Fabian Tactics

   The tactics of delay and exerting great caution before proceeding were the strategy of the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus, who died circa 203 B.C. He was called the Cunctator (delayer), a nickname given because of his wariness. His tactics gave Rome time to recover its strength and take the offensive against the invading Carthaginian army of Hannibal. Fabian's stratagem was to avoid direct conflict. He maneuvered amid the hills, where Hannibal's cavalry was useless, and used hitand- run tactics that kept Hannibal off guard and eroded his forces. The strategy of the Cunctator has been followed by other generals in other wars. General George Washington employed this tactic with success against British soldiers in American Revolution.
   In 1884 a British socialist association was organized with the name Fabian Society. The society rejected Marxist revolutionary theory; their credo was that "the reorganization of society" could be accomplished "by stealing inches, not by grasping leagues." The intent of the society was to spread socialism, but gradually. Among their prominent members were Graham Wallace, Sidney and Beatrix Potter Webb, H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and Annie Besant. Today the society is a research institution.
   Fabianism, or Fabian tactics, has come to mean a gradual or cautious policy.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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  • Fabian — /ˈfeɪbiən/ (say faybeeuhn) adjective 1. of or relating to the Fabian Society or its philosophy or tactics. –noun 2. a member of or a sympathiser with the Fabian Society. {See Fabian Society} –Fabianism, noun –Fabianist, noun, adjective …   Australian English dictionary

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