Posted by Serge Liberman on February 17, 2005
In Reply to: Peace, posted by ESC on June 05, 2004 posted by Bernell Bircher on February 17, 2005
Just one minute comment in response.
Yes, you are right in your attribution of the saying to Vegetius and in your rendering it in Latin, but in what appears to be one of two versions.
According to my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Vegetius (4th-5th Cent) actually wrote, "Qui desiderai pacem, praeparei bellum" -"Let him who desires peace, prepare for war". A footnote to the entry, however, states that Vegetius' comment is nonetheless is more usually cited in the form you have posted: namely, Si vis pacem, para bellum."
I wonder what was the historical and political context at the time that prompted Vegetius to write this, especially as, if I'm not mistaken, he appears to have lived around the time of the Roman imperial decline and spread of Christianity.
Any comments on this?