A few months ago the US President was photographed crawling on the floor of the Oval Office, playing with a baby. This was seen as inappropriate by many as the Head of State isn’t supposed to be seen on his knees, especially inside the White house.
Let me remind you of a short story from Ancient Greece. It involves a great king of the 4th c.BC
Agesilaus, the feared and respected leader of mighty Sparta, was famous for being very loving and affectionate with his kids. When his children were very young he used to play with them, doing ‘stupid’ things, rolling on the floor and generally behaving in a non-serious, non-‘kingly’ fashion; even in public.
One day, while playing with his children out on his front yard, he was pretending to be a horse that his kids would ride. One of his friends saw him. He was shocked to see a Spartan king on his knees!
Agesilaus told his friend: “Please don’t judge me before you become a father too.”
‘A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later’
I consider him to be one of the top 5 field commanders in the history of the United States Army and definitely their most successful combat General.
You would always see him where fighting was fiercest, carrying his trademark ivory-handled revolver on his hips (yep, that was his side-arm).
This unorthodox but determined soldier was exactly what the Allies needed right after D-Day.
Patton’s armor and infantry rushed through German lines cutting through enemy territory winning amazing victories and capturing one town after the other -spreading panic and confusion to Wermacht soldiers.
‘Always do everything you ask of those you command’
While at a conference with his officers he declared: ‘Some goddamn fool once said that flanks have got to be secure. Since then sonofabitches all over the globe have been guarding their flanks. I don’t agree with that. My flanks are something for the enemy to worry about, not me. Before he finds out where my flanks are, I’ll be cutting the bastard’s throat.’
He attacked, attacked and then attacked again! His armored divisions roared through six different countries! France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria; his Shermans were rolling… Patton trained one of the most famous military units of the US Army, the 2nd Armored Division, nicknamed “Hell on Wheels”. On March the 2nd, 1945 a message from General Dwight Eisenhower instructed Patton to bypass the German city of Trier because it would take four divisions to capture it. Patton’s answer was: ‘Have taken Trier with two divisions. What do you want me to do? Give it back?’ Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, added: ‘The American generals showed themselves to be very advanced in the tactical handling of their forces, although we had to wait until the Patton Army in France to see the most astonishing achievements in mobile warfare.’
Ok, we all know that people have strengths and weaknesses. But there are times in our lives that our strengths must prevail. Patton is famous for:
His refusal to accept defeat as an option.
His determination to maintain the initiative.
His determination to be in total control.
His determination to win!
‘Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory’
Check out how Britain declared war on Japan. It’s the official text as dictated by W.Churchill himself. So classy! As Winston later stated:
“Some people did not like this ceremonial style. But after all when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.”
I repeat, this is the original text and nothing was added or altered…
On the evening of December 7th His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom learned that Japanese forces without previous warning either in the form of a declaration of war or of an ultimatum with a conditional declaration of war had attempted a landing on the coast of Malaya and bombed Singapore and Hong Kong.
In view of these wanton acts of unprovoked aggression committed in flagrant violation of International Law and particularly of Article I of the Third Hague Convention relative to the opening of hostilities, to which both Japan and the United Kingdom are parties, His Majesty’s Ambassador at Tokyo has been instructed to inform the Imperial Japanese Government in the name of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom that a state of war exists between our two countries.
Back in the summer of 495 B.C a victorious Spartan army marches against the defenseless city of Argos. A few hours earlier that army annihilated the army of Argos. Now, the Spartan king Kleomenes leads his hoplites against the city which is empty of troops. They think it’s all over. It was. The army of Argos was wiped out. The Spartans; they just have to walk into the city.
The women of Argos think differently. Led by the poetess Telesilla they gather all arms they could find in the city and take up battle positions on the walls!
Telesilla manages to raise the moral of the women of Argos and now the wives and daughters of the soldiers of Argos decide that the war is not over yet…
Telesilla was one of the most famous poetesses of the Peloponnesus. As a young girl she always looked thin and weak. Definitely not the hero type. This didn’t stop her from grabbing shield & sword, putting a helmet on and facing the war machine of the ancient times: the mighty Spartans!
When Kleomenes reached the walls of Argos he noticed that all battle stations were manned. By women…
The king -after hesitating for a bit- decided to walk away.
If the Spartans were victorious this wouldn’t exactly be a celebration of their military honor.
If they failed to take the city then the shame would be too much to bare.The only solution was to retreat.
No general exercising imperium could cross the Rubicon without the concession of the Senate. Sometimes the Senate would ‘humiliate a general by letting him wait there infinitely. Imperium was power vested by the Senate. Period.
Everyone knew: the eagle of Rome seen on top of the standards of Legions is based upon four letters: S P Q R
That was the might of the Roman Republic: the Senate was governing. And the Senate was under the rule of the law.
Everyone was under the rule of the law!
Everybody knew that: dura lex, sed lex
January, 49 BC:
In my eyes the Republic’s death sentence was signed when J.Caesar crossed the Rubicon, courtesy of Legio XIII Gemina. (The Thirteenth Legion was fanatically loyal to Julius).
Caesar, after hesitating for a few hours, waited no more for the rest of his army. One legion was enough. He made his decision and shouted out to his officers two Greek words: “Ανερρίφθω κύβος” (Let the die be cast). He was marching to Rome and there was no turning back.
The famous Thirteen Legion, LEGIO TERTIA DECIMA GEMINA, (waiting at that time in Ravenna) was the only one available to Julius. 5000 foot-soldiers, 300 cavalry-men. They were all battle-hardened veterans that went through thick and thin together with their general during the campaigns in Gaul. They were now more than ready to follow Caesar to Rome herself!