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Friday, September 3, 2021

History’s Tools: The Pen and the Sword

“Cease quoting laws to us for we carry swords.” ~ Pompey the Great’s warning to Roman Senators during Sulla’s civil war (82 BC) which saw the massacre of thousands of Romans, including senators.

The man who wrote the cliche, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” probably never carried a sword. He probably did not understand the great power that men who carry swords possess to change the course of history through wars, civil wars, massacres, and assassinations. The pen wilders have the power to change history too. There are numerous instances in history when the pen wilders have immobilized the sword wilders through negotiations, abstruse legalism, rationalizations, and endless arguments and counterarguments.

Both—the pen and the sword—are equally powerful tools for making history. There are times when the pen prevails and there are times when the sword does.

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