Swords Don’t Kill People . . .

Seneca the Younger

courtesy bdtorino.eu

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est,” or “Just as a sword by itself does not slay; it is merely the weapon used by the slayer.”Lucius Annaeus Seneca in Epistle LXXXVII [via loebclassics.com]


[h/t John Dingell III]


  1. avatar Kenneth says:

    Always it has been thus. Apparently there were insane ‘progressives’ around, who blamed inanimate objects for the acts of evil men, even 2 millennia ago. One would hope the human race could have learned a little something in 2000 years, but….. nope.
    Strange ‘progress’ indeed.

    1. avatar Shire-man says:

      Nothing ever changes. Instead of stories at a campfire we have Youtube. Instead of dying from infection we have cancer. Instead of fearing vengeful gods we have a vengeful climate. Instead of burning books we have websites to block. Instead of racist whites demanding blacks only lunch counters racist blacks are demanding whites only lunch counters. Someday we’ll be finding witches to hunt on off world colonies. People absolutely never ever change. The environment in which they live may morph but the people are still petty, selfish, afraid and awfully stupid.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Careful, the climate is watching.

        1. avatar California Richard says:

          HERESY!!!! Only 6.5 CM is vengeful and all seeing!!

      2. avatar Ingenero says:

        In the dark future, there is only war…you’re right, and that’s why Warhammer 40k has a following. People instinctively know that we get more technology and information, but human nature never changes. We did it once, and will probably make the same mistakes again.

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          The best that can be desired is that enough/some humans (Americans) are properly armed when the The Arachnids/Borg/Ori/Chestbursters/Weeping Angels/__________ arrive. And the gov;t doesn’t surrender.

        2. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

          I wouldn’t know…I still play Supreme Commander: Foraged alliance with my brother and his kids….A great Old RTS game that still demands a good cpu/gpu combo..
          My bro does mods and maps….After I’m done with the PC ill fire up a round of Doom/Fallout 4/Diablo 3 on the XBOX one….

      3. avatar Kenneth says:

        “The masses continue with an appetite for benefits and the habit of receiving them by way of a rule of force and violence. The people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others… institute the rule of violence; and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch.”
        Does this not apply today just as much as it did when Polybius wrote it, some 2100 years ago?

      4. avatar Azics says:

        Instead of sacrificing a child to ensure a good harvest, we have abortion to ensure:
        “I can finish college”
        “I can continue to advance my career”
        “I can still afford the lifestyle I want”

    2. avatar BLAMMO says:

      You would think the human race would have learned the lessons of the 20th Century. During which, tens of millions of unarmed people were enslaved and killed by their own governments. And the 21st Century isn’t starting out too bad for brutal tyrants and genocidal dictators.

      1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

        Blammo……..And beware of the true motives behind those that want to disarm others. That never changes. Crooks love honest people, dictators need disarmed populace.

        1. avatar Ingenero says:

          Caesar found that out the hard way. If only he’d made the Roman Senate a knife-free zone…

  2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    But we can all agree that there are some people who shouldn’t have swords…

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Caesar was a reform neo-liberal dictator who who won a civil war against the conservatives who were trying preserve the old republic…. the man needed himself some back stabbery.

      1. avatar Ingenero says:

        Sadly, it ended with the end of the old republic, and began the Imperium, ruled by a literal God-Emperor. The state as God…things never change.

    2. avatar Gunr says:

      .9mm swords are OK though.

      1. avatar Diksum says:

        A .9mm sword would be pretty small!

  3. avatar Casey says:

    But I think we can all agree that nobody NEEDS an assault sword that can stab 30 times a second with the thing on the pommel that goes up, right?

    1. avatar jwm says:

      What are you compensating for with that 32 inch blade on your sword?

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        The Praetorian Guard annual Uniform Crime Report showed that 95% of crime was committed with disposable single hand daggers and swords with an overall length less than 32″. All two handed long swords (which included so called “assault swords”) acounted for half as many murders as hands and feet! (which was probably true)

        But fear not fine citizen! One day 6.5 CM’s BC will be so good that it will travel faster than light, go back to ancient Rome, and set things right!

        1. avatar Jeh says:

          Dont forget the carthaginian interference in our senate elections!

        2. avatar Anymouse says:

          “My mother said violence never solves anything.” “So?” Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly. “I’m sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that.”

  4. avatar C.S. says:

    As our modern Communists would say, “But it’s _so_ much easier to kill someone with a gun…”

    The real truth is that it’s _so_ much easier to kill someone who isn’t armed at all.

