The ancient Greek statesman and general Alcibiades once likened his career to the lives of the mythical half-brothers Castor and Pollux. 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:Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
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.
[To read the rest of the article, click here.]
My new book, Sallust: The Conspiracy Of Catiline And The War Of Jugurtha, is now available. Find out more by clicking here.
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.).
The great Theban general Epaminondas is most famous for his crushing victory over the Spartans in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 B.C. With this battle the long military influence of Sparta on the Greek peninsula was brought to an end. He was a man of few words; but when he did speak, his words were worth recording. The historian Cornelius Nepos relates two anecdotes that are revealing of his character and temperament.
Datames was a general and political leader (satrap) who was born in Asia Minor in the region of Caria. We do not know the exact date of his birth; we do know he was assassinated in 362 B.C. He had a high reputation in antiquity for his generalship and battlefield tactics. The short biography by the Latin historian Cornelius Nepos is one of the few intact sources we have about him. Nepos relates the following anecdote about a stratagem Datames used to destroy, in one stroke, those who had betrayed him and those who opposed him in war.