Saturday, July 31, 2010


The notes here are taken from the actual Scala, so be warned that references to the "previous" proverb refer to its order in the Scala, not its order here. You can read more about the word at the Verbosum blog: MATER.

Natura rerum omnium mater. ~ Note: Of course, we also speak about "Mother Nature" in English, too!

Mater semper certa est, pater numquam. ~ Note: In a single saying you have here an honest admission about the anxiety that seems to account for much of the paranoid way in which men in patriarchal societies have sought to control the women.

Qualis mater, talis et filia. ~ Note: Note that "et" is being used adverbially here. It does not connected two equal things, but instead means something like "even" or "also" in English: As the mother, so too the daughter. (Compare the English saying, "Like father, like son.")

Sicut mater, ita et filia eius. ~ Note: Notice the adverbial use of "et" here - instead of joining two things ("and"), the word "et" here means something like "also" or "even" - Just as the mother is, so is her daughter also. This saying is included by Polydorus in his Adagia, B412.

Ut pater, ita filius; ut mater, ita filia. ~ Note: This saying works very nicely in Latin because of the natural relationship between the words "filius" and "filia" (unlike the disconnect between "son" and "daughter" in English).

Filius ut patri similis, sic filia matri.

Terra est communis mater omnium mortalium.

Mater bonarum artium est sapientia. ~ Note: Here is another way of looking at the relationship between wisdom and the arts: she is not their commander (see previous saying), but their mother. This saying comes from Cicero's De Legibus, 1 - but the reading of the text is not clear; some modern editors render it as "Mater bonarum rerum sapientia," wisdom is the mother of good things (rerum).

Voluptas malorum mater omnium. ~ Note: Voluptas is a feminine noun, so it makes sense that "she" is a mother of things - wicked things, at least according to this proverb.

Matris imago filia est. ~ Note: Compare the English saying "to be the spit and image" of someone - here you have the image, but not the spit: The daughter is the image of her mother.

Mater criminum necessitas. ~ Note: Compare the much more positive take on necessity which you saw earlier: Mater artium necessitas.

Mater artium necessitas. ~ Note: As in the previous saying, the idea here is that necessity requires us to develop new skills and talents. Compare the English saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention."

Nemo non formosus filius matri.

alma mater

Timidi mater non flet. ~ Note: This biting proverb is one that Erasmus includes in his Adagia, 4.6.12.

Mater timidi flere non solet.

Terra mater crescentium, nutrix viventium.

Luxuria avaritiae mater.

Honora patrem tuum et matrem tuam. ~ Note: The words are from the Biblical book of Exodus, 20, the Ten Commandments. Here is the complete verse: Honora patrem tuum et matrem tuam, ut sis longaevus super terram, quam Dominus Deus tuus dabit tibi.

Luxuria inopiae mater.

Mea mater, mea pater: lupus est filium tuum.

Egestatis mater inertia.

Solitudo mater sollicitudinis.

Similitudo morum est mater amorum.

Obedientia felicitatis mater. ~ Note: This is one of the sayings Erasmus included in his Adagia, 4.5.59.

Aequalitas concordiae mater.

Paupertas sanitatis mater.

Gula inopiae mater. ~ Note: The word gula literally refers to the throat or gullet and, by metonymy, to the food that goes down that gullet - gluttony. Since the word gula is feminine, that is why it is a mother, mater, feminine.

Nimia gula morborum mater. ~ Note: Since gula is a feminine noun, this means it can be the mother, mater, of things - in this case, the mother of illnesses.

Mater crudelitatis ira.

Crudelitatis mater est avaritia, pater furor.

Bella matribus detestata.

Inscitia mater arrogantiae.

Repetitio mater memoriae.

Repetitio est mater studiorum.

Omnium malorum stultitia est mater.

Omnium malorum stultitia est mater. ~ Note: This is included by André Rouillé in his anthology of Cicero's notable sententiae.

Vitulus sequitur vaccam, filia matrem.

Ipsa dies quandoque parens, quandoque noverca. ~ Note: This is one of the sayings Erasmus included in his Adagia, 1.8.64.

Uni mater adest, alii sors dura noverca.

Saeva noverca dies nunc est, nunc mater amica.

Qualis erat mater, filia talis erit. ~ Note: This is one of the moral sayings of Michael Verinus.

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