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Activity and Energy of Philip

It appears to me that to make a good beginning, and
The firmness and vigour of Philip in meeting the danger.
even to maintain enthusiasm long enough to secure a considerable measure of success, is an achievement of which many have been found capable; but to carry a purpose through to its end, and, even though fortune be adverse, to make up by cool reason for the deficiency of enthusiasm is within the power of few. From this point of view one cannot but disparage the inactivity of Attalus and the Rhodians, while regarding with admiration the royal and lofty spirit displayed by Philip, and his constancy to his purpose,—not meaning to speak in praise of his character as a whole, but simply commending the vigour with which he acted on this occasion. I make this distinction to prevent any one supposing that I contradict myself, because I recently praised Attalus and the Rhodians and found fault with Philip, whereas I am now doing the reverse.
1, 14.
This is just such a case as I referred to at the beginning of my history, when I said that it was necessary sometimes to praise, and sometimes to blame the same persons, since it frequently happens that changes of circumstances for the worse and calamities alter men's original dispositions, and frequently also changes for the better; and sometimes too it is the case that from natural temperament men are at one time inclined to what is right, at another to the reverse. And it is a variation of this sort that I think occurred to Philip in this instance. For, irritated by his defeats, and influenced in a great degree by anger and passion, he addressed himself with a kind of insane or inspired eagerness to meet the dangers of the hour; and it was in this spirit that he rose to the attack upon the Rhodians and king Attalus, and gained the successes which followed. I was induced to make these remarks, because I observe that some men, like bad runners in the stadium, abandon their purposes when close to the goal; while it is at that particular point, more than at any other, that others secure the victory over their rivals. . . .

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.15
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.16
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