Monday, March 26, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 49

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! 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 49

653. Love is more precious than gold. (The comparison pretiosior auro, "more precious than gold" is used for various objects of comparison: virtus fulvo pretiosior auro, "virtue is more precious than yellow gold," etc.)

654. Freedom is more precious than gold. (This saying is also found in the expanded form: Libertas fulvo pretiosior auro, "freedom is more precious than yellow gold.")

655. The mind more splendid than gold. (You can find this saying in the ancient Latin poem, Laus Pisonis, a poem probably written by Titus Calpurnius Siculus.)

656. Peace is preferable to war. (You will also see the neuter form of potior, being used as an adverb meaning "rather," potius.)

657. Truth is more brilliant than the sun. (The word sole is from the noun sol, meaning "sun." It is not from the adjective solus, "only.")

658. Prudence is greater than fate. (This is a phrase found in Vergil's Georgics which, taken out of that context, has come to have an independent meaning in the emblem tradition.)

659. Prudence is greater than force. (This is the moral to the Aesop's fable of the crow and the pitcher, as told by the poet Avianus.)

660. Good is more powerful than evil. (Notice that this is the use of the substantive adjective in Latin: bonum, translated here as "good," means literally "a good thing.")

661. The hammer is wiser than the handle. (This is a saying found in Plautus's Epidicus.)

662. Blood is thicker than water. (This is a Latin motto that circulates on the Internet, although it does not appear to have an ancient source and is probably a translation of the familiar English saying. The Romans placed a high value on kinship by blood, of course, so this is a proverb they would have liked, I suspect.)

663. The frog is wiser than the tadpole. (This is a phrase that makes its way into Erasmus's Adagia, 2.1.34. You will also find tadpole as a feminine noun, gyrina. The word is from Greek, as the tell-tale "y' indicates, and in Greek the word is decidedly masculine, as is the word for frog.)

664. The just man is stronger than a lion. (This is a saying from the tradition of family heraldry.)

665. The eyes are more trustworthy than the ears. (In other words, don't believe everything you hear!)

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