There are times in life for calm reflection, and there are also times for ruthless and decisive action. When a man is faced with external danger and is being pressed by a crisis, he must act with speed and decision. The following anecdote, described in Appian’s Spanish Wars (VI.7), demonstrates why Scipio Africanus is eminently deserving of the accolades that historians have accorded him. For he was not only a commander of prudence and wise judgment; he knew how to draw the sword when the situation called for it.
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