Sunday, May 27, 2018


Antiquam Exquirite Matrem

Vergil, Aeneid 3.96 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough):
Seek out your ancient mother.

antiquam exquirite matrem.
It's the command of Apollo's oracle to Aeneas and his men, i.e. seek out the land of your ancestors as a place to settle. But it can have a deeper resonance, as a divine command to investigate the roots of our intellectual and spiritual heritage. The words appeared on the right side of a series of postage stamps issued in Italy in 1930 to commemorate the 2,000th anniversary of Vergil's birth. Here are a few of the stamps:

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