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NIHIL NOVUM SUB SOLE

1001 deeds, sayings, curiosities and anecdotes of the ancient world

"Ubi bene, ibi patria". Where it is well with me, there is my country.

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They are numerous classic texts in which the patriotism of citizens is exalted, both in Greece, where they felt very superior to the rest of the world, which they call "barbaric" because they do not speak Greek but babble, as in Rome, where they also knew themselves as the dominators of the world.

They are numerous maxims, sentences, phrases that condense in a few words that patriotism or that exalt the heroic services of exemplary citizens.

I will quote and comment on some of these maxims exalting patriotism.

Cicero, in the first of his famous Catilinariae, speeches against Catiline, who had tried to give a coup and to cause a revolution (a plot), pronounces  the sentence in which the homeland  is presented as a mother, topical and everlasting commonplace playing with the deepest feelings of men who are always children of one mother.

The homeland is the common parent of all of us

Patria est communis ómnium parens

But it should  better read the whole paragraph that contextualizes the sentence, with which Cicero invites Catiline to abandon the city, which would be an admission of guilt on their part of the attempt to subvert the republican order and threatening his own mother.

Cicero: Catiline Orations,1,7,17:

If your parents feared and hated you, and if you could by no means pacify them, you would, I think, depart somewhere out of their sight. Now, your country, which is the common parent of all of us, hates and fears you, and has no other opinion of you, than that you are meditating parricide in her case; and will you neither feel awe of her authority, nor deference for her judgment, nor fear of her power?

And she, O Catiline, thus pleads with you, and after a manner silently speaks to you:… (Translated by C. D. Yonge, B. A. London. Henry G. Bohn, York Street, Covent Garden. 1856.)

si te parentes timerent atque odissent tui neque eos ratione ulla placare posses, ut opinor, ab eorum oculis aliquo concederes. nunc te patria, quae communis est parens omnium nostrum, odit ac metuit et iam diu nihil te iudicat nisi de parricidio suo cogitare: huius tu neque auctoritatem verebere nec iudicium sequere nec vim pertimesces? [18] quae tecum, Catilina, sic agit et quodam modo tacita loquitur:…

It continues the text of Cicero in what the homeland personified as a concerned mother, talks to his cruel son Catiline. I invite you to read this famous speech that begins with the words a thousand times quoted and with tem  many students perceived at  first the force of oratory:

When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience?

Quo usque tándem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?

In another work Cicero himself presents the love of the fatherland as the conjunction of all loves that a good citizen has:

Parents are dear; dear are children, relatives, friends; but one native land embraces all our loves

Cari sunt parentes, cari liberi, pripinqui, familiares; sed omnes ómnium caritates patria una complexa est.  Cicerón,  De officiis, 1,17,57( On Duties or On Obligations )

So the fatherland  should be above everything, even the children, as Seneca says in his tragedy The Trojan Women, 332:

A king must precede the homeland to their children

Praeferre Patriam liberis regem decet:

You should also read the text of Cicero, now of some length, because it sufficiently illustrates us the concept of "homeland" of a nationalist Roman:

De officiis, 1,17 (53-58)

Then, too, there are a great many degrees of closeness or remoteness in human society. To proceed beyond the universal bond of our common humanity, there is the closer one of belonging to the same people, tribe, and tongue, by which men are very closely bound together; it is a still closer relation to be citizens of the same city-state; for fellow-citizens have much in common—forum, temples, colonnades, streets, statutes laws. Courts, rights of suffrage, to say nothing of social and friendly circles and diverse business relations with many.

But a sill closer social union exists between kindred.  Starting with that infinite bond of union of the human race in general, the conception is now confined to a small and narrow circle.

For since the reproductive instinct is by Nature's gift the common possession of all living creatures, the first bond of union is that between husband and wife; the next, that between parents and children; then we find one home, with everything in common. And this is the foundation of civil government, the nursery, as it were, of the state. Then follow the bonds between brothers and sisters, and next those of first and then of second cousins; and when they can no longer be sheltered under one roof, they go out into other homes, as into colonies. Then follow between these, in turn, marriages and connections by marriage, and from these again a new stock of relations; and from this propagation and after-growth states have their beginnings. The bonds of common blood hold men fast through good-will and affection; for it means much to share in common the same family traditions, the same forms of domestic worship, and the same ancestral tombs.

But of all the bonds of fellowship, there is none1 more noble, none more powerful than when good men of congenial character are joined in intimate friendship; for really, if we discover in another that moral goodness on which I dwell so much, it attracts us and makes us friends to the one in whose character it seems to dwell.

And while every virtue attracts us and makes us love those who seem to possess it, still justice and generosity do so most of all. Nothing, moreover, is more conducive to love and intimacy than compatibility of character in good men; for when two people have the same ideals and the same tastes, it is a natural consequence that each loves the other as himself; and the result is, as Pythagoras requires of ideal friendship, that several are united in one.
Another strong bond of fellowship is effected by mutual interchange of kind services; and as long as these kindnesses are mutual and acceptable, those between whom they are interchanged are united by the ties of an enduring intimacy.

