Civilitatis

Civilitatis autem hoc apud eos est nunc summum, quod expedit peregrino fratrem interficere cuiuslibet, quam cum rogatus sit ad convivium excusare: defectum enim patrimonii se opimi perpeti senator existimat, si is defuerit quem aliquotiens libratis sententiis, invitaverit semel. pars eorum si agros visuri processerunt longius, aut alienis laboribus venaturi, Alexandri Magni itinera se putant aequiperasse, vel Caesaris: aut si a lacu Averni lembis invecti sunt pictis Puteolos, velleris certamen, maxime cum id vaporato audeant tempore. ubi si inter aurata flabella laciniis sericis insederint muscae, vel per foramen umbraculi pensilis radiolus irruperit solis, queruntur quod non sunt apud Cimmerios nati.
(Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae 28.4.17-18)

But the height of refinement with these men at present is, that it is better for a stranger to kill any man’s brother than to decline his invitation to dinner. For a senator thinks that he is suffering the loss of a rich property, if the man whom he has, after considerable weighing of pros and cons, invited once, fails to appear at his table. Some of them, if they make a longish journey to visit their estates, or to hunt by the labours of others, think that they have equalled the marches of Alexander the Great or of Caesar; or if they have sailed in their gaily-painted boats from the Lake of Avernus to Puteoli, it is the adventure of the golden fleece, especially if they should dare it in the hot season. And if amid the gilded fans flies have lighted on the silken fringes, or through a rent in the hanging curtain a little ray of sun has broken in, they lament that they were not born in the land of the Cimmerians. (tr. John C. Rolfe)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s