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Juvenal’s Prescription: “mens sana in corpore sano”

5 04 2008

Last 28 March 2008, Friday afernoon, the Philippine Army celebrated its 111th Founding Anniversary with a Military Parade and Awarding Ceremony to its Officers, Enlisted Personnel, Civilian Employees, Reservists and NGOs. The Guest of Honor and Speaker in the said event was the Secretary of National Defense, Hon. Gilberto C Teodoro. I attended the event as one of the Major Unit (Infantry Division) Commanders of the Philippine Army.

After the parade, all the guests were invited to a Cocktails at the Garden Area of the Philipine Army Clubhouse. This was the time where I mingled and talked with other younger officers and some of my contemporaries in the military service. I wanted to approach the Secretary of National Defense (SND) for an informal talks with him. Last month, my brother called me through the cellphone one night informing me that he met SND at the Malacanang Palace with the information that Secretary Teodoro was extending his regards to me and that he had read my post in this blog about my new name–Vin Diesel and he informed me also that he is a regular visitor of my blog. My brother congratulated me as my blog is slowly reaching other VIPs.

At that moment during the Cocktails, I could hardly approach the SND because of the continuous presence of the media interviewing him and I did not want to distract his concentration on these interviews. At the signal that he was about to leave the place and go to his waiting car, I immediately positioned myself at the path he was about to take and it was good that he saw me. As he was walking towards me, he said, “You should write about “mens sana in corpore sana”, it’s Juvenal’s Prescription! You go to Google and read about it”. He repeated the phrase but I was not able to memorize the exact words of the phrase before he finally boarded his car. After thirty minutes, I immediately sent a text message to my brother asking him the cellphone number of the Secretary in order to get the exact words of the phrase he told me. After sending the SND my message asking him about the phrase, he immediately replied and I told him that I got the phrase and replied to him that the phrase came from Satire X of the Roman poet, Juvenal and the phrase is being used in the name brand of ASICS running shoes. I was already infront of my laptop browsing the Internet while sending him the message.

It was really nice for the Secreatry of National Defense to have given me this tip to read and relay it to my readers. The folowing is the excerpts of that poem written by Juvenal:

It is to be prayed that the mind be sound in a sound body.

Ask for a brave soul that lacks the fear of death,

which places the length of life last among nature’s blessings,

which is able to bear whatever kind of sufferings,

does not know anger, lusts for nothing and believes

the hardships and savage labors of Hercules better than

the satisfactions, feasts, and feather bed of an Eastern king.

I will reveal what you are able to give yourself;

For certain, the one footpath of a tranquil life lies through virtue.

orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.

fortem posce animum mortis terrore carentem,

qui spatium uitae extremum inter munera ponat

naturae, qui ferre queat quoscumque labores,

nesciat irasci, cupiat nihil et potiores

Herculis aerumnas credat saeuosque labores

et uenere et cenis et pluma Sardanapalli.

monstro quod ipse tibi possis dare; semita certe

tranquillae per uirtutem patet unica uitae.

(10.356-64)

This are the exact words of a portion taken from the Satire X of Juvenal for the Romans to have a “sound mind in a sound body” or often translated as “a healthy mind in a healthy body”, an answer to the question of what the Romans should desire in life.

 

This phrase is used in the name of a popular sports shoes, ASICS. Instead of calling the shoes brand as MSICS, taking the first letter of each word of the phrase, the originators changed it to ASICS (Anima Sana In Corpore Sano) which is translated as “a sound spirit in a sound body”. The phrase is also being used by universities and colleges and physical training units of well-known Armed Forces of other nations. This is also the favorite phrase of former American President Harry S Truman.

There had been so many articles written about this phrase as anybody could browse at Google and type in this phrase. I enjoin my readers to read the diferent articles about this phrase.

To Secretary Teodoro, thanks again for the “tip” and added knowledge. I am sure my readers will be happy about this.

 

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4 responses

5 04 2008
sheemijo

Hi Bald Runner:

Thank you po for posting this very inspiring part of poem… I learned something new today upon reading your blog.

5 04 2008
kingofpots

sheemijo, thanks for the comment and i am glad you liked my post today.

8 04 2008
quicksilverrunner

Very nice King!

I didn’t know much about the ASICS name until now. The Roman poet’s name is familiar, but I’ve never seen his work. The prescription with the Latin translation is a nice touch.

Hope you are having a great day where you are. Keep on running or golfing (looks like you are good at both!)

Quicksilver

8 04 2008
kingofpots

Quicksilver, thanks for the comment and I am glad that no less than Secretary Teodoro of the Dept. of Nat’l Defense told me about the phrase & Juvenal. i am always busy in my work but i still find time to run and practice golf to de-stress and relax. keep on running, too!

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