Sunday, December 04, 2022


Not for Myself Alone

Rhetorica ad Herennium 4.43.55 (tr. Harry Caplan, with his note):
The wise man will think that for the common weal he ought to undergo every peril. Often he will say to himself: 'Not for self alone was I born, but also, and much more, for the fatherland.d Above all, let me spend my life, which I owe to fate, for the salvation of my country. She has nourished me. She has in safety and honour reared me even to this time of life. She has protected my interests by good laws, the best of customs, and a most honourable training. How can I adequately repay her from whom I have received these blessings?' According as the wise man often says this to himself, when the republic is in danger, he on his part will shun no danger.

d Cf. Plato, Epist. 9, 358A: "Yet this, too, you ought to bear in mind — that none of us was born for self alone, but our existence is shared by our country, our parents, and our friends"; Demosthenes, De Corona 205: "Every one of those men considered himself to have been born, not to his father and mother alone, but also to his fatherland."

sapiens omnia rei publicae causa suscipienda pericula putabit. saepe ipse secum loquitur: 'non mihi soli, sed etiam atque adeo multo potius natus sum patriae; vita, quae fato debetur, saluti patriae potissimum solvatur. aluit haec me; tute atque honeste produxit usque ad hanc aetatem; munivit meas rationes bonis legibus, optumis moribus, honestissimis disciplinis. quid est quod a me satis ei persolvi possit unde haec accepi?' exinde ut haec loquetur secum sapiens saepe, in periculis rei publicae nullum ipse periculum fugiet.

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