Thursday, April 05, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 57

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. This group features sayings with the superlative 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 57

756. The well-worn way is the safest. (You can read a commentary on a similar saying at the

757. The safest tower is virtue. (Compare a similar saying, cassis tutissima virtus, "the safest helmet is virtue.")

758. The strongest shield is virtue. (The aegis is the mythological shield of Zeus.)

759. Pleasing is the most brief. (I have tried to convey the ambiguity of this saying in the English translation, since the meaning can vary a great deal based on context. Completely out of context, you would probably take these words as neuter plural: "The most brief things are welcome." Yet this saying is also sometimes found inscribed on sundials in which case the words are feminine singular, referring to an implied hora, "hour," meaning "The pleasant hour is the most brief," i.e. it goes most quickly.)

760. At home, a dog is most ferocious. (You can read a commentary on a similar saying at the

761. Life is uncertain, death is absolutely certain. (Compare, of course, the English saying: Nothing is certain but death and taxes.)

762. Friendship is most solid among equals. (You can find this saying in the writings of the historian Quintus Curtius Rufus.)

763. Corruption of the best is the worst corruption. (A grammatical analysis of this saying shows up in the Capital Certamen questions for 2003.)

764. The most corrupt state, the most laws. (This is a sentiment you will find expressed in Tacitus.)

765. Peace is better than the most just war. (The fuller form of this saying, adapted from one of Cicero's letters, is Pax vel iniusta utilior est quam iustissimum bellum, "A peace, even an unjust peace, is more useful than the most just war.")

766. Amor is extremely abounding in both honey and bile. (Notice the word play in the Latin, melle...felle. You can find this saying in Plautus's Cistellaria.)

767. The most pleasant sailing is along the land, and the most pleasant walking is along the sea. (This is a saying you can find in Erasmus's Adagia, 1.2.91.)

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