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The Oak


Grata Iovi est quercus, qui nos servatque, fovetque:
Servanti civem querna corona datur.[1]
Glande aluit veteres,[2] sola nunc proficit umbra:
Sic quoque sic arbos officiosa Iovis.

The oak is pleasing to Jove who preserves and cherishes us. A crown of oak is given to one who preserves a fellow-citizen.
The oak fed men of old with its acorns. Now it benefits us only with its shade. In this way too the tree of Jove does us service.


1.  ‘a crown of oak’, awarded for saving the life of a fellow-soldier; see Pliny, Natural History, 16.3.7.

2.  For the ancient belief that early man fed on acorns see e.g. Lucretius, De Rerum natura, 5.939; Vergil, Georgics, 1.7; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.106.

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