But when with a rational spirit you have surveyed1 the whole field, there is no social relation among them all more close, none more dear than that which links each one of us with our country. Parents [p. 61] are dear; dear are children, relatives, friends; but one native land embraces all our loves; and who that is true would hesitate to give his life for her, if by his death he could render her a service? So much the more execrable are those monsters who have torn their fatherland to pieces with every form of outrage and who are2 and have been3 engaged in compassing her utter destruction.

Now, if a contrast and comparison were to be made to find out where most of our moral obligation is due, country would come first, and parents; for their services have laid us under the heaviest obligation; next come children and the whole family, who look to us alone for support and can have no other protection; finally, our kinsmen, with whom we live on good terms and with whom, for the most part, our lot is one.

All needful material assistance is, therefore, due first of all to those whom I have named; but intimate relationship of life and living, counsel, conversation, encouragement, comfort, and sometimes even reproof flourish best in friendships. And that friendship is sweetest which is cemented by congeniality of character. (An English Translation  by Walter Miller. Cambridge. Harvard University Press; Cambridge, Mass., London, England. 1913).

[53] 17. Gradus autem plures sunt societatis hominum. Ut enim ab illa infinita discedatur, propior est eiusdem gentis, nationis, linguae, qua maxime homines coniunguntur; interius etiam est eiusdem esse civitatis; multa enim sunt civibus inter se communia, forum, fana, porticus, viae, leges, iura: iudicia, suffragia, consuetudines praeterea et familiaritates multisque cum multis res rationesque contractae.
Artior vero colligatio est societatis propinquorum; ab illa enim immensa societate humani generis in exiguum angustumque concluditur.
[54] Nam cum sit hoc natura commune animantium, ut habeant libidinem procreandi, prima societas in ipso coniugio est, proxima in liberis, deinde una domus, communia omnia; id autem est principium urbis et quasi seminarium rei publicae. Sequuntur fratrum coniunctiones, post consobrinorum sobrinorumque, qui cum una domo iam capi non possint, in alias domos tamquam in colonias exeunt. Sequuntur conubia et affinitates, ex quibus etiam plures propinqui; quae propagatio et suboles origo est rerum publicarum. Sanguinis autem coniunctio et benivolentia devincit homines et caritate;
[55] magnum est enim eadem habere monumenta maiorum, eisdem uti sacris, sepulcra habere communia.
Sed omnium societatum nulla praestantior est, nulla firmior, quam cum viri boni moribus similes sunt familiaritate coniuncti; illud enim honestum quod saepe dicimus, etiam si in alio cernimus, tamen nos movet atque illi, in quo id inesse videtur, amicos facit.
[56] Et quamquam omnis virtus nos ad se allicit facitque, ut eos diligamus, in quibus ipsa inesse videatur, tamen iustitia et liberalitas id maxime efficit. Nihil autem est amabilius nec copulatius quam morum similitudo bonorum; in quibus enim eadem studia sunt, eaedem voluntates, in iis fit ut aeque quisque altero delectetur ac se ipso, efficiturque id, quod Pythagoras vult in amicitia, ut unus fiat ex pluribus.
Magna etiam illa communitas est, quae conficitur ex beneficiis ultro et citro datis acceptis, quae et mutua et grata dum sunt, inter quos ea sunt, firma devinciuntur societate.
[57] Sed cum omnia ratione animoque lustraris, omnium societatum nulla est gravior, nulla carior quam ea, quae cum re publica est uni cuique nostrum. Cari sunt parentes, cari liberi, propinqui, familiars, sed omnes omnium caritates patria una complexa est, pro qua quis bonus dubitet mortem oppetere, si ei sit profuturus? Quo est detestabilior istorum immanitas, qui lacerarunt omni scelere patriam et in ea funditus delenda occupati et sunt et fuerunt.
[58] Sed si contentio quaedam et comparatio fiat, quibus plurimum tribuendum sit officii, principes sint patria et parentes, quorum beneficiis maximis obligati sumus,proximi liberi totaque domus, quae spectat in nos solos neque aliud ullum potest habere perfugium, deinceps bene convenientes propinqui, quibuscum communis etiam fortuna plerumque est.
Quam ob rem necessaria praesidia vitae debentur iis maxime, quos ante dixi, vita autem victusque communis, consilia, sermones, cohortationes, consolationes, interdum etiam obiurgationes in amicitiis vigent maxime, estque ea iucundissima amicitia, quam similitudo morum coniugavit.

All the above text is synthesized by Cicero himself in two words that express two feelings that usually turn all nationalisms in his De natura deorum 3.40, (94):

For God and country" or literally "for our altars and our hearths” or more idiomatically   "for hearth and home;"

Pro aris et focis.

