Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 31

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. This group features third declension adjectives, all the nominative case.

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 31

420. How sweet liberty is! (This is the moral of a famous Aesop's fable about the dog and the wolf. The wolf saw a well-fed dog and was ready to come live with the dog but he then saw that the dog had to wear a collar and chain around his neck. The wolf preferred his liberty to the dog's good food! )

421. In love, madness is always sweet. (This is one of the sayings attributed to Publilius Syrus.)

422. Sweet is the memory of evils that have passed by. (This is another one of the sayings attributed to Publilius Syrus.)

423. The courting of a powerful friend is sweet to those who have not tried it before. (This is from one of the epistles of Horace. The full form is: Dulcis inexpertis cultura potentis amici: expertus metuit., "The courting of a powerful friend is sweet to those who have not tried it before; the one who has tried it, knows fear.")

424. Skill takes time, life is short. (This is a Latin translation of a phrase attributed to the Greek physician, Hippocrates. The full form is: Ars longa, vita brevis, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile, "Skill takes time, life is short, opportunity rushes by, testing is dangerous, diagnosis is difficult.")

425. Life is long for someone wretched, short for someone happy. (This is another one of the sayings attributed to Publilius Syrus.)

426. The opportunity for making money is brief. (This phrase comes from an epigram of Martial. The full form of the phrase is Accipe quam primum: brevis est occasio lucri, "Seize it at once: the opportunity for making money is brief.")

427. Anger is a brief madness. (You can find a similar saying in Horace: ira furor brevis est, "anger is a brief rage.")

428. The wrath of god is inescapable. (This saying made its way into Erasmsus's Adagia, 5.2.32.)

429. Human memory is feeble. (The Latin word fragilis means, literally, "easily broken, breakable," but metaphorically it comes to mean "transitory; weak, feeble.")

430. People are extremely changeable. (The Latin verb valde, meaning "highly, strongly, extremely," is from the related adjective validus, "strong.")

431. Luck is a fickle goddess. (The full form of the phrase is Levis est fortuna: cito reposcit, quod dedit, "Luck is a fickle goddess: she quickly takes back what she gave." This is another one of the sayings attributed to Publilius Syrus.)

432. The way from the earth to the stars is not easy. (This is a saying from Seneca's play Hercules furens.)

433. Always faithful. (This is an extremely popular motto, perhaps best associated with the United States Marines Corps, who often shorten it to "Semper fi." )

434. Faithful till the end. (Or I guess you could translate it as "faithful to the finish" in order to get some of the sound-play of the Latin.)

435. An alliance with someone powerful is never dependable. (This is the motto the Aesop's fable about the lion's share. A sheep, goat and cow make a partnership with a lion, but after they capture a deer, the lion takes the whole thing for himself - the "lion's share.")

436. Virtue is always flourishing. (The literal meaning of Latin viridis is "green," and by metaphorical extension, it means "flourishing, in bloom.")

437. Death is like unto sleep. (This notion is found in Cicero, in his Tusculan Disputations, where he is restating Socrates's speech before the judges, after he had been condemned to death.)

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