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Publica privatis potiora.

Public is better than private

Quem pietas ducit patriae, & per saecula nomen,
Cui populus curae, bella salute regit:
Hunc nihil absterret, cives conservat amatos,
Ac litem propria vult, dirimitque nece.
Quām sese gessit Codrus, discrimen Athenis
Quām grave servili conditione levat?
Curtius ut vocem divûm, monitusque redemit,
Sic Dores contrādevovet hic animam.
Egregiam laudem tulit alter, funere Codrus
Sed maiora dedit, quō magč certus erat.[1]

The man motivated by love of country and good name down the ages, who cares for the welfare of his people, and safely conducts war, him nothing frightens, he preserves the beloved citizens, and wishes and does put an end to strife with his own death. How bravely Codrus acted! How great a trial of servile state did he avert from Athens! Like Curtius, when he received the voice and warning of the gods, he sacrificed his life against the Dorians. The one received great praise, but Codrus gave a greater gift, being more certain as he was of dying.


1.  Codrus was a mythological king of Athens, who sacrificed himself to defy an oracle in order to save Athens. Marcus Curtius was a Roman youth who sacrificed himself so that Rome could survive (also to defy an oracle), by jumping into a chasm on horseback in full armor.

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