The Leadership Principles Of Iphicrates

History distinguishes the Athenian general Iphicrates for the superlative quality of his leadership, the extent of his martial innovations, and his understanding of the psychological dimension of war.  He lived from about 418 B.C. to 353 B.C.  We will discuss some of the leadership principles that may be distilled from the writings of two ancient historians, Cornelius Nepos and Polyaenus.

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The Testimony Of Language

The words and syntax of a speaker are as revelatory of identity as a fingerprint, a ballistics test, and a DNA sample are to a criminologist.  The critical inquiries of the scholar, or the practiced eye of the native speaker, will as readily deduce the origin of a written text from an examination of its lexicon and constructions, as might a forensics scientist derive a wealth of information from a study of a fragment of bone, a scrap of tissue, or a tuft of hair.  While this truth has not often been appreciated, it remains one that has been consistently demonstrated.  We will discuss three examples that illustrate our proposition.

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All Opportunity For The Good, Yet None For The Unworthy

Philo of Alexandria wrote a relatively obscure essay entitled On the Prayers And Curses Uttered by Noah When He Became Sober.  His translator has fortunately shortened this unwieldy title to the compact De Sobrietate, or On Sobriety.  It contains the following passage of importance:

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Alive Today, Dead Tomorrow, Then Alive Again

The ancient Greek statesman and general Alcibiades once likened his career to the lives of the mythical half-brothers Castor and Pollux.[1]  These two figures are together called the Dioscuri, and they are attended by many stories and fables, some of which are contradictory or ambiguous.  According to myth, the Dioscuri are alive and dead on alternate days.  Homer says:

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The Audiobook Of “Lives Of The Great Commanders” Is Now Available

The audiobook of Lives of the Great Commanders is now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  This new, original translation of Cornelius Nepos’s Lives of the Great Commanders is the first to appear in nearly a century, and has been almost single-handedly responsible for renewing interest in this long-neglected classic.

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The Illustrated, Annotated Translation Of Cornelius Nepos’s “Lives Of The Great Commanders” Is Now Available

My fully illustrated and annotated translation of Cornelius Nepos’s Lives of the Great Commanders was published on September 20, 2019.  It is available in paperback, hardcover, audiobook, and Kindle editions.

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Coming In 2019: A New Translation Of Cornelius Nepos’s “Lives Of The Great Commanders”

Fortress of the Mind Publications is pleased to announce that 2019 will see the release of the first  illustrated, annotated translation of Cornelius Nepos’s Lives of the Great Commanders to appear in modern English.

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It Only Takes A Few Men To Change History

With the proper motivation and preparation, small numbers of men can do great things.  Numeric limitation is but one part of the equation.  This fact will be illustrated by a story that appears in Cornelius Nepos’s brief biography of a Theban commander named Pelopidas.

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My new book, Sallust:  The Conspiracy Of Catiline And The War Of Jugurtha, is now available.  Find out more by clicking here.

The Dangers Arising From One’s Subordinates: The Case Of Eumenes

No matter how much ability a commander may have, his purposes will ultimately come to nothing if he is surrounded by discontented or disloyal associates.  It was for this reason that, as the historian Sallust relates, the Roman general Metellus decided to send his disloyal subordinate Marius back to Rome.  A further example of this is provided by the career of the Greek general Eumenes of Cardia (362–316 B.C.).

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