Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Scala 4 (151-200)

<== Go back to Scala 3 (101-150)

151. Omni in re modus est optimus.

Note the phrase wrapped around the preposition: omni in re = in omni re. This is the sense of "modus" as moderation or limit again, cf. the earlier proverb: Omnis in modo est virtus.

152. Aliud aliis videtur optimum.

Another one of those compact expressions with "aliud aliis" - and again it turns out very wordy in English: "One thing seems best to one person, another thing seems best to another."

153. Optima petamus.

[peto: ask for, aim at, desire] Note the subjunctive here, petamus: "Let us aim for the best things."

154. Qui petit a te, da ei.

As often in Latin, the relative cause comes before its so-called antecedent. You can re-arrange the saying as: Da ei, qui petit a te. You can find this Biblical saying in Matthew 5:42.

155. Petenti dabitur.

Note the use of the future here: "It will be given..." The reference is to the power of prayer: what you ask God for in your prayers will be given, dabitur. You can find the Latin saying invoked by Pascal in his Pensées, 514. Compare Matthew 7.7: Petite, et dabitur vobis, "Ask, and it will be given to you."

156. Alta pete.

[altus: high, lofty, deep, profound] The word altus can refer to things that are high, but also things that are metaphorically lofty, as here. It can also be understood as deep and, metaphorically, profound. So, this proverb can be urging you either to go high or go deep, depending on how you want to take it in English.

157. Altiora spero.

[spero: hope, hope for, look forward to] Note the use of the comparative here: not just lofty things, but loftier things, things that are very lofty indeed.

158. In Deo spero.

Note that you can hope for things in the accusative, as in the previous proverb (altiora spero), or you can put your hope in something as in this saying.

159. Spero et vivo.

This is the motto of the Messeder family.

160. Fac et spera.

This is the motto of the Matheson family.

161. Sperandum.

The impersonal use of the gerundive (neuter singular) is hard to express in English. The idea is "You must hope!"

162. Spero meliora.

[melior: better (comp. of bonus)] Compare the previous saying with a comparative form: Altiora spero.

163. Meliora speranda.

Here you see the gerundive used with a subject: meliora (neuter plural) speranda, "Better things are to be hoped for," or - to put it more idiomatically in English: Hope for better things!

164. Dii meliora dent!

Note the independent use of the subjunctive here: Dii dent, "May the gods grant..."

165. A bonis ad meliora.

This is the ultimate optimist proverb: From good things on to better things!

166. Pace nihil melius.

[pax: peace] From the use of melius here, you can see here that nihil is regarded as a neuter thing - or, rather, no-thing.

167. Pax optima rerum.

The line from Silius Italicus, Punica, 11, reads: Pax optima rerum quas homini novisse datum est.

168. Dicentes, "Pax, pax" - et non erat pax.

There words are the rebuke of Jeremiah (6:14) against the false prophets, who were promising peace, but there was no peace.

169. Audi, vide, tace, si vis vivere in pace.

The internal rhyme (tace-pace) reveals the medieval origins of this saying. You can see the words "Audi Vide Tace" inscribed on the Freemason's Hall in London: image.

170. Ex bello pax.

[bellum: war, warfare, battle] You can see this motto illustrated in one of the emblems of Alciato.

171. Habet et bellum suas leges.

This saying shows up in the English verse emblems of Whitney.

172. Paratur pax bello.

[paro: prepare, supply, get ready] This saying is invoked by Cornelius Nepos in his Life of Epaminondas.

173. Si vis pacem, para bellum.

You can find a Wikipedia article dedicated to this saying.

174. Estote parati.

This is the famous motto of the international Boy Scout movement. This particular Latin form of the motto is the one used in Italy.

175. In omnia paratus.

This is the motto of the United States Army's 18th Infantry Regiment.

176. Mors omnibus parata est.

[mors: death] While in the previous proverb, omnia referred to everything, not you have omnibus meaning "everybody."

177. Quis est vir qui vivat et non videat mortem?

Note how the subjunctives vivat and videat give this a hypothetical quality: qui vivat et non videat... "who could possibly live and not see..."

178. Mors nec bonum nec malum est.

You can find this sentiment expressed by the Roman philosopher, Seneca, in his treatise De Consolatione.

179. Post mortem nihil est, ipsaque mors nihil.

[post: after (time), behind (space)] In English, the Latin phrase "post mortem" is still used to refer to the autopsy used to determine the cause of death.

180. post mortem

This Latin phrase is often abbreviated: P.M. For more information about the use of this phrase, and the Greek phrase autopsia, see this Wikipedia article.

181. Post mortem nulla voluptas.

[voluptas: pleasure, delight] A fuller form urges us to "eat, drink and be merry" now, before we die: Ede, bibe, lude; post mortem nulla voluptas.

182. Sua cuique voluptas.

This is one of the many variants on the "cuique suum" type of proverb, pointing out that what is a pleasure for one person might not be a pleasure for others. For example - Latin! For me, Latin is a pure pleasure but I fear the same is not true for all students of Latin. :-)

183. Trahit sua quemque voluptas.

[traho: draw, drag] This type of statement shows that while the reflexive is usually not ever found in the nominative, since logically it is supposed to refer back to the nominative, here you can see that the "quemque" provides what you might call the "logical subject" of the statement, so that the nominative sua refers to quemque: Each person's pleasure drags him along.

184. Ut fata trahunt.

[fatum: fate, destiny, death] Note that the "ut" here simply means "as" or "how" - as you can see from the indicative verb trahunt, "ut" is not being used here to introduce a purpose or result clause.

185. Omnia fato fiunt.

[fio: be made, become, be done, happen] You can find this idea debated in Cicero's philosophical treatise De Fato.

186. fiat

This Latin subjunctive verb has entered the English language as a noun! Definition: "fiat: a formal authorization or proposition; a decree."

187. Bonum ex malo non fit.

This is a contention advanced by the philosopher Seneca in his Epistles, 87.

188. Ex malis moribus fiunt bonae leges.

As you can see by comparing this proverb to the previous proverb, the world of proverbs is full of contradictions. That is not surprising, of course, since human life itself is full of contradictions and paradoxes, such as the paradox expressed here - that good laws might come from bad habits.

189. Non facias malum, ut inde fiat bonum.

[inde: thence, from that place, from that cause] This is a Latin legal maxim that applies to human life in general. Note the use of the subjunctive, non facias, to express the idea of a command: You should not do something bad...

190. Fiat lux!

[lux: light] You can read about this famous Biblical expression in this Wikipedia article.

191. Post tenebras, lux.

[tenebrae: darkness, shadows] This motto was important to the Calvinist movement and to the Protestant Reformation generally; to learn more, see this Wikipedia article.

192. Post tenebras spero lucem.

You can find this Biblical saying in the Book of Job, 17.

193. Lux in tenebris lucet.

[luceo: shine, be light] This saying comes from the opening chapter of the Gospel of John.

194. Nihil dulcius veritatis luce.

[veritas: truth] You can find this saying expressed in Cicero's Academica 2.

195. Veritas omnia vincit.

This is the motto of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada.

196. Veritas et virtus vincunt.

This is the motto of the Walsh family.

197. Veritas vincet.

This is the motto of Ferrum High School in Newcastle, South Africa.

198. Vivat veritas.

This the motto of Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. Note the subjunctive vivat - the idea is "Let truth live!" or "Long live truth!"

199. Optima est veritas.

This is the Thompson family motto.

200. Sit pax et veritas in diebus meis.

You will find this sentiment expressed in the Biblical book of II Kings, 20.

Scala 5 (201-250)

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