The whole paragraph says:

So saying, Cotta ended. But Lucihus said :

" You have indeed made a slashing attack upon the most reverently and wisely constructed Stoic doctrine of the divine providence. But as evening is now approaching, you will assign us a day on which to make our answer to your views. For I have to fight against you on behalf of our altars and hearths, of the temples and shrines of the gods, and of the city-walls, which you as pontiffs declare to be sacred and are more careful to hedge the city round with religious ceremonies than even with fortifications ; and my conscience forbids me to abandon their cause so long as I yet can breathe." (Translated by H. Rackman. Loeb Classical Library)

Quae cum dixisset, Cotta finem. Lucilius autem “Vehementius” inquit “Cotta tu quidem invectus es in eam Stoicorum rationem quae de providentia deorum ab illis sanctissume et prudentissume constituta est. sed quoniam advesperascit, dabis nobis diem aliquem ut contra ista dicamus. est enim mihi tecum pro aris et focis certamen et pro deorum templis atque delubris proque urbis muris, quos vos pontifices sanctos esse dicitis diligentiusque urbem religione quam ipsis moenibus cingitis; quae deseri a me, dum quidem spirare potero, nefas iudico.”

The previous texts of Cicero are not the result of innovative thinking, but they are the  result of observation and application of basic common sense. This is certainly one of the reasons why the ancient are so near or next to us. Either they have shaped in part our thinking and our identity or the things were and are as they present threm very consistent with the common sense or common feel of men.

In the read text it appears that this sense of identity is what leads to say "I love my country not because it is big but because it is mine," which explains many of the social and political men behavior, in that it is not reason that is imposed but the sense of identity with the group.

Seneca  expressed brilliantly this idea. In a context in which he speaks of the value of virtue itself, regardless of the action that consists, he says in Epistles, 66.26:

Ulysses was in as great haste to reach the rocky barren shore of Ithaca, as Agamemnn was to reach the lofty walls of Mycenae. For, no one loves his country because it is more spacious than another, but because it is his own.  (Translation by Thomas Morell D.D.).

    Vlixes ad Ithacae suae saxa sic properat, quemadmodum Agamemnon ad Mycenarum nobiles muros. Nemo enim patriam quia magna est amat, sed quia sua.

In the long previous quote Cicero extolled even death for the benefit of the motherland. But undoubtedly the most quoted and known sentence  is that one of the Odes of Horace, 3,2,13:

"It is sweet and glorious to die for one's country."

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

Because this Oda, which  sings and extols the virtue, value or condition of the real man, vir, (that's what the word virtue, virtus, means) is not overly long, even at the risk of tiring to some readers less interested, I reproduce it fully in Latin and in translation by John Conington

To suffer hardness with good cheer,
In sternest school of warfare bred,
Our youth should learn; let steed and spear
Make him one day the Parthian's dread;
Cold skies, keen perils, brace his life.
Methinks I see from rampired town
Some battling tyrant's matron wife,
Some maiden, look in terror down,—
“Ah, my dear lord, untrain'd in war!
O tempt not the infuriate mood
Of that fell lion I see! from far
He plunges through a tide of blood!“
What joy, for fatherland to die!
Death's darts e'en flying feet o'ertake,
Nor spare a recreant chivalry,
A back that cowers, or loins that quake.
True Virtue never knows defeat:
Her robes she keeps unsullied still,
Nor takes, nor quits, her curule seat
To please a people's veering will.
True Virtue opens heaven to worth:
She makes the way she does not find:
The vulgar crowd, the humid earth,
Her soaring pinion leaves behind.
Seal'd lips have blessings sure to come:
Who drags Eleusis' rite today,
That man shall never share my home,
Or join my voyage: roofs give way
And boats are wreck'd: true men and thieves
Neglected Justice oft confounds:
Though Vengeance halt, she seldom leaves
The wretch whose flying steps she hounds.

(Translation by John Conington, 1882)

Angustam amice pauperiem pati
robustus acri militia puer
condiscat et Parthos ferocis
vexet eques metuendus hasta
vitamque sub divo et trepidis agat
in rebus. illum ex moenibus hosticis
matrona bellantis tyranni
prospiciens et adulta virgo
suspiret “eheu, ne rudis agminum
sponsus lacessat regius asperum
tactu leonem, quem cruenta
per medias rapit ira caedes.”
dulce et decorum est pro patria mori:
mors et fugacem persequitur virum
nec parcit inbellis iuventae
poplitibus timidoque tergo.
Virtus, repulsae nescia sordidae,
intaminatis fulget honoribus
nec sumit aut ponit securis
arbitrio popularis aurae.
Virtus, recludens inmeritis mori
caelum, negata temptat iter via
coetusque volgaris et udam
spernit humum fugiente penna.
est et fideli tuta silentio
merces: vetabo, qui Cereris sacrum
volgarit arcanae, sub isdem
sit trabibus fragilemque mecum
solvat phaselon; saepe Diespiter
neglectus incesto addidit integrum,
raro antecedentem scelestum
deseruit pede Poena claudo.

Cicero himself again, in one of the Philippicae, speeches he gave against the triumvirate Antony and he called "Philippics" in a clear attempt to  comparison with Demosthenes delivered speeches against Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander, who seized Greece.

(Note:  these speeches cost very expensive Cicero, but that is a matter for another time).

Well,  in his invectives, Philippics, 14,11, 31 Cicero says:

Oh happy death, which, due to nature, has been paid in the cause of one's country!

O forunata mors, quae natura debita, pro patria est potissimum reddita!

