Monday, June 20, 2011

Scala 2 (51-100)

<== Go back to Scala 1 (1-50)

51. Esto quod esse videris.

This saying plays on the difference between being (esto) and seeming to be (esse videris). Note also the use of the future imperative: esto. Although the future imperative forms are not commonly found in Latin prose and poetry, they are quite common in the world of Latin proverbs.

52. Quod vis videri, esto.

This plays on the same idea as in the previous proverb: BE what you want to be, and appearances will take care of themselves!

53. Cui des videto.

This imperative videto, "see," has the cautionary sense of "watch out for" or "keep an eye on." Note again the use of the future imperative, a common feature of proverbial style.

54. Dis aliter visum.

You can find this sentiment expressed in Vergil, Aeneid 2, when Aeneas is describing the death of Rhipeus, an altogether just and good man, although the gods must have thought otherwise.

55. Vide et crede.

[credo: believe, trust, entrust] Compare the English saying: Seeing is believing.

56. Non omnibus crede.

Notice that the "non" does not go with the verb here, but rather with the word "omnibus" so that you could render it in English as "Believe not everything" (although that sounds a bit more odd in English than it does in the Latin!).

57. Ne omnibus credas.

Here the negating word is "ne," which means it goes with the subjunctive verb: ne credas (compare the previous proverb: non crede).

58. Tibi ut vincas est credendum.

Here you have ut with a subjunctive verb: "so that you might be victorious." The impersonal neuter gerundive expresses the idea of a command or necessity, with the agent in the dative: tibi est credendum, "You must have faith..."

59. Non omni verbo credas.

[verbum: word, saying] Notice here the independent use of the subjunctive as a kind of imperative - you should trust what people say (credas), but not every single word they say (non omni verbo).

60. Non est credendum omni verbo.

This proverbs shows the gerundive used impersonally to express a command: credendum. Although this is something that seems awkward in English ("it is to be believed), it is quite simple in Latin; a single word - the neuter form of the gerund - clearly expresses the idea of necessity: credendum... sed non omni verbo!

61. Rebus, non verbis.

[res: thing, business, affair] The superiority of things to words - mere words as it were - is a popular theme in Latin proverbs. The use of the ablative without an expressed verb can be understood in all kinds of ways, depending on the context, e.g. (opus est) rebus, non verbis - we need real things, not mere words.

62. Non verbis, sed rebus.

This is an even more emphatic version of the previous proverb, beginning with the negative, and then affirming the positive: we don't need words - what we need are the things themselves.

63. in re

This Latin phrase is often abbreviated simply as "re" and is used in the subject line of memos and emails.

64. Sua cuique res est carissima.

[carus: dear, beloved, precious] You could also just say "sua cuique res est cara," but the use of the superlative - carissima - makes the statement even more emphatic.

65. Quisque sibi carus est.

Here the idea has shifted: you have quisque in the nominative, not cuique in the dative. So now the idea is no longer about about one's things, but one's own self which is dear: each person (quisque) is dear to himself (sibi).

66. Sua cuique cara patria.

[patria: homeland, country] The idea here is that even if there are different countries the love of country can still be universal: each person loves their own country, sua patria.

67. Non sibi, sed patriae.

The unambiguously dative sibi lets you know that patriae must also be in the dative also. The use of parallelism is one of the key stylistic features of proverbs in any language.

68. Vincet amor patriae.

[amor: love, affection, devotion] You can find this sentiment in Vergil's Aeneid, Book 6; the complete line is: vincet amor patriae laudumque immensa cupido. As often with the Aeneid, the context is gloomy: Anchises is telling Aeneas about Lucius Junius Brutus, founder of the Roman Republic, and referring to how Brutus's love of country will overcome his love for his own sons, when he executes them for their participation in a conspiracy to bring back the monarchy.

69. Amor vincit omnia.

This motto famously appears in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, inscribed on the brooch of the prioress herself, Madame Eglantine, who is not your typical nun, of course.

70. Ducit amor patriae.

[duco: lead, command, consider] This is the motto of the 361st Infantry division of the United States Army, as you can see here: image.

71. Non ducor: duco.

This proverb plays very nicely on the active, duco, and passive, ducor, forms of the verb. It serves as the motto of the city of São Paulo in Brazil.

72. Ducit Dominus.

[dominus: owner, master, lord, Lord] This is the motto of the Dirom family.

73. Omnia videt oculus domini.

[oculus: eye] This is one of those proverbs where you could justify the word dominus either way: dominus, or Dominus. It all depends on the context. The master of the household has a watchful eye, but so does the Lord, watching all from heaven. Of course, proverbs are mainly used orally, rather than in writing - and capitalization is not an issue when you are speaking, only when you are writing.

74. Oculus videns alia, seipsum non videt.

You can also find the same idea expressed this way: Oculus oculum alium, non se ipsum videt.

75. Esse quam videri.

[quam: than; how] The quam here expresses the idea of comparison: to be (rather) than to seem. This is the motto of the state of North Carolina, as you can read about in this Wikipedia article.

