And in fact Sertorius is said to have been of a temper unassailable either by fear or pleasure, in adversity and dangers undaunted, and noways puffed up with prosperity. In straightforward fighting, no commander in his time was more bold and daring, and in whatever was to be performed in war by stratagem, secrecy, or surprise, if any strong place was to be secured, any pass to be gained speedily, for deceiving and overreaching an enemy, there was no man equal to him in subtlety and skill. In bestowing rewards and conferring honours upon those who had performed good service in the wars, he was bountiful and magnificent, and was no less sparing and moderate in inflicting punishment. It is true that that piece of harshness and cruelty which he executed in the latter part of his days upon the Spanish hostages seems to argue that his clemency was not natural to him, but only worn as a dress, and employed upon calculation, as his occasion or necessity required. As to my own opinion, I am persuaded that pure virtue, established by reason and judgment, can never be totally perverted or changed into its opposite, by any misfortune whatever. Yet I think it at the same time possible that virtuous inclinations and natural good qualities may, when unworthily oppressed by calamities, show, with change of fortune, some change and alteration of their temper; and thus I conceive it happened to Sertorius, who, when prosperity failed him, became exasperated by his disasters against those who had done him wrong.

Quintus Sertorius (c. 123–72 BC,  a Roman statesman and general) on an otherwise virtuous man falling towards cruelty and anger when pressed upon. Plutarch, Quitnus Sertorius, Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (c. 75-100 AD) John Dryden translation.

As I mentioned previously, Quintus Sertorius is one of many examples in Roman history of the reluctant leader. Sertorius desired a simple life at home with his family, but out of deep devotion to his country he took up arms and served the Empire. Then, upon serving Rome, he did not revel in glory or power but instead kept still in his heart the contentedness of a humble man.

But even a humble man’s temper and disposition can be tested, and his patience wane. When so tested, do we lash out in anger? It can certainly happen, when pushed to the brink. However, I think whether or not we make amends is the pressing question. After loosing our cool and acting out of hostility do we let it lie, too proud to go back and admit error and apologize? Or do we own up to our anger and seek redress from those who bore its brunt?

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