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Fabius Pictor on the Cause of the Punic War

So too of the war of Antiochus with Rome. The cause
and of the war with Antiochus.
was evidently the exasperation of the Aetolians, who, thinking that they had been slighted in a number of instances at the end of the war with Philip, not only called in the aid of Antiochus, but resolved to go to every extremity in satisfying the anger which the events of that time had aroused in them. This was the cause. As for the pretext, it was the liberation of Greece, which they went from city to city with Antiochus proclaiming, without regard to reason or truth; while the first act in the war was the descent of Antiochus upon Demetrias.

My object in enlarging upon this distinction is not to attack the historians in question, but to rectify the ideas of the studious. A physician can do no good to the sick who does not know the causes of their ailments; nor can a statesman do any good who is unable to conceive the manner, cause, and source of the events with which he has from time to time to deal. Surely the former could not be expected to institute a suitable system of treatment for the body; nor the latter to grapple with the exigencies of the situation, without possessing this knowledge of its elements. There is nothing, therefore, which we ought to be more alive to, and to seek for, than the causes of every event which occurs. For the most important results are often produced by trifles; and it is invariably easier to apply remedial measures at the beginning, before things have got beyond the stage of conception and intention.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 43-44, commentary, 44.23
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXE´RCITUS
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