Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Scala 7 (301-350)

<== Go back to Scala 6 (251-300)

301. Occasio causa scelerum.

[scelus: crime, evil deed] The noun scelus is third-declension, so don't let the -us ending fool you - the genitive singular is sceleris and the form you see here, scelerum, is genitive plural.

302. Cui prodest scelus, is fecit.

[prosum: be useful, benefit, profit] The idea expressed here is very similar to the principle of "Cui bono?" which you saw earlier.

303. Ipse fecit cui prodest.

This expresses the same idea as the previous saying, more compactly.

304. Nil, nisi quod prodest, carum est.

You can find this saying expressed in Ovid's Epistulae Ex Ponto, 3.

305. Res age quae prosunt.

The relative pronoun quae is very ambiguous by itself (feminine nominative plural? neuter nominative plural? neuter accusative plural?) - the neuter forms are more commonly found, but here you can see that the quae goes with res, making it feminine plural. You can find this sentiment expressed in one of the distichs of Cato (so-called).

306. Ut prosim aliis!

Note the use of the subjunctive: prosim. This kind of subjunctive is commonly found in mottoes, and expresses the idea of hoping for something, wishing that it would be true: (I hope) that I might benefit to others!

307. Dum vivo, prosum.

[dum: while, as long as, until] You can see this illustrated as an emblematic motto here: image.

308. Dum vivo, spero.

Compare the English saying, "While there's life, there's hope."

309. Dum potes, vive.

You can see this illustrated in Whitney's Emblems here: image.

310. Dum vivis, sperare decet.

In other words, sperare TE decet, "it behooves you to have hope."

311. Dum loquimur, tempus fugit.

[loquor: speak, talk, say] Compare a similar sentiment - "Dum loquimur, fugerit inuida aetas" in Horace's famous "Carpe Diem" poem, Ode 1.11.

312. Ne magna loquaris.

The use of "ne" plus the subjunctive is a common way to express a negative command in Latin, as here: ne loquaris. (The indicative second person would be loqueris; just change the vowel and you've got the subjunctive: loquāris.)

313. Optima loquere, pulcherrima fac.

Here you have an example of the imperative form of a deponent verb - loquere - which looks suspiciously like the infinitive ending of an active verb, so be careful! The "fac" in the second part of the proverb gives you a clue that lqouere is probably an imperative also.

314. Tempus tacendi et tempus loquendi.

This is one of the pairs from the famous passage from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, 3, "To everything there is a season" (Omnia tempus habent). The forms tacendi and loquendi are gerunds, found here in the genitive of case: a time of keeping silent and a time of speaking.

315. Loquere audacter.

[audax: bold, reckless, daring] Note the adverbial form of the adjective audax: audacter.

316. Perge audacter.

[pergo: proceed, continue, go on, go] The Latin verb "pergere" is actually a contraction of per+rigo, as you can see in the perfect perrexi. To get the sense of the Latin etymology, you can translate "pergere" as "to do something straightaway, to do something directly."

317. Sperans pergo.

This is the Fletcher family motto.

318. Perge, sed caute.

[cautus: cautious, careful, wary] Careful with the word endings here: perge is an imperative (from the verb pergo, pergere), while caute is an adverb (from the adjective cautus).

319. Post mala, cautior.

The word cautior is a comparative form of the adjective cautus. The idea is that after bad mistakes, you learn to become more cautious!

320. Caute, nec timide.

[timidus: fearful, afraid] The danger in being cautious, of course, is that you could drift into a vague fearfulness. This saying urges you to be cautious but not so much so that you become afraid.

321. Nec temere nec timide.

[temere: recklessly, rashly] The Latin nec... nec... construction is something like "neither... nor..." in English. The idea is not to be too rash or too fearful; instead, you need to find a good middle ground between them.

322. Nihil temere credideris.

This is one of the monostichs of Cato (so-called).

323. Nil temere.

The last proverb urged you not to be too quick to trust anything, while this proverb urges you not to be reckless in anything at all!

324. Natura nihil temere facit.

[natura: nature] Or, as we might say in English, "Nature takes her time."

325. Natura uno ad plura utitur.

Note the ablative complement, uno, with the verb utitur: Nature makes use of one thing (uno) for many purposes (ad plura).

