72.With this mind they went to winter at Naxos and Catana.The Syracusians, after they had buried their dead, called an assembly;
and Hermocrates, the son of Hermon, a man not otherwise second to any in wisdom, and in war both able for his experience and eminent for his valour, standing forth gave them encouragement and would not suffer them to be dismayed with that which had happened.Their courage, he said, was not overcome, though their want of order had done them hurt.
And yet in that they were not so far inferior as it was likely they would have been, especially being (as one may say) homebred artificers, against the most experienced in the war of all the Grecians.
That they had also been hurt by the number of their generals and commanders—for there were fifteen that commanded in chief—and by the many supernumerary soldiers under no command at all.Whereas if they would make but a few and skilful leaders, and prepare armour this winter for such as want it, to increase as much as might be the number of their men of arms, and compel them in other things to the exercise of discipline, in all reason they were to have the better of the enemy.For valour they had already, and to keep their order would be learnt by practice;and both of these would still grow greater: skill, by practising with danger;and their courage would grow bolder of itself, upon the confidence of skill.
And for their generals, they ought to choose them few and absolute, and to take an oath unto them to let them lead the army wheresoever they thought best.For by this means, both the things that require secrecy would the better be concealed and all things would be put in readiness with order and less tergiversation.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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