WHEN IN ROME
While obviously not a farm saying, one of our dealers requested this one. Thanks Paul!
Meaning: It is polite, and possibly also advantageous, to abide by the customs of a society when one is a visitor.
Origin: Why should an English proverb single out Rome and Roman values as especially to be emulated? Couldn't we have had a 'when in Ipswich, do as the Ipswichians do' for example? As it turns out, it's all to do with the travel arrangements of a couple of early Christian saints.
St Augustine: Letters Volume I was translated from the Latin by Sister W. Parsons and published in 1951. Letter 54 to Januariuscontains this original text, which date from circa 390AD:
When I go to Rome, I fast on Saturday, but here [Milan] I do not. Do you also follow the custom of whatever church you attend, if you do not want to give or receive scandal.
Januarius, who was later canonised as a martyr saint, was Bishop of Naples at the time.
The above dates the source of the proverb to at least as early as the beginnings of the Christian church. The implied flexibility on dogma and acceptance of the religious and social practices of other cultures seems to be more akin to the contemporary Buddhist teachings of the Dalai Lama than those of present day Christian authorities.
The use of the proverb in English isn't recorded until much later - well into the Middle Ages.
Farm Sayings Friday is weekly feature of Yield Starts Here. You might think your grandparents made it up, but that old saying likely goes back many years. In this feature we will figure out who said it first and what it really means! Do you have a well used saying in your family, send to us and we'll feature it in a future blog.
Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a Blogronomist and Sales and Marketing Manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at http://blog.calciumproducts.com/ .