Saturday, November 25, 2006

Latin Via Proverbs 120

In Group 120, you will find a new verb conjugation - conjugation 3 - again in the present active indicative only, with first declension nouns and adjectives only.

There are two classes of third conjugation verbs: those with -o and -unt in the first person singular and third person plural forms (for example, duco, ducunt), and those with -io and -iunt instead (for example, capio, capiunt).

In the Latin Via Proverbs book, no special distinction is made between the -o and -io third conjugation verbs, although in some Latin textbooks they are presented separately. Wheelock's Latin is notorious in this regard, presenting the -o third conjugation verbs in Chapter 8, but reserving the -io third conjugation verbs for Chapter 10 where they are presented at the same time as fourth conjugation verbs.

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. Please note: to read the proverbs in Latin, you need to acquire a copy of the book from! What I am providing here in the blog are notes to help people who are making their way through the book either in a Latin class or on their own.

Group 120

I'll be posting some proverbs with fourth conjugation verbs here soon, but for right now I'm going to focus on the third conjugation verbs in the next few days, and you will find both -o and -io verbs in these third conjugation proverbs.

1561. The moment is fleeing. (The full form of this saying is tempus volat hora fugit. The Latin word hora can be translated with a wide range of English words, and you need to choose the one that sounds best to you in context: moment, hour, time, season, etc.)

1562. The moment rushes by. (This was the personal motto of Hugo Grotius, the 17th-century Dutch philosopher and poet.)

1563. The lyre takes away worries. (The Latin word cithara gives us the English word "guitar" and the word "zither" too!)

1564. Music expels worries. (Very often English has many words derived from compound Latin verbs, but with no corresponding English word for the unprefixed form, as is the case here. English features the words "expel," "compel," "impel," "dispel," and so on, but there is not a simple verb "to pel.")

1565. One problem brings another. (I keep thinking there is an English parallel for this proverb, but I cannot bring it to mind! The closest thing I can come up with is "It never rains but it pours." If anybody has a suggestion, please leave a comment. The idea is that you never have one problem - as soon as you've got one problem, another one is bound to follow. There's an Aesop's fable that explains why bad things always arrive quickly in a crowd, while things arrive only rarely and one at a time.)

1566. One favor engenders another. (In other words: if you do favors for others, you will benefit from return favors in the future. The Latin word "gratia" means both "favor" and also "thanks" for a favor, as in the Spanish phrase "gracias" - or when you say "grace" at the dinner table, thanking God for his good favor in bestowing food for the meal. This saying made its way into Erasmus's Adagia, 1.1.34.)

1567. He calls a skiff a skiff. (In other words, as we say in English, "calling a spade a spade." The phrase is used to refer to a person is a straight-talker, without obfuscation or euphemisms.)

1568. One deceit drives out another. (In other words: one act of trickery calls for another act of trickery in response. This saying is found in the Roman playwright Terence.)

1569. He fears his own shadow. (You will find this saying used by Cicero.)

1570. He's weaving spider webs. (This saying about "weaving spider webs" was used to refer to someone who exerted great pains and effort for something that was ultimately frivolous and unsubstantial. This saying finds its way into Erasmus's Adagia 1.4.47.)

1571. Minerva puts the finishing touches on Nature. (The Roman goddess Minerva, Greek Athena, was the goddess of arts and crafts. The idea is that art takes what is created by nature, refining and perfecting it, bringing it to a more ideal state of completion.)

This blog post is part of an evolving online guide for users of the book Latin Via Proverbs.

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