Sky view Rome04

Πόλεις τε οὖν δή που λάμπουσιν αἴγλῃ καὶ χάριτι καὶ ἡ γῆ πᾶσα οἷον παράδεισος συγκεκόσμηται· καπνοὶ δ’ ἐκ πεδίων καὶ φρυκτοὶ φίλιοι καὶ πολέμιοι, οἷον πνεύματος ἐκριπίσαντος, φροῦδοι, γῆς ἐπέκεινα καὶ θαλάττης· ἀντεισῆκται δὲ θέας πᾶσα χάρις καὶ ἀγώνων ἄπειρος ἀριθμός. ὥστε οἷον πῦρ ἱερὸν καὶ ἄσβεστον οὐ διαλείπει τὸ πανηγυρίζειν, ἀλλὰ περίεισιν ἄλλοτε εἰς ἄλλους, ἀεὶ δέ ἐστι πού· πάντες γὰρ ἀξίως τούτου πεπράγασιν· ὥστε μόνους ἄξιον εἶναι κατοικτεῖραι τοὺς ἔξω τῆς ὑμετέρας, εἴ τινές πού εἰσιν ἄρα, ἡγεμονίας, οἵων ἀγαθῶν στέρονται. καὶ μὴν τό γε ὑπὸ πάντων λεγόμενον, ὅτι γῆ πάντων πήτηρ καὶ πατρὶς κοινὴ πάντων, ἄριστα ὑμεῖς ἀπεδείξατε. νῦν γοῦν ἔξεστι καὶ Ἕλληνι καὶ βαρβάρῳ καὶ τὰ αὑτοῦ κομίζοντι καὶ χωρὶς τῶν αὑτοῦ βαδίζειν ὅποι βούλεται ῥαδίως, ἀτεχνῶς ὡς ἐκ πατρίδος εἰς πατρίδα ἰόντι· καὶ οὔτε Πύλαι Κιλίκιοι φόβον παρέχουσιν οὔτε στεναὶ καὶ ψαμμώδεις δι’ Ἀράβων ἐπ’ Αἴγυπτον πάροδοι, οὐκ ὄρη δύσβατα, οὐ ποταμῶν ἄπειρα μεγέθη, οὐ γένη βαρβάρων ἄμικτα, ἀλλ’ εἰς ἀσφάλειαν ἐξαρκεῖ Ῥωμαῖον εἶναι, μᾶλλον δὲ ἕνα τῶν ὑφ’ ὑμῖν. καὶ τὸ Ὁμήρῳ λεχθὲν “γαῖα δέ τοι ξυνὴ πάντων” [cf. Hom., Il. 15.193] ὑμεῖς ἔργῳ ἐποιήσατε, καταμετρήσαντες μὲν πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην, ζεύξαντες δὲ παντοδαπαῖς γεφύραις ποταμούς, καὶ ὄρη κόψαντες ἱππήλατον γῆν εἶναι, σταθμοῖς τε τὰ ἔρημα ἀναπλήσαντες καὶ διαίτῃ καὶ τάξει πάντα ἡμερώσαντες.
(Aelius Aristides, Or. 26.99-101)

Cities gleam with radiance and charm, and the whole earth has been beautified like a garden. Smoke rising from plains and fire signals for friend and foe have disappeared, as if a breath had blown them away, beyond land and sea. Every charming spectacle and an infinite number of festal games have been introduced instead. Thus like an ever-burning sacred fire the celebration never ends, but moves around from time to time and people to people, always somewhere, a demonstration justified by the way all men have fared. Thus it is right to pity only those outside your hegemony, if indeed there are any, because they lose such blessings. It is you again who have best proved the general assertion, that Earth is mother of all and common fatherland. Now indeed it is possible for Hellene or non-Hellene, with or without his property, to travel wherever he will, easily, just as if passing from fatherland to fatherland. Neither Cilician Gates nor narrow sandy approaches to Egypt through Arab country, nor inaccessible mountains, nor immense stretches of river, nor inhospitable tribes of barbarians cause terror, but for security it suffices to be a Roman citizen, or rather to be one of those united under your hegemony. Homer said, “Earth common of all,” and you have made it come true. You have measured and recorded the land of the entire civilized world; you have spanned the rivers with all kinds of bridges and hewn highways through the mountains and filled the barren stretches with posting stations; you have accustomed all areas to a settled and orderly way of life. (tr. James H. Oliver)

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