Here I will explain many of the Proverbs and Sayings from ancient Empires and Nations like Latin and Greek, but also some eastern ones. These are found in the Loading Screens of Total War Rome Remastered, which I also compare to the ones from the original TW Rome. Some of the famous historical figures who spoke these are : Cicero, Aristotle, Sun Tzu, Plato, Sophocles, Gaius Julius Caesar.


Video version if you prefer to listen and watch



"Alea iacta est." The die is cast. - Gaius Julius Caesar. This is probably one if not the most famous Latin saying that you can hear on TV, in games or read in books. But if you have ever played Total War, and especially Rome, you know this is but just one of the multitude of proverbs and sayings you can read in this game. Most of them being from Rome, but some from ancient Greece and even far off China, like He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious by Sun Tzu.


I will go through quite a number of these here and explain some of the more obscure ones, and remind you of the most famous ones like Fortes fortuna adiuvat, which translates to Fortune favors the brave. Even my elementary school friends who had very low grades, and didnít even know who they were quoting, would speak this before a test, as if bravery could help them do algebra or name the highest peaks of Alps.


The list of famous generals, philosophers, writers and tacticians who are attributed with speaking these lines is a long one. You can find a whole list and the quotes at a fan page I will link in the description. They are Homer, Sun Tzu, Plato, Cicero, Gaius Julius Caesar but also known military maxims like Divide and Conquere or March divided and fight concentrated.


As you can see the loading screens which feature these sayings and proverbs also have gameplay tips on them. But more importantly, the art on these screens is very different to the art of the original TW Rome. It had a mix of red and black art with gold and silver letters.


To be perfectly honest those seem more artful to me then the backgrounds in the remastered version. But that is just me. And, as Plutarch, a Greek philosopher, wrote Extraordinary rains pretty generally fall after great battles, meaning that after witnessing a great event we are more likely to attribute greatness to even mundane things. So you could say here that because I love original Rome so much, I think that everything in it is better then it might be.


Let us now pick up the pace as there are many of these I want to go through, and start with an easy one by Hermocrates of Syracuse: When there is mutual fear, men think twice before they make aggression upon one another. Basically two equally strong opponents are less likely to do battle because they donít know that they will win beforehand. Todayís assured mutual destruction between nuclear superpowers is a great example of this.


Necessity knows no law except to conquer - Pulibius Syrus who was a Latin writer and a Syrian by birth. You will be surprised to know he is also attributed with : The end justifies the means and Honor among thieves.


Learn to obey before you command -Solon of Athens means that a leader must first be a common soldier and rise through the ranks. He warned of noblemen who lead armies but had no experience in military matters or empathy for the common soldier.


The proper arts of a general are judgement and prudence. Attributed to Tacitus a famous historian and senator from the Roman Empire. Prudence is another word for cautiousness.


Wars are the dread of mothers by Quintus Horatius Flaccus, better known as Horace, who was a famous lyric poet from ancient Rome. I donít think this one needs much explanation.


Varus, give me back my legions! This was uttered by Augustus Caesar after the defeat and annihilation of Varus' column in Teutoberg Forest where he lost so many soldiers that he knew he just lost the grip on the Germanic peoples.


Brave men are a city's strongest tower of defence -Alcaeus of Mytilene was a lyric poet from the Greek island of Lesbos. Direct meaning being that no fortifications can substitute steadfast soldiers.


Silent enim leges inter arma which translates to Laws are silent in times of war. This is attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman and philosopher who tried to uphold republican principles during the political crises that led to the establishment of the Roman Empire. This has proven to be true through the ages and wars.


In war truth is the first casualty, -Aeschylus a Greek author, often described as the father of tragedy. Simply put and direct, it means that you will never find honesty or know the truth of what is going on the battlefield or in a war torn country around it. Leading to what we know today as war crimes.


Hannibal knew how to gain a victory, but not how to use it. These words come from Maharbal, a Numidian army commander in charge of the cavalry under Hannibal and his second-in-command during the Second Punic War. He believed that Hannibal was making a mistake by not marching directly to Rome after defeating itís legions at the Battle of Cannae, which is the most famous example of the Pincer movement.


A good general not only sees the way to victory, he also knows when victory is impossible -Polybius, a famous historian from ancient Greece, who was known for his written works on the history of Rome. Basically donít let your ego blind you and donít go headfirst into a wall.


