born dies, citizens will wage war against their fellow citizens since the fate of Rome’s ruin has come in this storm. In their tired and wounded state, the people will be easy prey for a king or a foreign nation. There is no other way that the whole world or all the races united together could challenge or defeat this empire.

Therefore, you must establish the advantages of harmony and cast aside the horrors of strife. This can happen if you remove the freedom of excessive expenditure and seizures, not by holding people to ancient standards which have long been a joke thanks to our corrupted habits, but if you make each person’s current assets the boundary for his expenditures. It is currently the habit for young men to think it extremely fine to spend someone else’s money and to deny nothing to their own desire and other people’s requests, and, moreover, to believe that this behavior is virtuous and noble even as they think that modesty and shame are for the weak”

De bello satis dictum. De pace firmanda quoniam tuque et omnes tui agitatis, primum id quaeso, considera quale sit de quo consultas; ita bonis malisque dimotis patenti via ad verum perges. Ego sic existimo: quoniam orta omnia intereunt, qua tempestate urbi Romanae fatum excidii adventarit, civis cum civibus manus conserturos, ita defessos et exsanguis regi aut nationi praedae futuros. Aliter non orbis terrarum neque cunctae gentes conglobatae movere aut contundere queunt hoc imperium. Firmanda igitur sunt vel concordiae bona et discordiae mala expellenda. Id ita eveniet, si sumptuum et rapinarum licentiam dempseris, non ad vetera instituta revocans, quae iam pridem corruptis moribus ludibrio sunt, sed si suam quoique rem familiarem finem sumptuum statueris; quoniam is incessit mos, ut homines adulescentuli sua atque aliena consumere, nihil libidinei atque aliis rogantibus denegare pulcherrimum putent, eam virtutem et magnitudinem animi, pudorem atque modestiam pro socordia aestiment.

Modern Statue of Sallust

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