When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

How often have you said “When in Rome…” or heard someone else say it in conversation? Etymologists believe the phrase “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do” dates back to around 390AD. In a letter written by Christian Saint Augustine to the Bishop of Naples, Augustine suggested that the Bishop adapt to local customs whilst visiting local parishes to avoid possible scandal or embarrassment. Saint Augustine explained in the letter by way of example that while in didn’t fast on Saturdays in Milan, he did so when visiting Rome. The phrase today in the English language can almost be considered cliché. Who would have thought such a phrase could trace its origins back to a letter written between two Italians well over 1500 years ago.

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