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Germania by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Chapter 21: Feuds and friends
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All the enmities of your house, whether of your father or of your kindred, you must necessarily adopt; as well as all their friendships. Neither are such enmities unappeasable and permanent: since even for so great a crime as homicide, compensation is made by a fixed number of sheep and cattle, and by it the whole family is pacified to content. A temper this, wholesome to the State; because to a free nation, animosities and faction are always more menacing and perilous. In social feasts, and deeds of hospitality, no nation upon earth was ever more liberal and abounding. To refuse admitting under your roof any man whatsoever, is held wicked and inhuman. Every man receives every comer, and treats him with repasts as large as his ability can possibly furnish. When the whole stock is consumed, he who had treated so hospitably guides and accompanies his guest to a new scene of hospitality; and both proceed to the next house, though neither of them invited. Nor avails it, that they were not: they are there received, with the same frankness and humanity. Between a stranger and an acquaintance, in dispensing the rules and benefits of hospitality, no difference is made. Upon your departure, if you ask anything, it is the custom to grant it; and with the same facility, they ask of you. In gifts they delight, but neither claim merit from what they give, nor own any obligation for what they receive. Their manner of entertaining their guests is familiar and kind. Suscipere tam inimicitias seu patris seu propinqui quam amicitias necesse est; nec implacabiles durant: luitur enim etiam homicidium certo armentorum ac pecorum numero recipitque satisfactionem universa domus, utiliter in publicum, quia periculosiores sunt inimicitiae iuxta libertatem. Convictibus et hospitiis non alia gens effusius indulget. Quemcumque mortalium arcere tecto nefas habetur; pro fortuna quisque apparatis epulis excipit. Cum defecere, qui modo hospes fuerat, monstrator hospitii et comes; proximam domum non invitati adeunt. Nec interest: pari humanitate accipiuntur. Notum ignotumque quantum ad ius hospitis nemo discernit. Abeunti, si quid poposcerit, concedere moris; et poscendi in vicem eadem facilitas. Gaudent muneribus, sed nec data imputant nec acceptis obligantur: victus inter hospites comis.