Je voulais connaître l’origine de cette citation attribuée à Thucydide:

A nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its laws made by cowards and its wars fought by fools

dont on ne trouve aucune trace dans The History of the Peloponnesian War.

Après quelques recherches, j’ai trouvé la phrase qui a inspiré cette falsification (Butler, 1893, 85):

The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking; man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking; by cowards.

Elle fait partie d’une série de citations erronées de Thucydide relevées par Morley (2013, ici 32):

The usual response by those opposed to “Neo-Realist” or “Neoconservative” readings of Thucydides has been to argue for a more nuanced and detailed reading of the text in place of a few decontextualized and misinterpreted maxims, but such a response—however historically and philologically credible within academic circles—is entirely inadequate in the face of the rhetorical power of “bumper sticker philosophy” in the sphere of public discourse.


Butler, William Francis. 1889. Charles George Gordon. Vol. vi, 255 p.English men of action. London and New York: Macmillan and co.

Morley, Neville. 2013. « Thucydides Quote Unquote. » Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics 20 (3): 9-36.

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