  5. avatar Keith says:

    The wisdom from the Ancient Romans is still appropriate today yet the lessons of history are lost on the left or perhaps just ignored!

  6. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Since we can’t roll the culture back to a more rational time, and since we can’t fix mental illness, and since we can’t know who is about to explode in a violent rage, and because we can’t know what those deplorables in “the heartland” are up to, banning swords (and kitchen knives, even table knives) is the “common sense” thing to do.

    For the children.

  7. avatar Skippy Sanchez says:

    “Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?
    Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it?
    That would be like a club wielding those who lift it,
    Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.”
    Isaiah 10:15

    1. avatar Nanashi says:

      1 Samuel 13:19: “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!””

  8. avatar TFred says:

    Here’s the full quote. I think this guy would have been a Trump supporter! 😀 Apparently the call to blame the wealthy for poor people’s problems goes back 2,000 years as well. The interesting thing about this quote is that the author uses the common sense observation about the criminal using the weapon to illustrate his point. Different than today where that common sense observation IS the point WE are trying to make.

    28. “That which, while we are desiring to attain it, involves us in many evils, is not a good. But while we are desiring to attain riches, we become involved in many evils; therefore, riches are not a good,”[19] “Your first premiss,” they say, “contains two meanings; one is: we become involved in many evils while we are desiring to attain riches. But we also become involved in many evils while we are desiring to attain virtue. One man, while travelling in order to prosecute his studies, suffers shipwreck, and another is taken captive. 29. The second meaning is as follows: that through which we become involved in evils is not a good. And it will not logically follow from our proposition that we become involved in evils through riches or through pleasure; otherwise, if it is through riches that we become involved in many evils, riches are not only not a good, but they are positively an evil. You, however, maintain merely that they are not a good. Moreover,” the objector says, “you grant that riches are of some use. You reckon them among the advantages; and yet on this basis they cannot even be an advantage, for it is through the pursuit of riches that we suffer much disadvantage.” 30. Certain men answer this objection as follows: “You are mistaken if you ascribe disadvantages to riches. Riches injure no one; it is a man’s own folly, or his neighbour’s wickedness, that harms him in each case, just as a sword by itself does not slay; it is merely the weapon used by the slayer. Riches themselves do not harm you, just because it is on account of riches that you suffer harm.”


    1. avatar Andrew Lews says:

      Can you or someone else who could actually understand what this quote is saying please translate it into modern English?

      Sincerely the idiot in the corner.

  9. avatar Darkman says:

    “To crush your enemies…to see them driven before you…and to hear the lamentation of their women”. That is what is best in life.

    1. avatar DesertDave says:

      ++ a thousand times + this ^^^^

      Conan lives!

  10. avatar GunnyGene says:

    “In the dimness of the shadows
    Where we hairy heathens warred,
    I can taste in thought the lifeblood;
    We used teeth before the sword. ”


    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Good one. Thanks.

      The partial poem GC Scott quotes in the movie is from a much longer tome. The entire thing is worth reading.

      1. avatar GunnyGene says:

        You’re welcome. I wish I could find a reading by Scott of the entire poem. There are several readings I’ve found by others, but none come close to the strength of Scotts abbreviated version in the movie.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “…none come close to the strength of Scotts abbreviated version in the movie.”

          Agree. The movie was what got me interested in reading Patton. Fortunately, there are no readings of Patton, by Patton. That high pitched, almost whiny, voice is a mood killer. There was a book by one of his descendants, called “The Pattons” I think. Nice look into an interesting formative period for the general, but about what army life was like for officers, prior to WW2.

  11. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    The Right to Keep and Bear a Gladius/Spatha…

  12. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    I’m more partial to the Makiara, Kopis, wakizashi, Falchion, Kukri, or Kopesh….

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “I’m more partial to the Makiara, Kopis, wakizashi, Falchion, Kukri, or Kopesh….”

      I drift more toward Alfred E. Newman

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

        “I drift more toward Alfred E. Newman”

        What? He worry?

        *snicker* 😉

  13. avatar Nanashi says:

    There’s also “Accensum qui pedicat urit mentulam” or “Don’t do crazy chicks”

  14. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    The gay Greeks are just as tyrannical today as they were back then. (Smile)

  15. avatar quasimojo says:

    “The blade itself incites to deeds of violence.” – Homer The Odyssey

    Unfortunately, the stupidity seems to have had at least a millenea head start on our boy Senneca…

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