Friday, August 13, 2021



Richard Jenkyns, Virgil's Experience. Nature and History: Times, Names, and Places (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 342 (footnote omitted):
Patriotism has become a chilly word in English, but it will have to be used in default of a better. Patria is expressive for Virgil in part because it can be used, like patrie in French, for locality as well as nation. When he says 'divisae arboribus patriae' (trees have their different homelands) he is talking about different nations—Arabs and Indians and denizens of the steppes—but his words also carry as an undercurrent the sense of local loyalty and identity for which English has no single term, but which we can represent by borrowing a German word. 'Trees have their different Heimaten.' It is curious that the English have no straightforward equivalent to Heimat, since they certainly have the concept. At all events, we shall appreciate Virgil better if we recognize that his exploration of 'patria' is concerned with the interlocking of kinds of belonging which range from sense of nation to sense of home.

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