Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 48

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. This group features another set of proverbial sayings based on the comparative form of the adjective.

Please note: to read the proverbs in Latin, you need to acquire a copy of the book from lulu.com! 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 48

639. Whiter than snow. (The Latin grammar of Donatus cites this as an example of hyperbole.)

640. Harder than adamant. (Adamant is a proverbially hard substance. Vergil tells us, for example, that Tartarus is sealed behind columns of adamant.)

641. Lighter than cork. (This is a phrase which made its way into Eramsus's Adagia, 2.4.7.)

642. More grasping than a cat. (To see the predatory cat at work, you can read about the adventures of the cat, the eagle, and the sow in this Aesop's fable.)

643. More timid than a rabbit. (An Aesop's fable tells us that the rabbits were so scared that they were ready to commit suicide, although they changed their minds when they realized the frogs were even greater cowards than the rabbits.)

644. Sleepier than a dormouse. (The proverbially sleepy dormouse was made immortal, of course, in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.)

645. More rare than a phoenix. (The mythological phoenix was a rare, solitary bird, with the new phoenix born out of the ashes of the old phoenix's funeral pyre.)

646. More changing than a chameleon. (The chameleon is a lizard able to change its color, using its chromatophore cells.)

647. Stronger than Samson. (You can read about the amazing strength of Samson in the Biblical Book of Judges.)

648. Wiser than Solomon. (The wisdom of Solomon is proverbial in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions.)

649. Stronger than Milo. (Milo of Croton was an ancient Greek athlete who was renowned for his strength, who supposedly trained by carrying a newborn calf around on his back.)

650. More fortunate than the king of the Persians. (You can find this saying in Horace.)

651. More irksome than leftover cabbage. (Erasmus includes this comparison in the introduction to his Adagia, under the heading De Figuris proverbialibus, "About Proverbial Figures of Speech.")

652. Sweeter than sweet honey. (You can find this saying used in Plautus's Asinaria.)

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