The debt to nature, which gives us life, is naturally death, debt until today nobody has defaulted.
I also offer a comprehensive text, which helps us to understand perhaps the warrior and patriotic mystique of this speech been in the Senate on April 21 of the year 43 BC, in which Cicero opposes lifting the "state of emergency" and claims honors for general and legionaries fighting against Marcus Antonius, enemy of the Republic; the rhetoric of these occasions is still today very similar, as the attentive reader will appreciate:

Cicero, Philippics, 14,11 (31) et seq.

And I wish more suggestions could occur to me in the way of doing honor to those men. The two ideas which principally do occur to me, I will at all events not pass over; the one of which has reference to the everlasting glory of those bravest of men; the other may tend to mitigate the sorrow and mourning of their relations.

I therefore give my vote, O conscript fathers, that the most honorable monument possible be erected to the soldiers of the Martial legion, and to those soldiers also who died fighting by their side. Great and incredible are the services done by this legion to the republic. This was the first legion to tear itself from the piratical band of Antonius; this was the legion which encamped at Alba; this was the legion that went over to Caesar; and it was in imitation of the conduct of this legion that the fourth legion has earned almost equal glory for its virtue. The fourth is victorious without having lost a man; some of the Martial legion fell in the very moment of victory. Oh happy death, which, due to nature, has been paid in the cause of one's country!  But I consider you men born for your country; you whose very name is derived from Mars, so that the same god who begot this city for the advantage of the nations, appears to have begotten you for the advantage of this city. Death in flight is infamous; in victory glorious. In truth, Mars himself seems to select all the bravest men from the battle array. Those impious men whom you slew, shall even in the shades below pay the penalty of their parricidal treason. But you, who have poured forth your latest breath in victory, have earned an abode and place among the pious. A brief life has been allotted to us by nature; but the memory of a well-spent life is imperishable. And if that memory were no longer than this life, who would be so senseless as to strive to attain even the highest praise and glory by the most enormous labors and dangers?

You then have fared most admirably, being the bravest of soldiers while you lived, and now the most holy of warriors, because it will be impossible for your virtue to be buried, either through the forgetfulness of the men of the present age, or the silence of posterity, since the senate and Roman people will have raised to you an imperishable monument, I may almost say with their own hands. Many armies at various times have been great and illustrious in the Punic, and Gallic, and Italian wars; but to none of them have honors been paid of the description which are now conferred on you. And I wish that we could pay you even greater honors, since we have received from you the greatest possible services. You it was who turned aside the furious. Antonius from this city; you it was who repelled him when endeavoring to return. There shall therefore be a vast monument erected with the most sumptuous work and an inscription engraved upon it as the everlasting witness of your godlike virtue And never shall the most grateful language of all who either see or hear of your monument cease to be heard And in this manner you, in exchange for your mortal condition of life, have attained immortality.  (Translated by C. D. Yonge, 1903)

11 (31) Quorum de honore utinam mihi plura in mentem venirent! Duo certe non praeteribo, quae maxime occurrunt, quorum alterum pertinet ad virorum fortissimorum gloriam sempiternam, alterum ad leniendum maerorem et luctum proximorum.
12. placet igitur mihi, patres conscripti, legionis Martiae militibus et eis qui una pugnantes occiderint monumentum fieri quam amplissimum. Magna atque incredibilia sunt in rem publicam huius merita legionis. haec se prima latrocinio abrupit Antoni; haec tenuit Albam; haec se ad Caesarem contulit; hanc imitata quarta legio parem virtutis gloriam consecuta est. quarta victrix desiderat neminem: ex Martia non nulli in ipsa victoria conciderunt. O fortunata mors quae naturae debita pro patria est potissimum reddita! [32] vos vero patriae natos iudico; quorum etiam nomen a Marte est, ut idem deus urbem hanc gentibus, vos huic urbi genuisse videatur. in fuga foeda mors est; in victoria gloriosa. etenim Mars ipse ex acie fortissimum quemque pignerari solet. illi igitur impii quos occidistis etiam ad inferos poenas parricidi luent; vos vero qui extremum spiritum in victoria effudistis piorum estis sedem et locum consecuti. brevis a natura vita nobis data est; at memoria bene redditae vitae sempiterna. quae si non esset longior quam haec vita, quis esset tam amens qui maximis laboribus et periculis ad summam laudem gloriamque contenderet? actum igitur praeclare vobiscum, [33] fortissimi, dum vixistis, nunc vero etiam sanctissimi milites, quod vestra virtus neque oblivione eorum qui nunc sunt nec reticentia posterorum sepulta esse poterit, cum vobis immortale monumentum suis paene manibus senatus populusque Romanus exstruxerit. multi saepe exercitus Punicis, Gallicis, Italicis bellis clari et magni fuerunt, nec tamen ullis tale genus honoris tributum est. atque utinam maiora possemus, quando quidem a vobis maxima accepimus! vos ab urbe furentem Antonium avertistis; vos redire molientem reppulistis. erit igitur exstructa moles opere magnifico incisaeque litterae, divinae virtutis testes sempiternae, numquamque de vobis eorum qui aut videbunt vestrum monumentum aut audient gratissimus sermo conticescet. ita pro mortali condicione vitae immortalitatem estis consecuti.

