Many, on the other hand, have been found who
were ready to pour out not only their money but
their lives for their country and yet would not
consent to make even the slightest sacrifice of personal glory—even though the interests of their
country demanded it. For example, when Callicratidas, as Spartan admiral in the Peloponnesian War,
had won many signal successes, he spoiled everything at the end by refusing to listen to the proposal
of those who thought he ought to withdraw his fleet
from the Arginusae and not to risk an engagement
with the Athenians. His answer to them was that
“the Spartans could build another fleet, if they lost
that one, but he could not retreat without dishonour
to himself.” And yet what he did dealt only a
slight blow to Sparta; there was another which
proved disastrous, when Cleombrotus in fear of criticism recklessly went into battle against Epaminondas. In consequence of that, the Spartan power
How much better was the conduct of Quintus
Maximus! Of him Ennius says:
“One man—and he alone—restored our state by delaying.
Not in the least did fame with him take precedence of safety;
Therefore now does his glory shine bright, and it grows ever brighter.
This sort of offence1
must be avoided no less in
political life. For there are men who for fear of
giving offence do not dare to express their honest
opinion, no matter how excellent.