Monday, March 05, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 39

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. This group again features, for the first time, fourth-declension nouns.

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 39

533. The face is the image of the mind, the eyes are its indicators. (This saying is adapted from Cicero. The word animus is notoriously difficult to translate; you can read some notes about both animus and anima in this Latin Audio Proverbs blog post.)

534. The face is the door of the mind and its writing-tablet. (The Latin word tabula means "board, plank," but it is also the "writing tablet," the little plank or board on which letters were written.)

535. Speech is the face of the mind. (Compare this saying in Publilius Syrus: Imago animi sermo est, "Speech is the image of the mind." Likewise, compare this saying in Seneca: Oratio cultus animi est, "Speech is the cultivation of the mind.")

536. As sight in the eyes, so is the mind in the soul. (The word anima is notoriously difficult to translate; you can read some notes about both animus and anima in this Latin Audio Proverbs blog post.)

537. One's own house is the best house. (There is a delightful Aesop's fable about how the gods got angry at the tortoise for expressing this sentiment, and therefore condemned the tortoise to carry its house around with it, wherever it went.)

538. Small house, small trouble. (My husband and I are currently looking for a house, and this is definitely one of the mottoes governing my house search!)

539. Small house, great calm. (You can find this motto on one of the many lovely terracotta tiles for sale at Black Dog of Wells.)

540. This hand is an enemy to tyrants. (This phrase is part of a larger saying: Manus haec inimica tyrannis ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem, "This hand, an enemy to tyrants, seeks with the sword calm peace in freedom." The second part of this saying is the state motto of Massachusetts.)

541. Here is Rhodes, here is your jump. (This is from an Aesop's fable about a boastful athlete who returned home bragging about the great long-jump he had made at an athletic festival at Rhodes. Aesop challenged the man to stop talking and put on a demonstration: "Here is Rhodes, here is your jump," said Aesop.)

542. Beauty is a flower, fame is a puff of a wind. (In other words, they are both fleeting! And be sure to note the lovely alliteration in the Latin.)

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

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