Undoubtedly one of the best known texts of patriotism until to give the  life for the homeland  is the famous epitaph of the Spartans at Thermopylae, who held the powerful Persian army  while they lived . The  film “300”, directed in 2007 by Zack Snyder, adaptation of the comic of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, has undoubtedly contributed to raising awareness the feat of Leonidas and his fellows among a varied public.

Cicero cites the famous epitaph in his Tusculans, 1,42,101:

" At Sparta, stranger, tell that here we lie
in loyal service to our fatherland."

Dic, hospes, Spartae, nos te hic vidisse iacentes/
dum sanctis patriae legibus obequimur.

Cicero praises those who face death with fortitude. In this context he recalls the action of Leonidas and the Spartans, with two terse sentences, which today are repeated, one  at the  epitaph, another one that of the struggle in the shadow of Persian darts:

Tusculan, 1,42,101:

But why name commanders and those in high station, when Cato^ writes that whole legions have often gone with alacrity to places whence they had no expectation of returning ? "With like greatness of soul the Lacedaemonians fell at Thermopylae, on whom Simonides wrote :

" At Sparta, stranger, tell that here we lie
In loyal service to our fatherland."

What does their leader Leonidas say ? " Go on,Lacedaemonians, with a brave soul. To-day, perchance, we shall sup in the underworld."

This was a brave race, while the laws of Lycurgus were in full force. One of them, when a Persian enemy in a boastful strain said, " Our darts and arrows will be so thick that you cannot see the sun," replied, " We shall fight all the better in the shade." (Translated by Andrew P. Peabody)

sed quid duces et principes nominem, cum legiones scribat Cato saepe alacris in eum locum profectas, unde redituras se non arbitrarentur? pari animo Lacedaemonii in Thermopylis occiderunt, in quos Simonides:
Dic, hospes, Spartae nos te hic vidisse iacentis,
Dum sanctis patriae legibus obsequimur.
quid ille dux Leonidas dicit? “pergite animo forti, Lacedaemonii, hodie apud inferos fortasse cenabimus.” fuit haec gens fortis, dum Lycurgi leges vigebant.  e quibus unus, cum Perses hostis in conloquio dixisset glorians: “solem prae iaculorum multitudine et sagittarum non videbitis”, “in umbra igitur” inquit “pugnabimus.”

That, according to Cicero, Cato says, reminds me of those documentaries about the last two world wars in which we see marching to the war battalions of unhappy young with a smile that we not know if unconscious or forced. So I imagine the Roman legions; after all the war it has not changed much beyond the destructive capacity of weapons.

But already in antiquity, as we do today, very people asked what is the homeland ?. The word obviously derives from Latin "pater, -tris" father; therefore it means "fatherland" and according to the Academy designates the native or adopted country to which the human being by legal, historical and emotional ties feels bound. The fatherland is thus the place or country where man was born and by extension the land which adopts you.

Well, many old men had to leave the area where they were born for several reasons. The Mediterranean was a space or open sea in which ships and citizens of many cities move. Some settled in distant places; for example traders, soldiers who "served the country" away from his people, adventurers or forced citizens by the need to look for where and how best life, convicted or forced into exile citizens ... It is the same reality that has not stopped exist to this day, in which the movement and displacement of people is constant.

Well, these people questioned the concept of homeland, which in its original sense condemned them to be "stateless". At the same time, in the context of world open to all kinds of travelers, some thinkers became aware of the radical equality of all men. Two famous examples are Diogenes the Cynic and Socrates.

Diogenes Laertius tells us in Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Book VI, 38, on the other Diogenes, of Sinope, the Cynic:

All the curses of tragedy, he used to say, had lighted upon him. At all events he was

A homeless exile, to his country dead. A wanderer who begs his daily bread
(translated by Robert Drew Hicks)

The word used is ἄπολις, a-polis, as homeless.

Diogenes certainly feel himself uprooted from the circumstances which  give particular identity to the men, no city, no home, away from home ...; so it's no wonder the answer given to the frequently asked question: where are you from?

And so, in Book VI, 63:

Asked where he came from, he said, "I am a citizen of the world”

ἐρωτηθεὶς πόθεν εἴη, "κοσμοπολίτης," ἔφη
(erotezeís pózen eie, “kosmopolítes” éfe)

If this answer is authentic,  the famous term "cosmopolitan" was originated with Diogenes.

In a quote from Cicero that I offer below, also the Socrates, when asked which country was he from, he replied that he was "inhabitant of the world", "mundanum incolam".

But perhaps the best known and quoted phrase is that of Terence in his comedy Heautontimorumenos: Actus I, Escaena I, v. 77:

I am a man, and nothing that concerns a man do I deem a matter of indifference to me

Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto

that is often used to express the feeling of solidarity.

The Greek name Heautontimorumenos means “who torments himself” and refers to the feeling of a father who regret having been too severe with his son. This is a typical comedy with multiple entanglements complicated plot in which everything just right in the end, as is mandatory in this type of comedy.

I give a longer appointment to contextualize and see how little does the elementary and humorous meaning given by Terence with the transcendent meaning that is loaded later. It is cited as an expression of the "Humanitas" of Terence

I quote verses 75-86 (23-34)

(Cremes worries about excessive work which Menedemus makes  in his field) ...

MENEDEMUS
Have you so much leisure, Chremes, from your own affairs, that you can attend to those of others-those which don't concern you?
CHREMES
I am a man, and nothing that concerns a man do I deem a matter of indifference to me. Suppose that I wish either to advise you in this matter, or to be informed myself: if what you do is right, that I may do the same; if it is not, then that I may dissuade you.
MENEDEMUS
It's requisite for me to do so; do you as it is necessary for you to do.
CHREMES
Is it requisite for any person to torment himself?
MENEDEMUS
It is for me.
CHREMES
If you have any affliction, I could wish it otherwise. But prithee, what sorrow is this of yours? How have you deserved so ill of yourself?
MENEDEMUS
Alas! alas! He begins to weep.
CHREMES
Do not weep, but make me acquainted with it, whatever it is. Do not be reserved; fear nothing; trust me, I tell you. Either by consolation, or by counsel, or by any means, I will aid you.

(Translatio  by Henry Thomas Riley, 1874)

Menaedemus.
Chreme, tantumne est ab re tua oti tibi
Aliena ut cures, eaque nihil quae ad te attinent?

Chremes.
Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto.
Vel me monere hoc, vel percontari puta.
Rectum est? ego ut faciam: non est? te ut deterream.

Menaedemus.
Mihi sic est usus: tibi ut opus facto est, face.

Chremes.
An cuiquam est usus homini se ut cruciet?

Menaedemus.
Mihi.

Chremes.
Si quid laboris est, nollem: sed quid istuc mali est,
Quaeso? quid de te tantum meruisti?

Menaedemus.
Eheu!

Chremes.
Ne lacrima: atque istuc quicquid est fac me ut sciam:
Ne retice: ne verere: crede, inquam, mihi,
Aut consolando, aut consilio, aut re iuvero.

The verse in question has been cited since antiquity:

Cicero did so in "On Duties, I, 30" (De Officiis) , I, 30, who says it is very difficult to worry about the problems of others as our own.

Also Seneca, Epistulae, 95, 53, repeats the verse that he said we have in our hearts and mouths to reinforce his idea that men are solidary   and they are made of the same material.

St. Augustine, Epistyulae, 155,4,14, who also says that  the theater burst into applause when the actor pronounced it  (ferunt etiam theatra tota, plena stultis indoctisque, aplausisse), but the news does not seem to be historical; otherwise the claim to universality of St. Augustine has nothing to do with the intention of Terence:

Let us therefore try with all our strength that also they reach him  those we love as ourselves, if we love God and we know to love ourselves. Because Christ, that is, the Truth, says that the whole law and the prophets are condensed into two commandments: Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and love your neighbor as ourselves.

Here we understand next or neighbor, not the insider by the ties of blood, but by the community of reason in which we live associated all men. If money associates men, how much more  associates them this reason due to the nature that is common, not by business law, but by the law of birth? The splendor of truth is not hidden to clear minds. So comedian puts into the mouth of an old these words addressed to another  old man:

Have you so much leisure  from your own affairs, that you can attend to those of others-those which don't concern you?

And the other old responds:

I am a man, and nothing that concerns a man do I deem a matter of indifference to me.

It is said that this phrase was applauded in the theater, although it was crowded with foolish and ignorant men. In such a community of human souls so touches the natural affection of all, than a man, who did not feel close or neighbor of all, could not be found in the theatre.

4. 14. Ad illum ergo quanta opera possumus, etiam illi ut perveniant agamus, quos tamquam nosmetipsos diligimus, si nosmetipsos diligere, illum diligendo iam novimus. Christus namque, id est Veritas, dicit in his duobus praeceptis totam legem Prophetasque pendere, ut diligamus Deum ex toto corde, ex tota anima, ex tota mente, et diligamus proximos tamquam nosmetipsos . Proximus sane hoc loco, non sanguinis propinquitate, sed rationis societate pensandus est, in qua socii sunt omnes homines. Nam si pecuniae ratio socios facit, quanto magis ratio naturae, non negotiandi, sed nascendi lege communis! Hinc et ille comicus (sicut luculentis ingeniis non defit resplendentia veritatis), cum ab uno sene alteri seni dictum componeret:
Tantumne ab re tua est otii tibi,
Aliena ut cures ea, quae nihil ad te attinent?
responsum ab altero reddidit:
Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto .
Cui sententiae ferunt etiam theatra tota, plena stultis indoctisque, applausisse. Ita quippe omnium affectum naturaliter attigit societas humanorum animorum, ut nullus ibi hominum nisi cuiuslibet hominis proximum se esse sentiret.

Varro in one of the few fragments of his Menippean Dolium also wrote in:

Varro, Saturarum Menippearum reliquiae: Dolium aut seria:

  The world is the great house of the little man

Mundus domus est maxima homulli ...

  while indicating the equality of men in their large home and their small individual entity expressed with "homulli", diminutive for "homo".

