Most all my time is spent on learning Turkish: writing little essays on my last holiday, constantly comparing the grammar to Latin, and struggling with vocabulary. Tonight we came home in good spirits from the class and a fun exchange with our vegetable seller. I put on Cicero’s On the Nature of the Gods on Librivox while cooking dinner. Normally we listen together to such things at bedtime, and usually Greek or things I’m unlikely to ever write about. I do enjoy just listening sometimes, remembering that my ‘primary evidence’ is good literature too. It occurred to me that if I needed a little break from Turkish Cicero might keep the mind ticking over in a useful way hands free. So… the spinach is sitting half washed in the sink and i’m in my new office at my new standing desk trying to spit out a little thought:
atque haut scio, an pietate adversus deos sublata fides etiam et societas generis humani et una excellentissuma virtus iustitia tollatur.
I do not even know, if we cast off pietas towards the Gods, but that fides, and all the societas of human life, and that most excellent of all virtues, iustitia, may perish with it.
The article I just sent off said a good deal about representations of fides on coins. I’m struck here by the connection of it with societas generis humani. The L&S (no OLD with me in Turkey, I will confess!) says of societas:
implying union for a common purpose; cf.: conjunctio, consociatio; and not a mere assembly; cf.: circulus, coetus; conventus, sodalitas; freq. and class.
The Cicero passage surely supports this implication. My attraction to the passage is that it gives a nice illustration of how fides is associated with divine bonds in human society. It demonstrates how the ‘virtue’ is conceived of in a foundational manner, of practical significance to all associations. but also more than practical, something dependent on the sacred as well.
Anyway, spinach awaits. After the exam (my first in how many years I dread to think?!) we’re going to pop out east to see a ruin and museum or two for 48 hours and then straight on with the coin book. I finished the book review Friday and tweaked and sent it off Sunday, so it’s not ALL been Turkish.