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: VOX.

Vox unius, vox nullius. ~ Note: The Latin word "vox" expresses a whole range of meaning, including what we call "sound" in English, as well as "voice" and also the idea of "word" (hence "vocabulary," referring to a collection of words).

Vox populi, vox Dei. ~ Note: This Latin saying survives in the terminology of modern broadcast journalism, where "vox pop" refers to the voice of the man on the street, when reporters randomly ask people for their comments. The saying is first cited by the medieval English scholar Alcuin; compare also the similar saying, "Haud semper errat fama," "Rumor is not always wrong." The saying is included by Polydorus in his Adagia, B225.

Melior est vox operis, quam vox oris. ~ Note: This is a metaphorical way to contrast words (vox oris) and deeds (vox operis).

viva voce ~ Note: In England and elsewhere, this phrase is still used in its shortened form - "viva" - to refer to an oral exam.

Multum viva vox facit. ~ Note: The words are quoted in one of Seneca's letters to Lucilius, 4.33. Erasmus includes "viva vox" as one of his Adagia, 1.2.17.

Vox audita perit, sed littera scripta manebit. ~ Note: This is one of the sayings collected by Wegeler, 1472. Unlike the written word, the spoken word did not last. It is heard (audita) and then it perishes (that is, until we developed the technology to record audio!). You can also see the same idea expressed in this parallel proverb: Vox audita perit, littera scripta manet.

Et lacrimae pondera vocis habent. ~ Note: You can find these words in Ovid's Heroides, 3, the letter of Briseis to Achilles.

Nescit vox missa reverti. ~ Note: Notice the passive infinitive: reverti. In English, we use the word "return" both transitively (I shall return the book to the library) and intransitively (MacArthur's "I shall return"). In Latin, the active form of verto expresses the transitive use, while the passive form expresses the intransitive use: A sound, once emitted, does not know how to go back.

Flectitur iratus voce rogante deus.

Vox sanguinis clamat de terra. ~ Note: The words from the Biblical book of Genesis are: Vox sanguinis fratris tui clamat ad me de terra. The saying is included by Polydorus in his Adagia, B428.

Validior vox operis quam oris.

Vox operis validior est, quam oris.

Vox et praeterea nihil.

Vox est potentior ense.

Ostia cur claudis, si vocem pauperis audis? ~ Note: This is one of the sayings collected by Wegeler, 833: Ostia cur claudis, si vocem pauperis audis? / Fac, quae Christus amat, dum pauper ad ostia clamat.

Dissimilis cunctis vox, vultus, vita, voluntas.

Si vox est canta; si mollia brachia, salta.

Ne si bos quidem vocem edat. ~ Note: This is one of the sayings Erasmus included in his Adagia, 3.1.46.

Ego vox clamantis in deserto.

Vox clamantis in deserto.

Corvus voce crocitat sua.

Intoleranda Romanis vox: Vae victis!

Sine lingua et voce loquitur somnium.

Qui avertit aurem suam a clamore pauperum, ipse clamabit et dominu deus non exaudiet vocem suam. ~ Note: You can find this saying in the famous debate between Marcolf and King Solomon.

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