Monday, November 27, 2006

Latin Via Proverbs 127

This group continues with third conjugation verbs, this time using both first and second declension nouns and adjectives.

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 127

1651. It begins from Leda's egg. (Leda, the queen of Sparta, was seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan. Her daughter, Helen of Troy, was born from an egg, and later became the cause of the Trojan War. Hence, the Trojan War all started from Leda's egg.)

1652. Wine inflames angry feelings. (You can find this saying in Seneca's De Ira.)

1653. Arrogance breeds hatred. (Compare a variant on this idea, ex arrogantia odium in Cicero.)

1654. Worry squeezes the mind. (The Latin verb angere means "to press, squeeze, strangle." The Latin adjectve anxius is from this same root, and gives us the English words "anxious," "anxiety," etc.)

1655. Worry makes grey hairs. (Notice the nice alliteration in Latin: cura...canos.)

1656. Delay brings danger. (The Latin word mora, "pause," gives us the English word "moratorium.")

1657. Abundance breeds distaste. (The Latin word copia appears to be a compound of co- and ops, "resources," hence meaning "with resources." The word can also be seen in the word Cornucopia, the "horn of plenty." Latin copia also gives rise to the English word "copy," although this meaning is not included in the range of meanings for the Latin word.)

1658. The donkey stumbles upon some straw. (This saying made its way into Erasmus's Adagia, 2.5.58. It refers to a situation when someone lucks into something better than he had even dared hope for himself.)

1659. The beetle is looking for the eagle. (This saying derives from the Aesop's fable where the beetle gets its revenge against the eagle by pushing the eagle's eggs out of the nest, showing that even though the beetle is a tiny creature, it was able to persecute Jupiter's own bird.)

1660. A sailor asks for a plow. (This is another one of those situations, like yesterday's saying about the blind man wanting a mirror.)

1661. The leopard does not give up its spots. (Compare the saying in Jeremiah 13: Numquid mutare potest Aethiops pellem suam aut pardus varietates suas?, Surely the Ethiopian cannot change his skin or the leopard his spots? In Rudyard Kipling's "Just -So-Stories" you can read a story about the leopard, the Ethiopian, and just how the leopard got its spots.)

1662. A beard does not make a philosopher. (You can find a delightful discussion of this saying at the blog of Laudator Temporis Acti: Beards and Philosophers.)

1663. A tonsure does not make a monk. (This phrase, a variant on the preceding proverb but now adapted for the world of monasticism, can be found in Anselm of Canterbury's Carmen de contemptu mundi. You can read about styles of monastic tonsure in this wikipedia article.)

1664. The money-bag makes a person noble. (Notice that here the Latin word generosus does not mean the same thing as the English word "generous." Instead, it means "well-born" or "noble," the cynical idea being that a fat purse is what gives one a noble reputation, rather than any actual in-born qualities.)

1665. A gallows-bird does not escape the gallows. (The Latin word furca gives us the English word "fork," but in Latin it also referred to fork-shaped stake, something like a pitchfork, which was also used as a pillory to punish criminals. Hence the term furcifer, a person who carries around a furca, the means of his own punishment.)

1666. Experience makes men cautious. (Notice that the subject experientia follows the verb, facit.)

1667. The cautious wolf fears the pitfall. (This phrase can be found in the Roman poet Horace. Notice the word order, where the adjective cautus and the noun that it modifies, lupus, as you would expect in English word order.)

1668. The grape does not grow ripe by the rays of the moon. (This phrase was used to refer to those who attempt to do something beyond their powers, in the same way that moon rays cannot ripen grapes in the way that the rays of the sun can. This saying made its way into Erasmus's Adagia, 4.7.73.)

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

Keep up with the latest posts... Subscribe by Email. I also post a daily round-up of all the Bestiaria Latina blogs: fables, proverbs, crosswords, and audio.

No comments: