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“Well, Simonides,” said Hiero, “I think you are right in saying that. But what about the mercenaries? Can you tell me how to employ them without incurring unpopularity? Or do you say that a ruler, once he becomes popular, will have no further need of a bodyguard?” [2]

“No, no, he will need them, of course,” said Simonides. “For I know that some human beings are like horses—the more they get what they want, the more unruly they are apt to become. [3] The way to manage men like that is to put the fear of the bodyguard into them. And as for the gentlemen, you can probably confer greater benefits on them by employing mercenaries than by any other means. [4] For I presume that you maintain the force primarily to protect yourself. But masters have often been murdered by their slaves. If therefore the first duty enjoined on the mercenaries were to act as the bodyguard of the whole community and render help to all, in case they got wind of any such intention—there are black sheep in every fold, as we all know—I say, if they were under orders to guard the citizens as well as the depot, the citizens would know that this is one service rendered to them by the mercenaries. [5] Nor is this all: for naturally the mercenaries would also be able to give fearlessness and security in the fullest measure to the labourers and cattle in the country, and the benefit would not be confined to your own estates, but would be felt up and down the countryside. [6] Again, they are competent to afford the citizens leisure for attending to their private affairs by guarding the vital positions. Besides, should an enemy plan a secret and sudden attack, what handier agents can be found for detecting or preventing their design than a standing force, armed and organized? Or once more, when the citizens go campaigning, what is more useful to them than mercenaries? For these are, as a matter of course, the readiest to bear the brunt of toil and danger and watching. [7] And must not those who possess a standing force impose on border states a strong desire for peace? For nothing equals an organized body of men, whether for protecting the property of friends or for thwarting the plans of enemies. [8] Further, when the citizens get it into their heads that these troops do no harm to the innocent and hold the would-be malefactor in check, come to the rescue of the wronged, care for the citizens and shield them from danger, surely they are bound to pay the cost of them with a right good-will. At all events they keep guards in their homes for less important objects than these.

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