Sequitur, ut, utrum de agris an de urbibus utilior tiro sit, requiramus. de qua parte numquam credo potuisse dubitari aptiorem armis rusticam plebem, quae sub divo et in labore nutritur, solis patiens, umbrae neglegens, balnearum nescia, deliciarum ignara, simplicis animi, parvo contenta, duratis ad omnem laborum tolerantiam membris, cui gestare ferrum, fossam ducere, onus ferre consuetudo de rure est. interdum tamen necessitas exigit etiam urbanos ad arma compelli, qui ubi nomen dedere militiae, primum laborare, decurrere, portare pondus et solem pulveremque ferre condiscant, parco victu utantur et rustico, interdum sub divo interdum sub papilionibus commorentur. tunc demum ad usum erudiantur armorum, et, si longior expeditio emergit, in agrariis plurimum detinendi sunt proculque habendi a civitatis illecebris, ut eo modo et corporibus eorum robur accedat et animis.
(Vegetius, De Re Militari 1.3)

We shall next examine whether the city or the country produces the best and most capable soldiers. No one, I imagine, can doubt that the peasants are the most fit to carry arms for they from their infancy have been exposed to all kinds of weather and have been brought up to the hardest labor. They are able to endure the greatest heat of the sun, are unacquainted with the use of baths, and are strangers to the other luxuries of life. They are simple, content with little, inured to all kinds of fatigue, and prepared in some measure for a military life by their continual employment in their countrywork, in handling the spade, digging trenches and carrying burdens. In cases of necessity, however, they are sometimes obliged to make levies in the cities. And these men, as soon as enlisted, should be taught to work on entrenchments, to march in ranks, to carry heavy burdens, and to bear the sun and dust. Their meals should be coarse and moderate; they should be accustomed to lie sometimes in the open air and sometimes in tents. After this, they should be instructed in the use of their arms. And if any long expedition is planned, they should be encamped as far as possible from the temptations of the city. By these precautions their minds, as well as their bodies, will properly be prepared for the service. (tr. John Clarke)

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