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Latin Tuesday

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Today’s Latin Tuesday lesson from David Wilezol:

Tacitus, Agricolae, 98

“Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.”

“To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call these things empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

A listener named Alan reminded me of this quote. This is a famous section from the historian Tacitus in which a barbarian chief named Calgacus describes the Roman appetite for conquest and plunder. There’s some salience here about political language during wartime, but I think the part about “they make a desert, and call it peace” gets at a pretty tough idea — pacification cannot always be done through diplomacy. Sometimes you’ve got to be really tough, and I’m wondering about the West’s willingness to be tough on radical Islam. 

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