The frontispiece of the well known Codex Vaticanus Latinus 3868, through a photo of Publius Terentius Afer.

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2018 Paideia Institute High School Essay contest. We are pleased to publish here the essay of the Latin winner, Claire Pavlides. Claire won a pilgrimage to Rome for Living Latin in Rome High School 2018.>

Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto. — Terence (Publius Terentius Afer), Heauton Timorumenos, Act 1, scene 1, line 77

I am humale, I take into consideration nothing humale alien to me.

The quotation I have preferred is by the Roguy playwideal Terence (Publius Terentius Afer). It is a line from his play The Self-Tormentor, which was created in 165 B.C.

Tbelow were a couple of various other quotes that I had strongly thought about, consisting of phrases by Horace, Seneca the Younger, and Cicero. I had found these in a book that collected famed Latin sayings by a variety of great philosophers, political leaders and also poets, and also some witty quotes from anonymous resources.

But the quote by Terence was particularly amazing because I had actually watched a referral to it in English literature. We read a story by Flannery O’Connor in English class in the autumn and also once I learned even more around her, I found Terence’s quote. It was supposedly a very vital quote to Maya Angelou, also.

It turns out that the quote has been mistakenly attributed to a handful of authors over the years, consisting of Maya Angelou, John Donne, Karl Marx, and, perhaps most regularly, Michel de Montaigne, a French theorist who lived in the 16th century. Montaigne chosen Terence’s line so much that it was engraved in the roof beam of his examine. Maybe that’s where the confusion started.

It is a expression that still implies a lot to some individuals. A writer called Leslie Jamison had it tattooed on her left arm and later publiburned an essay about it in The New York Times.

Now once I check out around Terence’s life, I uncovered some interesting points. For instance, he was born exterior of Rome, perhaps in Carthage, and involved Rome as a slave. His intellect greatly impressed his understand (Terentius Lucanus), who freed him as an outcome. He composed 6 comic plays, all of which have endured. One way he added to Latin was by developing a literary style that reflected everyday conversation.

But one thing that I found particularly exciting was that a variety of his works were adaptations of functions by an previously Greek playwappropriate called Menander (344? — 292? B.C.). In truth, it is still discussed how much of Terence’s functions were his very own creation and just how much came from Menander. It is feasible that Menander was the original resource of the expression. While Menander composed over 100 plays, unfavor Terence, extremely few of his works have survived. Many of what we have actually are fragments.

To me, the phrase “I am human, I think about nopoint human alien to me” has actually multiple definitions. Because many kind of authors have actually appeared to take on the expression, it makes me think it could relate to the role of a writer or artist who attempts to capture life as he or she sees it. This can mean that we need to try to look at others and attempt to understand their motives and also behaviors, even when they differ greatly from our own.

It might also intend that by observing human being very closely, it have the right to help us understand how we have the right to be much better. We can learn from both the successes and also failures of others. There is a expression I’ve heard in background class, “those that cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Anvarious other interpretation would certainly be that it is about being empathetic — that we must have the ability to consider and also try to understand concepts and lifelayouts that are various from our own. Because we are component of mankind and also our similarities might be greater than our differences.

This can be crucial bereason of the way our people is now. Many kind of world seek to find means we are different (including race, faith, national politics, sex, skin color, course, and level of education). But one means of interpreting Terence’s prominent line is that while we are all distinct, we additionally share many kind of of the features that make us human. Maybe in a polarized world where tbelow are great political divisions and human being don’t listen to each various other, it would certainly be helpful to remember Terence’s words.

One of the factors we should examine the classics is bereason many kind of of the good thoughts that have actually endured the centuries are universal and also have inspired excellent thinkers dvery own via the eras. Many kind of sayings that have survived are well-written and also well-reasoned. They are frequently statements expressed clearly and succinctly, and also have stood the test of time.

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Going to Latin class is prefer going to a seance (yet one that might actually work!). You’re able to hear from the ghosts who have actually been dead for 2,000 years yet only if you have the right to hear them. Unmuch less we take the time to learn Latin, we have the right to never before really hope to totally understand also the Romans and also their way of living. Learning about the Romans is a means we deserve to learn about ourselves for we are they.


Who’s Who In The Classical World edited by Simon Hornbreduced and also Tony Spawforth, Oxford University Press, 2000