So they were finding more open and relevant answers  to the questions: what is my homeland? Where the country is ?, to reach the very  famous and repeated sentence:

Where it is well with me, there is my country

Ubi bene, ibi patria

It is a saying or Latin sentence, result from abbreviation of verse of tragedy “Teucer”, of Pacuvius, which Cicero quotes in Tusculans, 5,37,108.

Patria est ubicumque est bene (The motherland is anywhere where it is well) seems like a quotation from a verse of Pacuvius, from its tragedy Teucer, which tells the story of Teucer, son of Telamon and Hesione, sister of Priam, who after the fall of Troy wanted to return to their homeland Salamina, but was rejected by Telamon because he could not prevent the death of his brother Ajax. Looking for a place to settle he came to Cyprus and allied with the king of Sidon.

Then the phrase is found in many authors like Curtius, Ovid, Aulus Gellius etc.

Cicero, in this passage of his Tusculans questions refers to happiness of the wise, who disdains the seemingly important things that have little value and needs rather modest things. Disdained the honor, money, he refers to the punishment of exile, common in antiquity. But exile hardly differs from the permanent stay abroad; it differs only in that exile is accompanied by the shame of punishment. Then Cicero quotes Socrates, who answers  as he does frequently with a lapidary sentence and then cites numerous Greeks characters, who went abroad and never returned to their homeland.

It will be better read directly from Cicero, Tusculanae, V, 37,108:

In the last place, the case of those who refer the objects which they pursue in life to the standard of pleasure presents no difficulty, since wherever these objects can be supplied, they can live happily. Thus to every case Teucer's words are applicable :

' Where it is well with me, there is my country." 

When Socrates was asked to name his city, he said, " The world ; " for he regarded himself as an inhabitant and citizen of the whole world.

What shall we say of Titus Albucius ?  Did not he with the utmost equanimity pursue the study of philosophy in Athens ? to whom, nevertheless, this would not have happened, if he had obeyed the precepts of Epicurus and taken no interest in public affairs.

How much happier was Epicurus for living at home than Metrodorus  who also lived in Athens ? Was Plato happier than Xenocrates, or Polemon than Arcesilas ?  Then again, in what esteem should a city be held, from which good and wise men are driven ? Demaratus indeed, the father of our King Tarquin, because he could not bear the tyrant Cypselus, fled from Corinth to Tarquinii, established himself there, and had children born there. Was he foolish in preferring freedom in exile to slavery at home ? (Translated by Andrew P.Peabody)

[108] postremo ad omnis casus facillima ratio est eorum qui ad voluptatem ea referunt quae secuntur in vita, ut, quocumque haec loco suppeditetur, ibi beate queant vivere. itaque ad omnem rationem Teucri vox accommodari potest:
Patria est, ubicumque est bene.
Socrates quidem cum rogaretur, cuiatem se esse diceret, “mundanum” inquit; totius enim mundi se incolam et civem arbitrabatur. quid? T. Albucius  nonne animo aequissimo Athenis exul philosophabatur? cui tamen illud ipsum non accidisset, si in re p. quiescens Epicuri legibus paruisset.
[109] qui enim beatior Epicurus, quod in patria vivebat, quam, quod Athenis, Metrodorus? aut Plato Xenocratem vincebat aut Polemo Arcesilam, quo esset beatior? quanti vero ista civitas aestimanda est, ex qua boni sapientesque pelluntur? Damaratus quidem, Tarquinii nostri regis pater, tyrannum Cypselum quod ferre non poterat, fugit Tarquinios Corintho et ibi suas fortunas constituit ac liberos procreavit. num stulte anteposuit exilii libertatem domesticae servituti?

So according the quote of Cicero in which the origin of the phrase"ubi bene, ibi patria est",  is explained that, gave title to this article, also we found out that the incorruptible Socrates had already been presented himself as an inhabitant, as a world citizen, "mundanum incolam".
Incidentally, the term "mundanum", which uses Cicero, is the translation of the Greek kosmios, which coincides with the translation of the Greek term kosmos to  the Latin mundum

I will cite several other Latin expressions and sentences whose meaning is very similar, but now without fit them in broader appointments, which the curious reader can easily complete.

the whole world is a man’s birthplace (Statius,Thebais,8,320)
Omne homini natale solum

to the brave, every land is his homeland, like the sea  to fish.  Ovide, Fasti,I,493)
Omne solum forti patria est ut piscibus aequor:

Any land is an exile, but another country  (Séneca, De Remediis Fortunae, 8,1)
Nulla terra exsilium est, sed altera patria;

I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land. (Seneca, Epistolas 28,4)
Non sum uni angulo natus, patria mea totus hic mundus est

here our home, this our country (Virgil,Aeneida, 7,122)
Hic domus, haec patria est:

But of course, the vision of the country, limited to the land that is born and lives, also have some problems. Remember the phrase curiously cited by four Christian evangelists Lucas, 4.24; Matthew 13,57, Mark 6.14; John 4.44:

No one is considered a prophet in his hometown/homeland

Nemo propheta acceptus est in patria sua.

