Aristotle on walls for a city.

“As regards walls, those who deny that cities laying claim to virtue should have them have overly old-fashioned conceptions — especially when they see the cities that have pretensions of that sort refuted by fact.

Possibly it is not a noble thing to seek preservation from attackers who are similar and not much greater in numbers by means of the fortification of walls. But since it happens — and is [always] possible — that the preeminence of the attacker is greater than virtue that is [only] human and resident in a few [who make up the citizen body], the safest fortification of walls must be supposed to be what most accord with military expertise, if the city is to be preserved and not suffer any ills or be arrogantly treated…

To claim that cities do not merit having walls around them is like seeking to have the territory ready of access and mountainous places removed — it is like not having walls for private houses on the grounds that the inhabitants will become unmanly…

For just as the attackers pay attention to the ways they can gain the upper hand, so in the case of the defenders some things have been discovered already, while others should be sought out and investigated by them. For men will not even attempt an attack in the first place against those who are well prepared.”

— Aristotle, Politics


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