326. Natura nihil agit frustra.

The implied contrast, of course, is that human beings do all kinds of things that are vain or useless. We should take a lesson from nature, who does not waste her time in such things!

327. Deus et Natura nihil faciunt frustra.

This expands on the idea of the previous proverb to add God into the equation with nature. In medieval philosophy this was connected with the idea of parsimony, made most famous in the principle of Ockham's Razor.

328. Natura rerum omnium mater.

[mater: mother] Of course, we also speak about "Mother Nature" in English, too!

329. Voluptas malorum mater omnium.

Voluptas is a feminine noun, so it makes sense that "she" is a mother of things - wicked things, at least according to this proverb.

330. Timidi mater non flet.

[fleo: weep, cry for] This biting proverb is one that Erasmus includes in his Adagia, 4.6.12.

331. Ride, cum tibi flendus eris.

[rideo: laugh] This is advice offered by Ovid in his Remedia Amoris, when he is urging the unhappy lover to laugh, hiding his grief from his beloved.

332. Aut ridenda omnia aut flenda sunt.

Compare the English saying, "You've Got to Either Laugh or Cry."

333. Tempus flendi et tempus ridendi.

This is another item from the list of famous gerund pairs in the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes, 3.

334. Rideo, ergo sum.

[ergo: therefore] This is a joking play on Descartes' famous maxim: Cogito, ergo sum. As someone who far prefers comedy to tragedy, this is a motto I could definitely adopt for myself!

335. Cogito, ergo sum.

[cogito: think, ponder] Of course, we need to give Descartes his due here! For more about Descartes and his philosophy, see this Wikipedia article.

336. Caritas non cogitat malum.

[caritas: love, affection, charity] This is from the famous passage about love, caritas, in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, 13.

337. Caritas omnia potest.

You can find this Christian sentiment in the letters of St. Jerome, 1.

338. Caritas omnia sustinet.

[sustineo: support, hold up, sustain] This is another saying adapted from I Corinthians, 13.

339. Quisque suas sustinet cruces.

[crux: cross] Whenever you run into a Latin saying with a "cross" in it, you have to figure out if this is a traditional Roman saying in which the cross embodies the idea of punishment and criminality, or whether it is a Christian saying, where the cross becomes instead a symbol of suffering and salvation.

340. Christi crux est mea lux.

The rhyme, crux-lux, was a very productive metaphor for Christian Latin.

341. Per crucem ad lucem.

This proverb also plays upon the propitious rhyme between these two important Christian symbols: crux and lux.

342. Lux et spes.

[spes: hope] This is the motto of Stonehill College in North Easton, Massacusetts.

343. Spe vivitur.

Latin has many impersonal constructions, such as this use of the third-person passive. In English, we have other ways of expressing general ideas, such as the use of the first-person plural: "We live by hope."

344. In me omnis spes est mihi.

The words are from Terence's Phormio.

345. Spes anchora vitae.

[anchora: anchor] For an English poem with this motto as its title, see A. Parke Burgess's Songs in the Night.

346. Melior est res quam spes.

This proverb plays nicely on the sound similarity between "res" and "spes" - they may sound similar, but this proverb asserts that a thing itself is better than mere hope.

347. Ubi sunt?

[ubi: where (space), when (time)] The unexpressed subject of this verb is those who have passed on before us - where are they (now)? To learn about the poetic tradition associated with these words, see the Wikipedia article.

348. Ubi spes, ibi pax.

[ibi: there (space), then (time)] You have two new words with this proverb, which form a correlative pair: ubi / ibi. When used in reference to time, they mean "when... then..." but when used in reference to space, they mean "where... there..." If you are translating into English, you have to choose one or the other (even if the Latin itself is undetermined). For this saying, for example, you could go either way - "When there's hope, there is peace" or "Where there's hope, there is peace." Either way works in English for this particular saying.

349. Ubi amor, ibi oculus.

See the previous proverb for comments about ubi... ibi... For this proverb, the meaning is definitely spatial: Where someone's love is, there the eye looks!"

350. Ubi bonum, mihi patria.

The idea here is that your patria is more than just where you are born - it is where things are good, ubi bonum.

Scala 8 (351-400)

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