Here is the beginning of the Scala. For each proverb, you can find at least one word connecting it to the previous proverb, and also at least one word connecting it to the next proverb. See if you can follow the steps of the ladder!
For each new proverb there is no more than one word of new vocabulary which you will find listed in brackets, along with some notes - but remember that there are 25 basic words you need to be familiar with first (basic pronouns, prepositions and conjunctions) before you get started.
If you have questions or comments, please let me know by leaving a post at the blog. :-)
1. Do ut des.
[do: give] This saying can be applied to exchange between human beings, but it is also commonly used to refer to religious contracts: I do something so that you, O god, may do something for me in return.
2. Qui non habet, ille non dat.
[habeo: have, hold] This is a legal maxim in Latin, but it can also apply to human life in general.
3. Nihil dat qui non habet.
[nihil: nothing] Another Latin legal maxim.
4. Qui rapit, habet.
[rapio: seize, grab, snatch] This is something like the English "finders keepers," although this is more like "grabbers keepers."
5. Rapienda est occasio.
[occasio: opportunity, chance] Note the gerundive form, rapienda, expressing necessity (the so-called "gerundive of necessity"). The direct command would be: rape occasionem, but now the object is used as the subject (occasio) and the gerundive agrees in gender and number (rapienda).
6. Occasionem nosce.
[nosco: know, find out, know how to] The Latin word occasio means when things "fall together" - ob+cado.
7. Nosce te.
[tu: you (singular)] The Greek maxim γνῶθι σεαυτόν was reportedly inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi.
8. Nosce te ipsum.
Note that you can also see this written with the te and ipsum as one word: teipsum.
9. Vince te ipsum.
[vinco: conquer, defeat, overcome] This is the motto of St. Mary's Orphanage & Day School in Kolkata, India.
10. Vincit qui se vincit.
You can see this saying as a tattoo here: image.
11. Virtute vinces.
[virtus: worth, excellent, power, virtue] This is the Leatham family motto.
12. Virtus omnia vincit.
[omnis: all, every, entire] Note the nice alliteration of virtus and vincit.
13. Non sibi, sed omnibus.
This is the motto of the Ackworth School in West Yorkshire, England.
14. Non omnia possumus omnes.
[possum: can, be able] You can find this saying in Vergil, Eclogue 8.
15. Dii omnia possunt.
[deus: god; feminine: dea] This is one of the sayings in Erasmus's Adagia, 4.6.11.
16. Deus omnia non dat omnibus.
You can find this saying in Mantuanus, Eclogue 5.
17. Deus dat cui vult.
[volo-velle: will, want, be willing] This was the royal motto of King Eric XIV of Sweden.
18. Deo Volente
This Latin phrase (an ablative absolute!) is often abbreviated: D.V. Compare the Arabic Insha'Allah.
19. Si vis, potes.
You can find this saying invoked in Horace, Satire 2.6.
20. Aliud est velle, aliud posse.
[alius: other, another; adv. aliter] You can see here that the infinitive is like a noun, "to want is one (thing), and to be able to do it is another (thing)."
21. Virtute - non aliter.
This is the Moir family motto. Note the adverbial form of alius: aliter.
22. Non sibi, sed aliis.
This motto is found on the seal of the Georgia Historical Society.
23. et alii
This Latin phrase is often abbreviated: et al. (which is the same abbreviation used also for the neuter plural, et alia).
24. Alia aliis placent.
[placeo: please, give pleasure to, satisfy] The Latin is very compact here; to convey this same idea in English you need many more words: Some people like some things, other people like other things
25. Non omnia omnibus placent.
Notice that Latin uses the plural, omnia, "all things," where we English usually uses a singular instead: everything.
26. Durum est omnibus placere.
[durus: hard, difficult] Here is another example of the nominal use of the infinitive: to please everybody is a hard (thing).
27. Nihil amantibus durum est.
[amo: love, like] You can find this phrase in Jerome, Epistle 22. where he invokes the example of the Biblical patriarch Jacob (Israel) who loved Rachel and labored seven years to make her his wife; Genesis 29.20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
28. Si vis amari, ama.
You can find this sentiment in a variety of ancient sources, including Publilius Syrus and Seneca.
29. Ut ameris, ama.
You can find this sentiment in Martial, Epigram 6.11.
30. Coniugem ama.
[coniunx: spouse, mate] This is one of the monostichs of the so-called "Cato."
31. Vivamus et amemus.
[vivo: live] These are the words of Catullus to Lesbia: Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus (5).
32. Vive ut vivas.
This saying plays on two senses of living: simply existing and living to the fullest, enjoying life - exist, so that you can enjoy life.
33. Vivimus, non ut volumus, sed ut possumus.
Note that this is the use of "ut" to mean simply "as" - ut possumus, "as we are able." Although Latin textbooks emphasize the use of ut with subjunctive verbs to create purpose and result clauses, it is also quite common to find "ut" used with indicative verbs simply to mean "as."
34. Vive in diem.
[dies: day] We use a slightly different idiom to express this idea in English: live for the day, live for today.
35. In horam vivo.
[hora: hour, time, season] Although Latin "hora" means "hour" it also refers to time in general, and the "seasons" of time as they pass. The Horae, personified, were goddesses who watched over the passage of time and the changing of the seasons.
36. Hora fugit.
[fugio: run away, flee] As Ovid says in his Amores 1.11, "Dum loquor, hora fugit."
37. Tempus fugit.
[tempus: time, season, occasion] You can find this sentiment in Vergil, Georgics 3: Sed fugit interea, fugit inreparabile tempus.
38. Nosce tempus.
You can find this saying included in Erasmus's Adagia, 1.7.70.
39. Tempus omnia vincit.
This is but one of many "omnia vincit" sayings in Latin, e.g. "Virtus omnia vincit," "Amor vincit omnia," "Veritas omnia vincit," etc.
40. Omnia tempus habent.
These are the opening words of the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, 3. Note that the plural verb, habent, lets you know that omnia is the subject of the verb, while tempus is the object.
41. Habent omnia tempora sua.
Compare the variation of "tempora sua" in this proverb and "tempus" above.
42. Omnia tempus habent, omnia tempus habet.
Note the different verbs: for habent, omnia must be the subject, but for habet, tempus must be the subject!
43. Alia tempora, alii mores.
[mos: character, habits, behavior] This use of "alia...alii" is hard to imitate in English - the idea is that different times require different customs.
44. Suus cuique mos.
[quisque: each, every] This dative here is what you could call a dative of possession: each person has their own habit.
45. Sua cuique hora.
Cf. the proverb above "Suus cuique mos" - and see also the note about hora in "In horam vivo."
46. Suum cuique placet.
Here you have cuique as the dative with placet: to each person is pleasing = each person likes...
47. Cuique suum.
I.e. Cuique suum (placet); see above.
48. Sibi quisque habeat quod suum est.
Note the independent use of the subjunctive, habeat: "let each person have..."
49. Suum cuique pulchrum.
[pulcher: beautiful, handsome] The verb is only implied here; for the same saying with the verb expressed, see the following.
50. Suum cuique pulchrum videtur.
[video: see, seem (passive)] The passive form of video here, videtur, "seem," takes a dative complement: cuique videtur, "to each person their own (thing) seems beautiful."
Scala 2 (51-100)