Sunday, May 01, 2016


Two Fatherlands

Cicero, Laws 2.5 (tr. Clinton W. Keyes):
Surely I think that he and all natives of Italian towns have two fatherlands, one by nature and the other by citizenship. Cato, for example, though born in Tusculum, received citizenship in Rome, and so, as he was a Tusculan by birth and a Roman by citizenship, had one fatherland which was the place of his birth, and another by law; just as the people of your beloved Attica, before Theseus commanded them all to leave the country and move into the city (the astu, as it is called), were at the same time citizens of their own towns and of Attica, so we consider both the place where we were born our fatherland, and also the city into which we have been adopted. But that fatherland must stand first in our affection in which the name of republic signifies the common citizenship of all of us. For her it is our duty to die, to her to give ourselves entirely, to place on her altar, and, as it were, to dedicate to her service, all that we possess. But the fatherland which was our parent is not much less dear to us than the one which adopted us.

ego mehercule et illi et omnibus municipibus duas esse censeo patrias, unam naturae, alteram civitatis, ut ille Cato, cum esset Tusculi natus, in populi Romani civitatem susceptus est; ita, cum ortu Tusculanus esset, civitate Romanus, habuit alteram loci patriam, alteram iuris; ut vestri Attici, prius quam Theseus eos demigrare ex agris et in astu, quod appellatur, omnis se conferre iussit, et sui erant iidem et Attici, sic nos et eam patriam ducimus, ubi nati, et illam, a qua excepti sumus. sed necesse est caritate eam praestare, qua rei publicae nomen universae civitatis est; pro qua mori et cui nos totos dedere et in qua nostra omnia ponere et quasi consecrare debemus. dulcis autem non multo secus est ea, quae genuit, quam illa, quae excepit.
My two fatherlands are Brunswick, Maine, and the United States of America. Do I consider myself a global citizen, a cosmopolitan? No.

Related post: Le Patriotisme de Clocher.

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