ede at Marathon, or the Greek with his pursuing spear, are types of their nations: he rather seeks to know how the apparently unimportant action of an insignificant city, provoked the great Persian invasion.
His question is, not whether Athens or Sparta bred the better soldier, but he searches the records to find out the causes of the Peloponnesian war.
He does not consider whether Vercingetorix, standing a captive in the presence of Caesar, was, after all, the nobler leader; nor whether Attila at Chalons was a greater general than Aetius, nor why the sword of Brennus turned the scale on that fateful day at Rome.
He is more concerned to know why the Roman legions marched so far, and why the world threw off the imperial yoke.
The causes of wars test yet more deeply than conduct in the field, the characters of peoples, indicate yet more surely what hopes of peace or fears of war lie in the future, to which we are advancing.
The foregoing considerations press on no people on eart