Archives for: August 2008, 18


Permalink 04:01:13 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 215 words, 3143 views   English (US)
Categories: Literature, Roman Culture, Education

What the Romans Have Done for Us

H/T to Rogue Classicism for a link to an interesting “What have the Romans ever done for us?” piece in the Canadian Times & Transcript.

The article concludes with the familiar Cicero quote “A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.” David Meadows wonders about the source of that quote, and by luck I just included a blurb from Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations in a post I wrote on translating the English idiom “How few” which leads right into the original Latin for this quotation.

As regular readers may recall, Cicero was complaining about “how few” philosophers practice what they preach. His friend Atticus then argues that the hypocrisy of most philosophers proves how unimportant philosophy itself must be. Cicero disagrees:

Nullum vero id quidem argumentum est. Nam ut agri non omnes frugiferi sunt qui coluntur, falsumque illud Accii:

  Probae etsi in segetem sunt deteriorem datae
  Fruges, tamen ipsae suapte natura enitent,

Sic animi non omnes culti fructum ferunt. Atque, ut in eodem simili verser, ut ager quamvis fertilis sine cultura fructuosus esse non potest, sic sine doctrina animus; ita est utraque res sine altera debilis.

(Accius was an early Latin tragic playwright whose work survives mainly in quote-fragments like this)

Qui sciet quae quoque sint modo dicenda, nisi tamen in procinctu paratamque ad omnis casus habuerit eloquentiam, velut clausis thesauris incubabit.

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