Thursday, May 03, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 77

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. This is another group of proverbs, like Group 76, featuring first declension nouns, along with first conjugation verbs.

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 77
1016. You are shouting nonsense. (This is a saying you will find in Polydorus's Adagia. For information about Polydorus, see the blog.)

1017. You are counting the waves. (You can find this in Erasmus's Adagia, 1.4.45. Counting the waves was a proverbially foolish activity, as you can see in an Aesop's fable about a man counting the waves.)

1018. You are taking grapes to Athens. (This is the Latin equivalent of carrying coals to Newcastle. You can also find the phrase Noctuas Athenas portas, "You are carrying owls to Athens," with the same meaning.)

1019. You are beating the clouds. (You can find this phrase in Erasmus's Adagia, 3.6.38.)

1020. You are fighting with a shadow. (A fuller form of this phrase in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy is cum umbra pugnat qui cum iusto pugnat, "the one who fights with a just man fights with a shadow.")

1021. You are building in sand. (You can find this saying in Erasmus's Adagia, 1.4.57. It is most famously used in the Biblical parable.) In arena aedificas.

1022. You are building on stone. (This saying is most famously used in the Biblical parable.)

1023. You are nursing a viper under your arm. (You can find this saying in Petronius. Compare the similar saying, Colubrum in sinu foves, "You are fostering a snake in your breast.")

1024. You are trembling before the war-trumpet has sounded. (You can find this saying in Erasmus's Adagia, 2.8.69.)

1025. You are comparing a flute to a war-trumpet. (You can find this saying in Erasmus's Adagia, 1.8.74.)

1026. You are comparing an eagle to an owl. (The eagle was proverbial for its incredibly acute eyesight, while the owl was blinded in the light of day. You can find this saying in Erasmus's Adagia, 1.9.18.)

1027. You're pouring water for a frog. (You can find this saying in Erasmus's Adagia, 3.6.16. The idea here is like "adding fuel to the fire," giving something to someone who's already got plenty to work with, just as a frog has plenty of water already.)

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

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