An Ancient Perspective on New Travel Bans

“The soul is no traveler; the wise man stays at home.”–Emerson, “Self Reliance”

Theognis, 783-788

true, I went as far as the land of Sicily once,
and I went to the vine-covered plain of Euboea,
and Sparta, that splendid city on the reed-sprouting Eurotas,
and they welcomed me graciously, every place I visited—
yet not one pleasure came to my heart from them.
and so, this truth: nothing is more dear than one’s own country.

†ἦλθον μὲν γὰρ ἔγωγε καὶ εἰς Σικελήν ποτε γαῖαν,
ἦλθον δ᾽ Εὐβοίης ἀμπελόεν πεδίον,
Σπάρτην τ᾽ Εὐρώτα δονακοτρόφου ἀγλαὸν ἄστυ,
καί μ᾽ ἐφίλευν προφρόνως πάντες ἐπερχόμενον.
ἀλλ᾽ οὔτις μοι τέρψις ἐπὶ φρένας ἦλθεν ἐκείνων:
οὕτως οὐδὲν ἄρ᾽ ἦν φίλτερον ἄλλο πάτρης.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at

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