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Now, the steps to be taken by way of preparation and the mistakes to be guarded against, and the measures by which one might, as human calculations go, most likely succeed, have been, for practical purposes, stated by me; but how to oversee our business from day to day and how to deal rightly with situations that arise unexpectedly, [12] how to know the right moment for each action and to judge which of our objectives it is possible to attain through negotiation1 and which requires force in addition, these are the responsibility of the generals in charge. Therefore to give advice is to be in a very difficult position, because decisions that have been rightly taken and weighed with great care and pains are often spoiled through faulty execution on the part of those in authority. [13] Yet I hope that all will be well this time; for if any man has assumed that Alexander was fortunate because he always succeeded,2 let him reflect upon the fact that it was by doing and toiling and daring, not by sitting still, that he continued to be fortunate. Now, therefore, since Alexander is dead, Fortune is seeking some people with whom to co-operate, and you ought to become her choice. [14] As for your leaders, through whom your interests must necessarily be handled, place at the head of your forces men whose loyalty is the greatest available, and as for yourselves, let every man of you repeat to himself a solemn promise to perform whatever he in particular shall be able and shall elect to do. And see to it that he does not break this pledge or shirk his responsibility, saying that he was deceived or misled and overpersuaded, [15] because you will never find others to make good the lack of those qualities in which you yourselves shall fall short; neither does it involve the same danger to change your minds often about matters wherein it will be in your power to do as you please as it does about matters over which war will arise; but in the case of the latter a change of mind means defeat of your purpose. So do nothing of this kind, but whatever you intend to execute honestly and promptly with your whole souls, vote for that, [16] and once you have passed a decree, adopt as your leaders Zeus of Dodona and the rest of the gods, who have uttered in your interest many splendid, encouraging and true oracles, and summon them to your aid and after you have prayed to all of them for success with a vow of the fruits of victory,3 with good fortune attending you, proceed to liberate the Greeks. Farewell.

1 Under the word ὁμιλία this passage is cited by Bekker, 1. p. 110. 4-6.

2 Plutarch wrote an essay entitled “Whether the success of Alexander was due to luck or ability.”

3 Cf. Plut. Marius 26 εὔξατο τοῖς θεοῖς κατὰ ἑκατόμβης, “He prayed to the gods for victory, taking a vow to sacrifice a hecatomb.”

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Dodona (Greece) (1)

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