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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Chapter 7: Generals and soldiers
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In the choice of kings they are determined by the splendour of their race, in that of generals by their bravery. Neither is the power of their kings unbounded or arbitrary: and their generals procure obedience not so much by the force of their authority as by that of their example, when they appear enterprising and brave, when they signalise themselves by courage and prowess; and if they surpass all in admiration and pre-eminence, if they surpass all at the head of an army. But to none else but the priests is it allowed to exercise correction, or to inflict bonds or stripes. Nor when the Priests do this, is the same considered as a punishment, or arising from the orders of the general, but from the immediate command of the Deity, Him whom they believe to accompany them in war. They therefore carry with them when going to fight, certain images and figures taken out of their holy groves. What proves the principal incentive to their valour is, that it is not at random nor by the fortuitous conflux of men that their troops and pointed battalions are formed, but by the conjunction of whole families, and tribes of relations. Moreover, close to the field of battle are lodged all the nearest and most interesting pledges of nature. Hence they hear the doleful howlings of their wives, hence the cries of their tender infants. These are to each particular the witnesses whom he most reverences and dreads; these yield him the praise which affect him most. Their wounds and maims they carry to their mothers, or to their wives, neither are their mothers or wives shocked in telling, or in sucking their bleeding sores [Note 3]. Nay, to their husbands and sons whilst engaged in battle, they administer meat and encouragement.|
(3) Nec illae numerare aut exigere plagas pavent.
|Reges ex nobilitate, duces ex virtute sumunt. Nec regibus infinita aut libera potestas, et duces exemplo potius quam imperio, si prompti, si conspicui, si ante aciem agant, admiratione praesunt. Ceterum neque animadvertere neque vincire, ne verberare quidem nisi sacerdotibus permissum, non quasi in poenam nec ducis iussu, sed velut deo imperante, quem adesse bellantibus credunt. Effigiesque et signa quaedam detracta lucis in proelium ferunt; quodque praecipuum fortitudinis incitamentum est, non casus, nec fortuita conglobatio turmam aut cuneum facit, sed familiae et propinquitates; et in proximo pignora, unde feminarum ululatus audiri, unde vagitus infantium. Hi cuique sanctissimi testes, hi maximi laudatores. Ad matres, ad coniuges vulnera ferunt; nec illae numerare aut exigere plagas pavent, cibosque et hortamina pugnantibus gestant.|