Sertorius on Persistence

by The Crowded Camel

Volunteerism is the crux of community service, as it gives one the opportunity to create tangible change and positively impact the lives of others. The Crowded Camel is seen here volunteering his time to collect and recycle trash in a public park, in hopes of contributing to the well-being of his community. In the process, he witnesses a parkgoer carelessly litter in front of him; an act that dampens the Camel’s spirits and calls into question the usefulness of his efforts.

The Camel might find advice from an unlikely source here: The Life of Sertorius, an historical biography of the Roman general Quintus Sertorius written in 75 A.C.E. by the Greek biographer Plutarch. In one particular passage, Sertorius stands before his disheartened army and delivers a short speech on the importance of focus and determination in the face of opposition:

You see, fellow-soldiers, that perseverance is more prevailing than violence, and that many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little. Assiduity and persistence are irresistible, and in time overthrow and destroy the greatest powers whatever. Time being the favourable friend and assistant of those who use their judgment to await his occasions, and the destructive enemy of those who are unreasonably urging and pressing forward.1

The important message for the Camel to take away from this passage is that, although at times one’s efforts may seem futile, it is vital to maintain focus and determination, especially through trying times. For the Camel to create the positive change he wants in his community, he must remember that persistence is one of the keys to success, and that time rewards he who is steadfast and determined in pursuit of his goals.


  1. “The Internet Classics Archive | Sertorius by Plutarch.” The Internet Classics Archive | Sertorius by Plutarch. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2012. <;.