Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/282

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mate military skill may be traced in his campaigns; and he relied far less on the brute force of armies for the aggrandizement of his empire, than on the unbounded influence over the affections of friends and the fears of foes, which his genius enabled him to acquire. Austerely sober in his private life, — severely just on the judgment-seat, — conspicuous among a nation of warriors for hardihood, strength, and skill in every martial exercise, — grave and deliberate in counsel, but rapid and remorseless in execution, — he gave safety and security to all who were under his dominion, while he waged a warfare of extermination against all who opposed or sought to escape from it. He watched the national passions, the prejudices, the creeds, and the superstitions of the varied nations over which he ruled, and of those which he sought to reduce beneath his sway: all these feelings he had the skill to turn to his own account. His own warriors believed him to be the inspired favourite of their deities, and followed him with fanatic zeal: his enemies looked on him as the pre-appointed minister of heaven's wrath against themselves; and though they believed not in his creed, their own made them tremble before him.

In one of his early campaigns he appeared before his troops with an ancient iron sword in his