I found a French army cliché;
“A friend when you’ re a first lieutenant, a companion when you’re captain, a colleague when you’re major, a rival when you’re colonel, the enemy when you’re general”
introduced in a Japanese translation of “L’ étrange Defaire – Témoignage écrit en 1940,” written by French historian and résistant fighter, Marc Bloch (1886-1944), who was arrested and killed by the Nazis in June 1944, only two months before the liberation of Paris by the Allied Forces.
I think it’s a very intriguing axiom to describe the nature of human race - the harder, the higher you climb up, which is common to the races / struggles in every field of politics, business, academy, sports, entertainment and you can name it.
Is this an axiom proper to French?
We have Japanese saying, “両雄並び立たず- Two heroes can never stand side by side (coexist),” which I think is akin to Chinese cliché, 両虎相闘 - liang hu xiang dou - meaning two tigers in a prairie are distined to fight to death, i.e. Caesar couldn’t stand together Pompeius, and Octavianus couldn’t live and let live Antonius. Both Japanese and Chinese cliché match only the last part of the French cliché.
Is there English version to the same effect?