Sts Augustin and Ambrose, tempera and gold on wood (ca 1437), Fillippo Lippi, L'Accademia Albertina, Torino, Italy
Sts Augustin and Ambrose, tempera and gold on wood (ca 1437), Fillippo Lippi, L’Accademia Albertina, Torino, Italy

Ever heard the expression, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”?

Of course you have.

Know where the expression derives? St. Ambrose, way back in 387 A.D.

As the story goes, when St. Augustine of Hippo arrived in Milan to assume his role as Professor of Rhetoric for the Imperial Court, he observed that the Church did not fast on Saturdays as it did in Rome.

Confused, Augustine consulted with the wiser and older Ambrose, then the Bishop of Milan, who replied: “When I am at Rome, I fast on Saturday; when I am at Milan I do not. Follow the custom of the Church where you are.”

In 1621, British author Robert Burton, in his classic writing Anatomy of Melancholy, edited St. Ambrose’s remark to read: “When they are at Rome, they do there as they see done.”

Down through the years, Burton’s turn of the St. Ambrose quote was further edited, anonymously, into what is widely repeated today on a daily basis by some traveler, somewhere, trying to adjust to his/her new or temporary surroundings.

P1000977

Now, I wonder who authored that popular, but highly graphic, modern-day Roman expression where one fella, obviously very perturbed at another, threatens to lay waste the other guy along with three-quarters of the residents living in his apartment building.

Hmm. I’ll have to look into that.

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

TPT Borsalino on Cobblestone | ©Tom Palladio Images

_________________________________________

Advertisements

Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

11 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s