Saturday, February 24, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 33

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. This group again features third declension adjectives.

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 33

450. First among equals. (This term was adopted by the Roman emperors to describe their superior status, while appeasing the status of the senators.) Primus inter pares.

451. People are like leaves. (The idea, of course, is that as the leaves, grass, etc. come to life and then fall away in time, the same is true of human life.)

452. Not alike, but equal in death. (The phrase can be found in one of Claudian's panegyrics.)

453. Fools are beyond counting. (Compare the similar saying Proverb 81, "The number of idiots is unlimited.")

454. Sweet are the ambushes of love affairs. (You can see this saying in the emblems of Otto Vaenius, with little Cupids ambushing one another.)

455. Too brief are the flowers of the rose. (This saying is adapted from an ode of Horace. The full form of the saying is Huc uina et unguenta et nimium breuis / flores amoenae ferre iube rosae,, "Order them to bring here the wines and oils and the too brief flowers of the pleasant rose.")

456. Swift are the feet of thieves. (Compare the feet of the gods who punish those thieves, catching them unawares, no matter how swift the thieves might be: Di lanatos pedes habent, "The gods have feet wrapped in wool.")

457. Rabble-rousing at leisure, lazy in war. (You will find this phrase used in Livy.)

458. Friendships last forever, hatreds die away. () Amicitiae immortales, mortales inimicitiae.

459. Brief is the life of mortals. (This phrase is also found in Livy.)

460. The life of mortals is ash and smoke. (The ashes here are the ashes of the funeral pyre.)

461. By the immortal gods! (The word pro here is not a preposition, but rather an interjection, sometimes spelled proh.)

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