Latin expressions explained (20): Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Latin expressions explained (20): Si vis pacem, para bellum.

This expression, which dates back to the 5th century and apparently comes from the Roman writer Vegetius, obviously has its context in the decline of the Roman Empire and its struggles against barbarian peoples. It expresses the idea that one should not remain unprepared, without a plan, or without action when facing threats.

The best response to repeated aggression is preparation. Thus, peace can only be achieved if one is capable of making war. The peace that a country desires can only be achieved if that country has the means to wage war. The enemy prefers to negotiate peace rather than risk engaging in war. Weakness, on the other hand, encourages the enemy to reject peace and fight.

Therefore, si vis pacem, para bellum means « if you want peace, prepare for war » so as not to be caught off guard, and especially to force the enemy to think twice. The expression has long since moved beyond its original military meaning to spread into other domains such as law, business, and politics…

Instead of displaying your weakness in this matter vis-à-vis your opponent, prepare your response: si vis pacem, para bellum.

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4 commentaires sur “Latin expressions explained (20): Si vis pacem, para bellum.”

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