Virgil on the Laws of War | Harper's Magazine

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Virgil on the Laws of War



Quod genus hoc hominum? Quaeve hunc tam barbara morem permittit patria? Hospitio prohibemur harenae; bella cient primaque vetant consistere terra. Si genus humanum et mortalia temnitis arma, at sperate deos memores fandi atque nefandi.

What species of human beings are these? What nation is so sunken into barbarity as to permit this conduct? They deny us the hospitality of the shore; they make war upon us to prevent us from reaching the land’s edge. You who despise humanity and the rules of arms, remember: the Gods keep count of your transgressions.

Publius Vergilius Maro, Aeneid bk i, 539-43 (19 BCE)(S.H. transl.)

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