Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Latin Via Proverbs 19

Note for the month of December: You can find Latin Christmas Carols, with a new one for each day, at my Latin Carols Blog. December 6: Conditor Alme Siderum, "Bountiful Creator of the Stars."

This group of proverbs using third declension nouns follows a slightly different pattern than the previous groups. The proverbs in today's group follow the pattern "the X is the Z's Y."

You can play a game based on this group of proverbs at the Bestiaria Latina blog.

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 19

250. The eye is the indicator of the mind. (Compare a variant saying, vultus est index animi, "the face is the indicator of the mind.")

251. Silence is the virtue of fools. (In other words, the best strategy for fools is to keep their mouths shut.)

252. Speech is the doctor of anger. (In other words, if you express your angry feelings, you might find yourself cured.)

253. Time is the soul's doctor. (Compare a similar saying in Latin Via Proverbs Group 14, Tempus optima medicina, "Time is the best medicine.")

254. Pain is the companion of pleasure. (Compare a variant phrase, Maeror perennis est voluptatis comes, "Eternal grief is the companion of pleasure.")

255. Envy is the companion of renown. (This phrase is found in Cornelius Nepos.)

256. Chance is the butcher of glory. (This phrase appears in a famous passage from Pliny the Elder describing the Roman triumph. The Roman "Fortuna" is luck, chance, and fortune, both good and ill, personified. She is notoriously fickle in her affections.)

257. A man's life is warfare. (This saying comes from the Biblical Book of Job. The complete verse is Militia est vita hominis super terram et sicut dies mercennarii dies eius, "A man's upon the earth is warfare, and his days are the days of a mercenary.")

258. Old age is the winter of life. (As often, the proverb states the comparison as if it were a fact, "old age is winter", rather than a metaphor, "old age is like winter.")

259. Sleep is the semblance of death. (This phrase is adapted from the Roman poet Ovid: quid est somnus, gelidae nisi mortis imago, "what is sleep but the image of cold death?")

260. Wine is the death of memory. (A fuller form of this phrase, from William Lily's Latin Grammar of 1549, is Vinum, nervorum venenum, et memoriae mors est, "Wine is the poison of the nerves and the death of memory.")

261. Death is the sundering of love. (You can see an emblematic illustration for this motto in the Thronus cupidinis, published in 1620.)

262. The chest is love's target. (This was a popular motto for emblem illustrations, as in this image from Otto Vaenius's Amorum emblemata, published in 1608.)

263. Walls are the guardians of friendship. (Good fences make good neighbors, as Robert Frost would say!)

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

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