Thursday 29 February 2024

Strength of Mind

Omnis homines, qui sese student praestare ceteris animalibus, summa ope niti decet, ne vitam silentio transeant veluti pecora, quae natura prona atque ventri oboedientia finxit. sed nostra omnis vis in animo et corpore sita est: animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur; alterum nobis cum dis, alterum cum beluis commune est. quo mihi rectius videtur ingeni quam virium opibus gloriam quaerere, et quoniam vita ipsa qua fruimur brevis est, memoriam nostri quam maxume longam efficere. nam divitiarum et formae gloria fluxa atque fragilis est, virtus clara aeternaque habetur.

All human beings, who desire to surpass to other animals, ought to endeavour to the best of their ability to avoid passing through life in obscurity like cattle, which nature formed with their heads to the ground, subservient to their bellies. But taken as a whole our strength is situated in the mind as well as the body: we enjoy rather the power of the mind and servitude of the body; the first we hold in common with the gods, the latter with beasts. For which reason it appears to me more reasonable to seek glory with our intellectual resources than though our physical strength, and since the life itself which we enjoy is short, to make the memory of our lives as long lasting as possible. For the glory of wealth and physical beauty is fluid and fragile, but virtue shines brilliantly and is eternal.
Sallust, Catilinae Coniuratio, I. My translation.