A collision at sea can ruin your entire day is falsely attributed to Thucydides who was a famous historian, philosopher, and general from ancient Greece, but it was actually Commander W. B. ĎBillí Hayler a prankster at the Naval War College in 1960 who wrote and made up the connection to Thucydides.


It is a bad plan that cannot be altered, -Pulibius Syrus who we already mention. If spoken in a military setting it means that you have to have flexibility to change your plans mid execution to adapt to the changing circumstances on the battlefield.


Who was the first that forged the deadly blade? Of rugged steel his savage soul was made - Tibullus, a Latin poet. This is a part of a poem he wrote and it talks about the dark places in our souls from where or capacity for violence and weapons comes from. Itís much more meta then most of the quotes.


One of my personal favorites is Only the dead have seen the end of the war - Plato the Athenian philosopher who studied under Socrates and whoís most famous student was Aristotle. The meaning is well understood and refers to the belief that as long as there are humans there will be wars, because we invented war. An echo of this can be found in acclaimed Fallout franchise : WarÖ war never changes.


Fas est et ab hoste doceri. It is right to learn, even from the enemy. attributed to Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus and whose meaning needs no interpretation.


To a good general luck is important. -Titus Livius Patavinus, known as Livy, who was a famous Roman historian and through his writings his conclusion was that luck in battles can change the outcome as redelly as experience, bravery or intelligence.


If a man does not strike first, he will be first struck, thought to be said by Athenogoras of Syracuse who lived during the Peloponnesian War. Beyond the undeniable logic of it, it can be used as an excuse for preemptive strikes or vigilante defensive preparations.


Quick decisions are unsafe decisions -Sophocles a famous playwright from ancient Greece, who is known for his tragedies. At least in this he was clear cut, panning trump rash actions.


War, as the saying goes, is full of false alarms -Aristotle, which is similar to a saying I know in my culture which translated to English as: In fear eyes grow large. Both having the meaning that fear makes us jumpy.


Timidi mater non flet. A coward's mother does not weep is a Latin proverb which can double for an insult. In our day and age it would mean that a deserter won't give his mother cause for tears.


The fortunes of war are always doubtful -Seneca. If taken by itís face value it tells us not to rely on luck in times of war. If we go a bit deeper it can also mean that those who gain fortunes during war times might actually be criminals.


Let them hate us as long as they fear us is attributed to Caligula the third Roman emperor who by some accounts became a tyrant and a mad man after his close call with death. Basically he doesnít care about being loved, as long as his power is undisputed.


Another of my favorite quotes is certainly The cruelty of war makes for peace -Pulibius Syrus. He makes a great point about the fact that the value of peace is most appreciated by those who have witnessed first hand the atrocities people commit in war to each other.


Victory loves prudence is another Latin proverb which tells anyone who wants to be victorious that they first need to be prepared for anything.


A general is not easily overcome who can form a true judgement of his own and the enemy's forces. Funnily enough this is by Vegetius a writer of the Later Roman Empire and not some battlefield commander. It almost sounds like one of the quotes by Sun Tzu, and it refers to the ability of a general to be objective.


The valiant profit more their country than the finest, cleverest speakers -Plautus tells us, of course in military terms, that a country will have far more use out of its valiant citizens then the citizens who only do battle with their words. But in my opinion we should strive to make this opposite.


In war we must always leave room for strokes of fortune, and accidents that cannot be foreseen. This is attributed to Polybius who I already mentioned, and he talks about planning which has to account for both lucky and unlucky happenstances which we should expect to happen in war.


Conquered, we conquer - Plautus. This requires knowing more about the historical context in which it was spoken. The conquered here are the peoples of different city states in the Italian peninsula who lived free until Rome, a city state itself conquered them. We conquer then means that these now subjugated peoples, fight in Romeís armies and conquer other nations for the glory of Rome.


Ah! The generals! They are numerous but not good for much! by the author Aristophanes isnít as much a military comment but a social one. It refers to a whole cast of generals who gained power and influence through success on the battlefield but contributed nothing to the culture of the society they safeguarded. There is some through in this, but itís not universal.


To lead untrained people to war is to throw them away is a saying from Confucius, a Chinese philosopher and politician who detested mass drafting and forcing simple peasants into military service. We would call them cannon fodder today and Confucius publicly spoke against such actions.


Because there are many more I would like to cover, but I know there is a limit to my readers patience, I will continue the rest in a follow up post. I hope you have enjoyed this one and I will leave you with this Greek Proverb:


A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.


Thank you for reading and happy gaming!