Sunday, March 11, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 43

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. This group features some more sayings with fifth-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 43

583. For the citizen and for the republic. (This is the motto of the university where I currently teach, the University of Oklahoma.)

584. Moderation is best in every business. (You can find a fuller form of this saying in Erasmus: Mensuram serva, modus in re est optimus omni, under the heading Ne quid nimis, "Nothing in excess," 1.6.96. He also cites Plautus: Modus omnibus in rebus, soror, est optimus, "Moderation in all things, sister, is best")

585. Forcefully in action and gently in style. (The Latin word modus has many meanings, as you can see in the many English words derived from it, such as "moderation," "mode," and even the word "model.")

586. So many wars throughout the world, so many faces of criminality. (You can find this saying in Vergil's Georgics.)

587. All the days of a poor man are evil. (Please note that there is a typographical error in the first printed text of the book. It should read: Omnes dies pauperis mali. The word pauperis is genitive singular, while mali is nominative plural. The saying comes from the book of Proverbs in the Bible, 15.15)

588. Our days are like a shadow. (This saying comes from the Book of Job in the Bible.)

589. Like an hour are our days upon the earth. (This is an inscription found on sundials. Compare the Biblical saying from the Book of Job, sicut umbra dies nostri sunt super terram, "our days upon the earth are like a shadow.")

590. Human affairs are frail and fleeting. (This is a saying you can find in Cicero's De Amicitia.)

591. Not with words, but with deeds. (This saying can refer to human action, i.e., "don't tell me - show me." This is also the idea behind the English rebus, a message or word expressed in pictures or symbols, without using words.)

592. O how great an emptiness there is in things! (This is an expression from one of the satires of Persius.)

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