Even the country can be very unfair to their children, as it said the epitaph which Scipio Africanus wanted  to be recorded in his grave, according to Valerius Maximus, 5,3,2, who devotes a chapter to the ingratitude.

ungrateful country, you shall not have even my bones

Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem mea habes.

Valerius Maximus spent to the ingratitude the full Chapter 3 of Book V of his work Memorable Deeds and Sayings; he says about Scipio in V,3.2b:

When it had not yet off the pain for what happened, there was another reason for regret: because after the African  the Old transformed to master of Carthage  the Roman people weakened and broken by the Punic Wars, a people almost lifeless and dying, the  citizens, for compensate with  injustices this heroic action, relegated him to a filthy village and uninhabited swamp.

But the African did not go to the grave without tell  the harshness of this voluntary exile, because he ordered on his tomb was written: What ungrateful country, you shall not have even my bones.  Is there anything more worthy than this vicissitude, something fairer  than their complaints, or more moderate than this revenge of yours? It refused to receive his  ashes the land that, precisely because of him, did not have been reduced to ashes.

This was the only revenge with which Scipio answered the ingratitude of Rome, but his revenge is even more painful,  by Hercules !, than the violent attitude of Coriolanus, who attacked the country with the weapons of terror, whereas Scipio he used only shame, because he refused to express any complaints –how strong and sincere they were his good feelings- while the death did not come.

Priore adhuc querella uibrante alia deinceps exurgit. Africanus superior non solum contusam et confractam belli Punici armis rem publicam, sed paene iam exsanguem atque morientem Karthaginis dominam reddidit. cuius clarissima opera iniuriis pensando ciues ignobilis eum ac desertae paludis accolam fecerunt. eiusque uoluntarii exilii acerbitatem non tacitus ad inferos tulit, sepulcro suo inscribi iubendo 'ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem mea habes'. quid ista aut necessitate indignius aut querella iustius aut ultione moderatius? cineres ei suos negauit, quam in cinerem conlabi passus non fuerat. igitur hanc unam Scipionis uindictam ingrati animi urbs Romana sensit, maiorem me hercule Coriolani uiolentia: ille enim patriam metu pulsauit, hic uerecundia. de qua [re] ne queri quidem++tanta uerae pietatis constantia++nisi post fata sustinuit.

In these cases, homeland more than a mother is a stepmother, according to the second meaning of the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy.

Well, trivializing the transcendent tone of "ubi bene, ibi patria", we bring up the Spanish adage:
You are not from where you born, but from where you spent you life at

It is the same demystifying meaning as that of this curious souvenir or decorative plate with the figure of a bear whit this sentence:

Home is where your honey is

This I call "trivialization" of the item indicates how primal, quasi physiological,is  the concept of "homeland", although it was a lot of demagoguery with which it is used by interested nationalism.

I want to end this long article with a reference to the present time.

The movements of man on the whole earth are as old as man himself. For a thousand different reasons and following perhaps instinct of curiosity, many men have not always been in the place where they were born.

Today  migrations remain millionaire always looking for a better way of life, bene vivere, and probably never as today men have found so difficult to move from one country to another.

I will  refer to the professional exile or stay abroad of many scientific and professional and Spanish students forced to do their highly qualified work abroad. It forces me to do my stay for a few days, in this case voluntarily, with one of these exiles, highly qualified professional in Munich, the city founded about eight  hundred years ago by  Benedictine monks where the Bavarian Alps become plain.

Around here (and elsewhere in Europe, including Greece, Anatolia and northern Italy) they moved from the Iron Age, Celtic or Gaul tribes of Gauls, the "Boii", who gave the name to the "Bavarian" region. Julius Cesar documents his last move from the Danube. They ended subsumed and integrated into other peoples.

Well, at Munich, like at many other German cities, they have reached hundreds of academically well-trained young Spaniards. The better educated Spanish generation that a neoliberal and conservative minister described as nothing short of "adventurers". How ironic that an unpresentable Minister, precisely of work, she classified this national disgrace and tried to camouflage it as an opportunity for some young people to whom she should offer better future!
She called this massive outflow of young professional "external mobility" to seek job and training opportunities with a euphemism that produces shame.

One of these young people is precisely my son and that will not let me be indifferent.

Naturally, scientists have to move in the global village, but because scientists or personal interests, but not because absolute obligation to find a job commensurate with their homework because there is not at home, in his first country, which formed them.

Perhaps the reflection of the old men helps them   to better withstand the distance: ubi bene, ibi patria.

Perhaps also it helps them to know the attitude of scholars and intellectuals of Humanism and of the Renaissance, as Ghiberti says in Secondo comment, chap. XV (Vasari, ed.Lemonier I,pagXXIX):

Only someone who has learned everything is not strange  in any part; although he is deprived of his fortune, even if he is  without friends, in any city where he lives  and can wait without fear the vicissitudes of fate, he will always be a citizen. "

And Codro Urceo, exiled, in his Vita above his Opera:

Wherever the wise established its headquarters, there he will find his homeland.

It was that a time of curiosity and intellectual refinement, in which new worlds and new horizons were discovered. This is now a time of many failures and disappointments in which everything, absolutely everything, is reduced to the economic benefit of the minority.

   
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