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Omnia mea mecum porto.[1]

All that is mine I carry with me.


Hunnus inops Scythicique miserrimus accola Ponti,[2]
Ustus perpetuo livida membra gelu:
Qui Cereris non novit opes, nec dona Lyaei,[3]
Et pretiosa tamen stragula semper habet.
Nam murinae illum perstringunt undique pelles:
Lumina sola patent, caetera opertus agit.
Sic furem haud metuit, sic ventos temnit & imbres,
Tutus apudque viros, tutus apudque Deos.

The impoverished Hun, wretched dweller beside the Scythian Sea, whose limbs are always blue and burnt by frost, has no knowledge of Ceres’ bounty or of the gifts of Lyaeus, yet he always has luxurious wraps. Ermine furs hug him round on every side; only his eyes are visible, he spends his life covered everywhere else. So he has no fear of the thief, he pays no attention to wind and rain, safe in the presence of men and in the presence of gods.


1. These words, (according to Cicero, Paradoxa Stoicorum, 1.8, and Seneca, Epistulae morales, 9.19), were used by the philosophers Bias and Stilbo, when they had apparently lost everything; also by the poet Simonides when shipwrecked (Phaedrus, 4.22.14).

2. The Pontus Scythicus was one Classical name for the Black Sea (a.k.a. Pontus Euxinus), on the northern shores of which dwelt various barbarian tribes, from Scythians to Goths to Huns.

3. Cereris...opes,...dona Lyaei, ‘Ceres’ of Lyaeus’, i.e. corn and wine, given to mankind by Ceres and Bacchus (Lyaeus, the relaxer, or deliverer from care).

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