Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Scala 6 (251-300)

<== Go back to Scala 5 (201-250)

251. Quo plus habent, eo plus cupiunt.

If you listen closely, you can hear this proverb included in the lyrics of the Enya song, "Cursum Perficio."

252. Nil nimium cupito.

Note the future imperative form here: cupito. Future imperatives are quite common in proverbial expressions, even if they are not often found in standard Latin prose or poetry.

253. Nil timeo.

[timeo: fear, be afraid] This is the Drummond family motto.

254. Non timeo adversa.

[adversus-adj: opposite, opposed, hostile] Note here the substantive use of the adjective adversa, which is in turn a participle: I do not fear "things that are opposed to me" - with Latin adversa standing in for that whole long phrase in English.

255. Adversa magnos probant.

[probo: approve, test, commend] Here you see adversa, neuter plural, being used substantively, and so also magnos, masculine plural, used substantively: Adverse (things) test great (men).

256. Verba rebus proba.

The opposition between words and things is a recurring theme in the world of proverbs; compare the saying cited earlier: Non verbis, sed rebus.

257. Dicta factis probentur.

Similar to the opposite between words and things (res) is the opposition between words and deeds (facta), as you can see in this say. Note the subjunctive probentur: Words should be tested by deeds, Let the words be tested by deeds, etc.

258. Factum probandum.

Here you have the idea of necessity expressed not with the subjunctive but with the gerundive. This is an expression from legal Latin and refers to the "fact that is to be proved" by the evidence.

259. Qui nimium probat, nihil probat.

This is a type of logical fallacy: people who make sweeping conclusions can end up undermining what they originally set out to demonstrate. So, here is some advice to those of your writing the obligatory five paragraph essays for school: Don't feel obliged to show in the final paragraph that you have made an argument on a cosmic scale; just stick to what you originally set out to show. Qui nimium probat, nihil probat!

260. Omnia probate; quod bonum est, tenete.

Here the sense of probare is not so much "prove" as "test" - you should give everything a try (or trial), but keep only what is good. You can find this saying in I Thessalonians, 5.

261. Amicum proba; probatum, ama.

[amicus: friendly, friend] This is a very elegant use of the verb and the participle combined: Put your friend to the test; after he has been tested (probatum), love him.

262. Amici probantur rebus adversis.

This something like the idea of a "fair weather friend" in English - you find out who your true friends are when things are not going well, rebus adversis.

263. Nec nulli sis amicus, nec omnibus.

If you are friendly towards someone in Latin, that requires the use of the dative as you can see here: omnibus is dative plural, and nulli is dative singular. Note also the nec... nec... construction, which is equivalent to "neither... nor..." in English.

264. Unus Deus, sed plures amici parandi.

This proverb is easier to grasp if you imagine the verbs that Latin has omitted: Unus (est) Deus, sed plures amici parandi (sunt). The gerundive parandi, expressing necessity ("should be obtained") agrees in gender, number and case with the subject: amici.

265. Domus amica, domus optima.

This Latin saying (including by Erasmus in his Adagia, 3.38) has something in common with English saying such as "Home, sweet home" and also "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home." As you can see here, amicus is actually an adjective in Latin, "friendly," although you are far more likely to find it used substantively, "friend."

266. Unus amicorum animus.

The genitive expresses the idea of possession: There is one mind of friends = Friends have one mind.

267. Amicos cole.

[colo: honor, cherish, cultivate] This is one of the sayings attributed to Solon, one of the "Seven Sages" of ancient Greece.

268. Time Deum, cole regem.

This is the Coleridge family motto (note the nice echo of the Latin "cole" and the family name; you can often find elegant word echoes like that in family mottoes).

269. Virtutem, si vis nobilis esse, cole.

Compare this saying you saw earlier: Animus facit nobilem.

270. Parentes cole.

[parens: parent, mother, father] The word "parens" usually has its own entry in a Latin dictionary, but if you look closely, you will see that it is actually a participle, from the verb pario (parere), meaning "give birth to, beget."

271. Parentes ama.

This is one of the sayings included in the monostichs attributed to "Cato" (although they claim to be advice offered by Marcus Cato to his son, they actually date to some time around the third or fourth century C.E.).

272. Parentes patientia vince.

[patientia: endurance, patience, suffering] Notice here that patientia need to be in the ablative (since it cannot be the subject of the sentence): patientiā, "by means of patience, using patience." This is a proverb good to keep in mind during the holidays and family reunions! :-)

273. Vince malum patientia.

This time, patientia is again in the ablative, and the adjective malum is being used substantively: evil.

274. Patientia vincit omnia.

Here you see patientia in the nominative, as the subject of the verb.

