Xenophon of Athens lived between 430 – 354 BC and was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, and student of Socrates. I have a copy of his book “Anabasis” a true story of ten thousand Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger, who intended to seize the throne of Persia in 401 BC. The expedition failure and the 10,000 had to fight their way back to Greece making ad hoc decisions about their leadership, tactics while hostile natives barred their way and attacked their flanks. A classic read for the military enthusiast who will see many of the basic problems they faced then are the virtually the same in today’s world.
I am a great believer in learning from history, especially where military or security strategies and tactics are concerned. And this quote is as relevant today as it was over 2000 years ago!
So, if they knew over 2000 years ago that to kill an enemy accuracy with their weapons counted for everything why today, with weapons Xenophon could not imagine, people still can not draw a pistol from a holster and hit the head of a target at 7 meters/yards? Maybe 2000 years ago these guys trained a lot harder, understood violence a lot better and liked living. I tell my students to end a confrontation quickly with a gun, knife or empty hands you have to be hitting vital organs or bones. So, when training always remember: Fast is fine but accuracy is everything!
Xenophon (ca. 430 to ca. 354 BCE) was a wealthy Athenian and friend of Socrates. He left Athens in 401 and joined an expedition including ten thousand Greeks led by the Persian governor Cyrus against the Persian king. After the defeat of Cyrus, it fell to Xenophon to lead the Greeks from the gates of Babylon back to the coast through inhospitable lands.