If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Thursday 22 March 2012
post equitem sedet atra Cura
behind the horseman sits black anxiety
Horace (8 Dec 65 – 27 Nov 8 BCE)
Things haven’t changed that much, or, as the French like to say, plus ça change plus c’est la même chose (‘the more things change the more they’re the same thing’). What Horace so neatly encapsulates is what today we refer to as ‘the geographical cure’!
Upset, worried, anxious? Hop on a jet – preferably your own – and fly away from your problems to some sunny clime. The wealthy Roman of yore had no jet, to be sure, but a beautiful steed on which he could ‘escape’ from Rome and all his problems there by galloping off to his vast country estates. Problem is, atra Cura (personified ‘black anxiety’) is still with him, riding right behind him on the saddle, and Cura won’t get off, will be with him out in the countryside, and all the mess he thought he’d left behind in Rome has followed him out of town. Ditto for that jet-setter!
I guess that – then as now – you just can’t run away from yourself, your baggage, your messy life, whether on your caparisoned steed or a plushly appointed private plane: try as you will, Cura – just like your shadow – simply will not leave you alone!