76. Plus vident oculi quam oculus.

[plus: more] You actually have two new words for this saying, which work closely together: the comparative form of multus, plus, which means "more," and the word quam which expresses the idea of comparison, "than" - plus... quam..., "more... than..."

77. Plures sunt res quam verba.

Note that in the previous proverb plus was being used as an adverb (plus vident), while here you have plus being used as an adjective: plures sunt res. The idea here is that language falls short of reality: we can make words and then more words, but there will always be more things than words.

78. E pluribus unum.

[unus: one ] This Latin motto appears on the seal of the United States of America, as you can see here: image.

79. Unus vir non omnia videt.

[vir: man, husband] Notice the nice alliteration between vir and videt in the Latin; vir is preferred to homo here not for semantic reasons, but for the stylistic appeal of the alliteration.

80. Virum facit virtus.

[facio: do, make] Here you get a deeper play on words: the word virtus echoes the word vir because of its etymology. Virtus in Latin means "manliness," the quality of being a vir. Of course, if you render the word with the usual English translation of "virtue," that etymological connection is lost.

81. Fac, si facis.

You can find this saying invoked in Martial's Epigrams, 1.46.

82. Factis, non verbis.

This proverb expresses an opposition similar to that of the proverb "rebus, non verbis," which you saw earlier.

83. ipso facto

Compare a similar expression, also used in English, "de facto." For more information, see this Wikipedia article.

84. Suo quaeque tempore facienda.

Here is another use of that gerundive of necessity. The neuter plural pronoun, quaeque (everything), becomes the subject, and the gerundive agrees in gender, case and number: facienda.

85. Dictum, factum.

[dico: say, talk, tell] This little two-word saying is a great example of how succinct a Latin proverb can be. In English we would say "(no sooner) said (than) done."

86. Alia dicunt, alia faciunt.

This saying uses the "alia...alia..." construction to express the idea of hypocrisy: there are people who say one thing, but do another.

87. Ipse dixit.

This refers to something which is meant to be accepted on the authority of the speaker, ipse, alone. Cicero, in his treatise De Natura Deorum, 5, refers to the students of Pythagoras in this regard: Nec vero probare soleo id, quod de Pythagoreis accepimus, quos ferunt, si quid adfirmarent in disputando, cum ex iis quaereretur, quare ita esset, respondere solitos "ipse dixit."

88. Unius dictum, dictum nullius.

[nullus: none, not any, no] This Latin legal maxim expresses the principle that one witness is not enough; you need corroborating evidence. As a result, the word of just one person is no better than no word at all. This saying is also a great way to remember the genitive singular endings of unus and nullus; they both take that -ius ending.

89. Vox unius, vox nullius.

[vox: voice, sound, word] 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).

90. Vox populi, vox Dei.

[populus: people, nation, crowd] 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."

91. ad populum

Also found in the form "argumentum ad populum," this is a logical fallacy that argues something must be true if it is generally believed to be true by a large number of people (the fallacy is also sometimes called the argumentum ad numerum). You can read more about this fallacy at Wikipedia.

92. Regnat populus.

[regno: reign, rule, be king] This is the motto of the state of Arkansas. Note that it plays on a wonderful paradox, given that the Latin word "regnare" is from the word "rex." To express that paradox in English you could say, "The people are king."

93. Si vis regnare, divide.

[divido: divide, separate, break up] Note the stylistic variation here: instead of the imperative as in the previous saying (regna), you now have a simple hypothetical: si vis regnare.

94. Divide et regna.

Compare the similar English saying, "Divide and conquer."

95. Divide et impera.

[impero: order, command, rule over] This is the Latin saying closest to the English "Divide and conquer." For a history of the use of this political principle, see the Wikipedia article.

96. Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat.

[Christus: Christ] As Kantorowicz explains in the opening words of his book Laudes Regiae, "The motto Christus vincti, Christus regnat, Christus imperat," is displayed on innumerable medieval objects of devotion and art. It is inscribed on the blades of swords that they might gain victory andon church bells that they might announce it. […] Apotropaic forces were said to dwell in these words if they were used as a spell, and rings inscribed with them were believed to protect the bearer from evil. The three clauses were sung as a charm to keep droughts and tempests away."

97. Cum imperas, rege te ipsum.

[rego: rule, guide, direct] The implied contrast is between others and onself: when you command (others), you need to keep control of yourself.

98. Animum rege.

[animus: mind, heart, courage] You can find this sentiment expressed in Horace's Epistles, 1.2.

99. Animo imperato, ne tibi animus imperet.

Be careful with animo imperato: it might look like an ablative absolute, but it is not. The word imperato is a future imperative, and it takes a dative complement: animo. The unambiguous "tibi" in the second part of the saying gives you a clue about that; animo could be ablative or dative, but tibi has to be dative. As often, the parallel structure of a proverb provides a guide to its meaning.

100. Animus facit nobilem.

[nobilis: noble] In other words: it is not your name, but your mind, your heart, your spirit - animus - that makes you noble.

Scala 3 (101-150)

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