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Difficulty of Making Good Use of a Victory

This has often happened to people before. For though, as I have many times remarked, success in a campaign and victory over one's enemies are great things, it requires much greater skill and caution to use such successes well. Accordingly, you will find that those who have gained victories are many times more numerous than those who have made good use of them. The Carthaginians at this crisis are an instance in point. After conquering the Roman armies, and slaying both the generals, Publius and Gnaeus Scipio, imagining that Iberia was their own without dispute, they began treating the natives tyrannically; and accordingly found enemies in their subjects instead of allies and friends. And they were quite rightly served, for imagining that the conduct necessary for keeping power was something different from that necessary for obtaining it; and for failing to understand that they keep empire best, who best maintain the same principles in virtue of which they gained it. And yet it is obvious enough, and has been again and again demonstrated, that men gain power by beneficent actions, and by holding out hopes of advantage to those with whom they are dealing; but that, as soon as they have got what they wanted, and begin to act wickedly and rule despotically, it is but natural that, as their rulers have changed, the feelings of the subjects should change too. So it was with the Carthaginians.

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