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Philip's Treacherous Conduct, B. C. 204

Philip now entered upon a course of treachery which no one would venture to say was worthy of a king; but which some would defend on the ground of its necessity in the conduct of public affairs, owing to the prevailing bad faith of the time. For the ancients, so far from using a fraudulent policy towards their friends, were scrupulous even as to using it to conquer their enemies; because they did not regard a success as either glorious or secure, which was not obtained by such a victory in the open field as served to break the confidence of their enemies. They therefore came to a mutual understanding not to use hidden weapons against each other, nor such as could be projected from a distance; and held the opinion that the only genuine decision was that arrived at by a battle fought at close quarters, foot to foot with the enemy. It was for this reason also that it was their custom mutually to proclaim their wars, and give notice of battles, naming time and place at which they meant to be in order of battle. But nowadays people say that it is the mark of an inferior general to perform any operation of war openly. Some slight trace, indeed, of the old-fashioned morality still lingers among the Romans; for they do proclaim their wars, and make sparing use of ambuscades, and fight their battles hand to hand and foot to foot. So much for the unnecessary amount of artifice which it is the fashion for commanders in our days to employ both in politics and war.

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204 BC (1)
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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 41-42, commentary, 42.47
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