DO OR DIE
The great German historian Theodor Mommsen said of Pompey, Caesar’s opponent in the Roman civil war, “He lacked no condition for grasping at the crown except the first of all -- true kingly courage.” In fighting, too, “true kingly courage” is the first of all conditions. Napoleon said: “The essential quality of a general-in-chief…is the determination to win at all costs.”
The Macedonian deserter Amyntas said the Persian king Darius: “Alexander is sure to come wherever he hears Darius to be.” Such resolve communicates itself and weakens that of your opponent.
To fight without resolve, to be fainthearted and engage in half-measures, is to increase the likelihood of defeat. The more determined you are to prevail, and the more determinedly you proceed, the less risk you run. In his commentaries, Caesar often remarks, “Our only hope of safety lay in courage.”
Time and again, the opponents of Caesar, Napoleon, Richelieu, and Gates could have been victorious had they simply not been too afraid to attack. Mommsen also said, “On those who lack courage, the gods lavish every favor and every gift in vain.”
You must remain resolute even while down, must be resilient and stout-hearted. Caesar observed that the Gauls were “eager to start wars, but their minds are soft and lacking in determination when it comes to enduring defeats.”
I give two examples of “Do or Die.” The first is Caesar’s attack on the Gallic town of Alesia, into which the leader of the Gallic rebellion, Vercingetorix, had fled; while the Romans besieged Alesia, 250,000 Gauls besieged the Romans. The second is one of the decisive battles of the Roman civil war, that of Munda in Spain.