Monday, February 26, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 34

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

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 34

462. Pleasant and useful. (This is the maxim made famous by Horace in his Ars Poetica, who advocated mixing the useful with the sweet, qui miscuit utile dulci.)

463. O the sweet name of Liberty! (You can find this famous phrase in a speech of Cicero.)

464. Sweet is danger for the sake of the fatherland. (You can find this saying in Boissard's Emblemes latins published in 1588.)

465. War is sweet to those who have not experienced it. (You can find this in Erasmus's Adagia, 4.1.1.)

466. The scourge of love is sweet. (You can find this illustrated in Otto Vaenius's Amoris divini emblemata.)

467. The beginning is sweet, but the end of love is bitter. (You can find this phrase in a little epigram by John Owen.)

468. Man is a two-legged creature without feathers. (The story goes that when the philosopher Diogenes heard this Platonic definition of man, he took a plucked chicken and said: "Here then is Plato's man!")

469. The advice of old men is best. (Note the sad shift in meaning with the English word "senile," where "senile advice" would hardly be considered the best.)

470. The deadly gift of the Danaans. (This refers, of course, to the infamous Trojan horse. You can find the phrase in Seneca's Agamemnon.)

471. Beauty is a fleeting good. (You will find this phrase in Ovid's Ars Amatoria.)

472. Conscience is a heavy weight. (Note the sneaky third-declension noun pondus, which might look suspiciously at first like a masculine form.)

473. The yoke of bondage is heavy. (You can compare a similar idea in Cicero, who wrote about iniustum illud durae servitutis iugum, "that unjust yoke of a hard bondage.")

474. Poverty is a burden that is both wretched and weighty. (A simpler form of this expression is Paupertas durum onus, "Poverty is a hard burden.")

475. The middle things are reliable. (Notice the shift in meaning in the English "mediocrity," which now has nothing but bad connotations. In Latin, the mediocria, were the things in the middle, with the positive sense of not going to extremes!)

476. The sweet things are at the bottom. (In order to reach those sweet things, of course, you have to practice some patience!)

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.

Find out about these and other children's books in Latin!

No comments: