March 30, 1994
ALL'S FAIR in love and war, we hear at a tender age. Though this is tempered by schoolboy concepts of fair play and never hit a man when he's down. Fair play is reasonable if you don't mean to win at any cost and the other guy doesn't mean to kill you, but all that goes by the board in any genuine confrontation. Juvenile tussles are one thing; a real fight is definitely something else. And so is real love and real hatred and anything else that's real. You don't learn to play poker by wagering matchsticks. Vae victis, or, as we say in English: Losers weepers.
Vae Victis "woe to the vanquished," quoted by Livy (59 BC to AD 17) , History, v. xlviii. 9 of Brennus, a chief of the Gauls in 390 BC when arranging terms of peace. When the Romans complained that the Gauls were using excessive weights in measuring the amount of gold the Romans were to pay, Brennus threw his sword among the weights, exclaiming, "Vae victis," meaning that he, not they, was dictating the terms.
"All's fair in love and war," quotes Frank Farleigh (1850, by Francis Edward Smedley, 1818 - 1864) and is the popular paraphrase of "Love and War are the same thing, and stratagems and polity are as allowable in the one as in the other." - Miguel de Cervantes (1547 - 1616), Don Quixote (1605 -1615)
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