Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 51

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 51

677. A force united is stronger. (This is the motto of the city of Stoke-on-Trent in England.)

678. The first love is better. (Literally, the word potior means "more capable, more possible," although the comparative form generally means "preferable" or "better.")

679. The race is faster at the finish. (You can also find a similar saying, motus in fine velocior, "the movement at the end goes faster.")

680. Turbid water is more full of fish. (You can find this saying illustrated in the Aesop's fable about the man who wanted to go fishing, and the man who was angry that his drinking water was being roiled.)

681. The more fertile crop is in another's field. (You can find this saying in Erasmus's Adagia, 1.6.72. You can find a similar saying in Ovid's Ars Amatoria.)

682. Reverence is greater from a distance. (You can find this saying expressed in Tacitus's Annales.)

683. Every dog is more bold in his own doorway. (You can find a commentary on a related saying in the Latin Audio Proverbs blog.)

684. The higher the mountain, the deeper the valley. (Notice the coordinated use of the so-called "ablative of degree of difference" used with the comparative adjectve, quo...tanto, "by so much... that much...")

685. The higher the climb, the greater the fall. (Compare the English saying, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall." The Latin gradus literally means "step," but it also means "a stair step" or a "gradation, a grade, rank.")

686. The more thorny the rose, the more sweet-smelling. (This is a saying from the tradition of family heraldry and mottoes.)

687. Stolen waters are sweeter. (This is a saying from the Biblical book of Proverbs: Aquae furtivae dulciores sunt et panis absconditus suavior, "stolen waters are sweeter and hidden bread is more tasty.")

688. Newer brooms are always better. (Compare the English saying, "new brooms sweep clean." There's a great variant on the English saying, too: "New brooms sweep clean, but an old broom knows the corners.")

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

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