Monday, November 3, 2008

a struggle which is ruinous for the victor

Pyrrhus of Epirus [318-272 BCE] took 20 Asian elephants to Italy in 279 BCE to confront the Romans [Image source here]

John Dryden's [1631-1700] translation of Roman historian Plutarch's [46-120 CE] Pyrrhus, 75 CE:
... they had fought till sunset, both armies were unwillingly separated by the night, Pyrrhus being wounded by a javelin in the arm, and his baggage plundered by the Samnites, that in all there died of Pyrrhus's men and the Romans above fifteen thousand. The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one other such would utterly undo him. For he had lost a great part of the forces he brought with him, and almost all his particular friends and principal commanders; there were no others there to make recruits, and he found the confederates in Italy backward.