Saturday, December 25, 2021


Life as an Inn

Cicero, On Old Age 23.84 (tr. William Armistead Falconer):
I do not mean to complain of life as many men, and they learned ones, have often done; nor do I regret that I have lived, since I have so lived that I think I was not born in vain, and I quit life as if it were an inn, not a home. For Nature has given us an hostelry in which to sojourn, not to abide.

non libet enim mihi deplorare vitam, quod multi et ei docti saepe fecerunt, neque me vixisse paenitet, quoniam ita vixi ut non frustra me natum existimem; et ex vita ita discedo tamquam ex hospitio, non tamquam domo; commorandi enim natura devorsorium nobis, non habitandi dedit.
J.G.F. Powell on tamquam ex hospitio:
Cf. Sen. Ep. 120.14 nec domum esse hoc corpus sed hospitium, et quidem breve hospitium; ibid. 31.11; 102.24; Apul. Apol. 24 animo hominis extrinsecus in hospitium corporis immigranti; Manii. 4.890; Hadrian fr. 3 (Morel, FPL) animula ... hospes comesque corporis; also [Plut.] Cons. ad Apoll. 117f, life is an ἐπιδημία; ibid. 120b; [Plato], Axiochus 365b; M. Aur. 2.17; Epictetus, Diss. 2.23. For different versions of the image, cf. Tusc. 1.51; 1.118; Hortensius fr. 115 Grilli ex hac in aliam haud paulo meliorem domum ... demigrare; De rep. 6.25; 29; Sen. Ep. 70.16; 65.21; 66.3; Nepos, Att. 22.1; Plato, Phaedo 117 τὴν μετοίκησιν τὴν ἐνθένδε ἐκεῖσε; Apol. 40c; Bion fr. 68 K. (quite unreasonably picked on as the source of Cicero's idea here: see Introd. p. 14 n. 36 and Appendix 2); Favorinus fr. 16 Barigazzi (cf. Introd. p. 28); there is also a similarity with the image of life as a banquet, for which see Brink, Horace on Poetry III, Appendix 20, pp. 444-6.
Cf. Bion of Borysthenes, fragment 68 Kindstrand (tr. Edward O'Neil):
"Just as we are ejected from our house," says Bion, "when the landlord, because he has not received his rent, takes away the door, takes away the pottery, stops up the well, in the same way," he says, "am I being ejected from this poor body when Nature, the landlady, takes away my eyes, my ears, my hands, my feet. I am not remaining, but as if leaving a banquet and not at all displeased, so also I leave life: when the hour comes, step on board the ship."

καθάπερ καὶ ἐξ οἰκίας, φησὶν ὁ Βίων, ἐξοικιζόμεθα, ὅταν τὸ ἐνοίκιον ὁ μισθώσας οὐ κομιζόμενος τὴν θύραν ὰφέλῃ, τὸν κέραμον ἀφέλῃ, τὸ φρέαρ ἐγκλείσῃ, οὕτω, φησί, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ σωματίου ἐξοικίζομαι, ὅταν ἡ μισθώσασα φύσις τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἀφαιρῆται τὰ ὦτα τὰς χεῖρας τοὺς πόδας· οὐχ ὑπομένω, ἀλλ' ὥσπερ ἐκ συμποσίου ἀπαλλάττομαι οὐθὲν δυσχεραίνων, οὕτω καὶ ἐκ τοῦ βίου, ὅταν [ἡ] ὥρα ᾖ, 'ἔμβα πορθμίδος ἕρμα.'

ἕρμα Nauck: ἔρυμα codd.

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