Friday, December 08, 2006

Latin Via Proverbs 21

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 8: Regis Olim Urbe David, a Latin translation of the English children's carol "Once Upon A Time in the City of King David."

Today's set of proverbs is yet another pattern of proverbs using third declension nouns, and the basic pattern of the Latin is "the Y of Z is X."

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 21

276. The guide of life is thought. (The Latin word ratio gives us the English word "ratio" but it has a wide range of meanings in Latin: reckoning, reason, business, system, etc.)

277. Time is an image of water. (The Latin word instar means "image" or "likeness" and it is combined with a genitive to express a comparison or simile. In other words, time is like water.)

278. A man's life is a pilgrimage. (The Latin word peregrinatio is from the word peregre, meaning "from abroad." This Latin root gives us the English words "pilgrim" and also "pilgrimage." Interestingly, English also has a word taken more directly from the Latin: "peregrination.")

279. Death is the end of misery. (You can find a similar idea expressed in Cicero: miseriae finis in morte, "there is an end of misery in death.")

280. The life of the eggheads is hard. (This is a phrase famously attributed to Adlai Stevenson. It was used by Stevenson in a Godkin Lecture at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 17, 1954. You can read more about Adlai Stevenson at wikipedia.)

281. Wrath is the mother of cruelty. (Because ira is a feminine noun, she is the mater, "mother," of cruelty, not its father.)

282. Night is the nurse of worries. (In other words, night nourishes worries because you lie there awake at the night and just fret about things! You can find this idea expressed in the Roman poet Ovid.)

283. Patience is the conqueror of evils. (You can see an emblematic image of this saying in Otto Vaenius's Q. Horatii Flacci Emblemata, published in 1612.)

284. Wisdom is the conqueror of luck. (You can find this phrase in the Roman poet Juvenal.)

285. The pinnacle of honor is slippery. (You can see an emblematic image of this saying in Otto Vaenius's Q. Horatii Flacci Emblemata, published in 1612.)

286. Forgetting is the cure for injuries. (This is a saying you can find in the collection of maxims attributed to Publilius Syrus.)

287. Confession of a crime is the beginning of healing. (Notice the parallel structure here: nominative-genitive=nominative-genitive.)

288. The stomach is the teacher of skill and the bestower of talent. (The idea is that hunger will compel you to learn the skills you need and to discover any talents you can apply to your need for food. You can find this expression in the Roman poet Persius.)

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

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