275. Tandem patientia vincit.

[tandem: at last, finally, in the end] Here you have an adverb, one that is especially appropriate for the virtue of patience: tandemn, "at last, finally."

276. Gaudet patientia duris.

[gaudeo: be glad, enjoy, rejoice] Patientia is again the subject of the verb, and duris is in the ablative: Patience rejoices in difficult situations, in things that are hard, etc. In other words, if you are a patient person, you do not get frustrated by difficulties that you face - just the opposite, you enjoy them.

277. Tertius gaudet.

This "tertius" implies the existence of the other two, the idea being that when the other two quarrel, the third party rejoices. You can see this expressed directly in a more full form of the saying: Duobus litigantibus tertius gaudet. For an Aesop's fable on this theme, see the story of the bear, the lion and the fox.

278. Qui nihil audet, nihil gaudet.

[audeo: dare, venture, risk] The rhyme reveals the medieval origins of this proverb. Compare the English rhyming proverb: No pain, no gain.

279. Audendum est: age.

[ago: drive, act, do] Here you have the neuter gerundive being used impersonally: "audendum est" would mean something like "You've got to take the risk!" or "The risk must be taken!" The gerundive is then followed by a simple imperative: age! do it!

280. Acta, non verba.

As you have seen before, there is proverbial opposition between words and things (res), words and deeds (facta) and, as here, words and actions (acta).

281. Actum ne agas.

This is an elegant use of the Latin participle: do not do something that has already been done! Latin, of course, manages to say all that with just three little words. :-)

282. Agamus quod agendum.

Note the subjunctive, agamus, "Let us do..." As for agendum, this is the origin of our English word "agenda," "the things which are to be done." As often, the relative pronoun "quod" does not have an expressed antecedent; it is only implied, as is the "est" at the end: Agamus [hoc] quod agendum [est].

283. Aliter cum aliis agendum.

This is another one of those super-compact phrases using the wonderful Latin alius...alius... construction, and the gerundive agendum (see previous proverb): You have to deal with some people one way, and with other people another way.

284. Nil agenti dies longus est.

Notice that the participle agenti here is in the dative case and takes nil as its object: for someone who does nothing (nil agenti), the day is long.

285. Nullus agenti dies longus est.

This proverb looks similar to the previous one, but it is actually turned inside-out by using nullus instead of nil. Nullus agrees with dies and give you the subject: "no day is long" for the person who is working (agenti).

286. Iucundum nil agere.

[iucundus: pleasant, delightful] The Latin infinitive is consider to be a neuter noun, so you have here an infinitive phrase, nil agere, and an adjective agreeing with it, iucundum: It is pleasant to do nothing.

287. Necessaria iucundis anteferenda.

[necessarius: essential, bound by obligation, connection, relative] The gerundive (neuter plural, agreeing with the subject: necessaria) expresses the idea of a command: Necessary things must come first, before pleasures.

288. Acti labores iucundi sunt.

[labor-noun: work, hard work, effort] Here you see the adjective iucundus again, and this time it agrees with labores. I wonder if Hercules thought all his labors were pleasant once they were finished!

289. Labore vinces.

This is the motto of the Saint-Leonards family.

290. Omnia vincit labor.

This is the motto of the state of Oklahoma.

291. Labor ipse voluptas.

This is the motto of the Hemsworth Grammar School in West Yorkshire, England.

292. Decus in labore.

[decus: glory, honor, dignity, grace] Here is a wonderful stained glass window that illustrates the motto: image.

293. Nihil sine labore.

[sine : without] This is the motto of St. Andrew's High School in Worthing, England.

294. Nil sine magno labore.

This expands on the previous saying - not just labore, but magno labore.

295. sine qua non

This is the shortened form of "causa sine qua non" or "condicio sine qua non" - that is, the essential reason.

296. Quid leges sine moribus?

The question word "quid" here means "what" in the sense of "what good is there in" or "what is the point of." The saying is adapted from Horace, Satires 3: quid leges sine moribus vanae proficiunt?

297. Quis sine amico vivere possit?

Note the subjunctive here: possit. This gives the question a hypothetical quality: Who could possibly live without a friend?

298. Nihil fit sine causa.

[causa: reason, motive, cause, case] You can see this principle invoked by Cicero against the Epicurean philosophy, in his treatise De Finibus, 1(ait enim declinare atomum sine causa; quo nihil turpius physico, quam fieri quicquam sine causa dicere).

299. Omnia causa fiunt.

This takes the negative statement of the preceding proverb and restates it positively. Note that omnia is neuter plural nominative, while causa is ablative singular feminine - don't let that "a" ending fool you!

300. Bellum pacis est causa.

Notice how the noun phrase, "pacis causa" is wrapped around the verb: pacis est causa.

Scala 7 (301-350)

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