Thursday, June 23, 2011

Scala 9 (401-450)

<== Go back to Scala 8 (351-400)

401. Nemo omnibus placet.

Compare the English saying, "You can't please everybody."

402. Nemini nimium bene est.

This saying shows up in a fragment of the archaic Latin comic poet, Afranius. The word play between "nemini" and "nimium" definitely fits the comic style!

403. Neminem riseris.

For this saying, it helps to remember that the word "nemo" is actually a kind of Latin negative; it is a contraction of "ne" and "homo" (as often, the "h" - since it is really just a breathing rather than a true consonant - often drops out). The perfect subjunctive, riseris, can be used to express negative commands, and the word "neminem" here conveys that negative force: Mock no one. This is the one of the sayings attributed to Cato (so-called).

404. Nemo est qui semper vivat.

[semper: always, ever] Note the subjunctive here, vivat. The subjunctive is often used in relative clauses to convey a sense of not just "who" but "anybody who," generalizing the idea: "There is nobody who (might, could possibly) live forever."

405. Semper spero meliora.

Remember that the verb sperare can take a direct object, where we would say "hope for" in English: I always hope for better things.

406. Vive ut semper vivas.

This is the Falkner family motto.

407. Sumus quod semper facimus.

As often, the antecedent of the relative pronoun is not expressed: Sumus (hoc) quod semper facimus.

408. Non semper ea sunt quae videntur.

Recall that the verb "videre" in the passive, as here (videntur), conveys the notion of "seeming" in English: Things are not always what they seem. You can find this saying expressed in a poem by Phaedrus, 4.2: "Non semper ea sunt quae videntur: decipit / frons prima multos," "Things are not always what they seem: the first appearance deceives many people."

409. Veritas semper una est.

Here is a fuller form of the statement: Veritas semper una est et ipsa sibi consonat, etiamsi myriades opinionum ab ea discendentium discrepent.

410. Virtus semper valet.

[valeo: be strong, be healthy, prevail] This is the Woodward family motto.

411. Non vivere, sed valere, vita est.

The infinitives here are used like nouns: "Life means not just to live, but to be well." (Of course, the English loses out on all the great alliteration in the Latin!)

412. Quam bene valere, melius in vita nihil.

Notice that the expression of the comparison (quam) comes before the actual comparative word (melius), which is a word order we really cannot manage in English. Also, the indeclinable word "nihil" is regarded as a neuter noun, hence the neuter form "melius."

413. Vita non est vivere, sed valere vita est.

The infinitives vivere and valere are being used as nouns, the predicates of the sentences, with an elegant chiastic word order: vita (non) est - vivere | sed | valere - vita est.

414. Volo, non valeo.

Here "valeo" has the sense of being able to do something, or, in this case, not being able! Note also the sound play between "volo" and "valeo," something we cannot easily render in English.

415. Res plus valent quam verba.

The plural verb, valent, gives you a clue here that "res" is plural, as does the plural "verba."

416. Plus valent oculi quam oculus.

Here the distinction is between the plural oculi and the singular oculus: the more eyewitnesses, the better!

417. Ratio fatum vincere nulla valet.

Notice how the noun phrase "ratio nulla" elegantly wraps around the infinitive phrase "fatum vincere" - that kind of intertwined word order is so easy in Latin but basically impossible in English.

418. Ibi valet populus, ubi valent leges.

Notice the correlative use of "ibi... ubi..." - where (when) the laws are strong, there (then) the people are strong.

419. Si vales, bene est; ego valeo.

This standard phrase in Roman letter writing was often abbreviated: SVBEEV. Likewise, the less fulsome phrase "Si vales, valeo" was abbreviated SVV.

420. Plus legibus arma valent.

[arma: arms, weapons] The word "legibus" is in the ablative case, and expresses the comparison in just the same way that "quam leges" could also be used to express the comparison: Weapons have greater power than the laws. Ovid expresses this complaint about the "barbarians" he lives with in his exile (Ex Ponto 4): hic, ubi barbarus hostis / ut fera plus valeant legibus arma facit, "here where my barbarian host, like a wild animal, makes it so that weapons are stronger than laws."

421. Arma nesciunt leges.

This is "nescire" in the sense of not recognizing, not acknowledging, ignoring something.

422. Cedant arma legibus.

[cedo: withdraw, leave, yield, make way] Note the use of the subjunctive here, cedant: "Let weapons yield to the laws."

423. Cedendum est malis.

You can find this sentiment expressed in Seneca's tragic play, The Trojan Women, as Andromache sends her son Astyanax into Hector's tomb. The idea that we must yield to evils is definitely a tragic way of seeing the world!

424. Non cedendum malis.

This expression is collected by Erasmus in his Adagia, 3.8.85. It shows the gerundive being used impersonally to express a command; we might say in English: "You should not yield to evils."

425. Ne cede malis.

The negative imperative "ne cede" expresses the same kind of prohibition as in the previous saying, "non cedendum."

426. Cedo nulli.

Remember that nullus has "nulli" for its dative singular form, so this motto means "I yield to no one."

427. Cede deo.

You can find this sentiment expressed in Vergil's Aeneid, 5.

428. Fatis agimur; cedite fatis.

Note that the first "fatis" here is ablative (we are driven by the fates), while the second is dative (yield to the fates!). You can find this fatalistic expression spoken by the chorus in Seneca's tragic play, Oedipus.

429. Cedamus amori.

Note the use of the subjunctive here, cedamus: Let us yield to love.

430. Omnia vincit amor, et nos cedamus amori.

This is a fuller form of the previous saying; the words are from Vergil's Eclogues, 10.

431. Cedendum tempori.

Here is another impersonal use of the gerundive to express necessity; in English, you might say something like "We must yield to time."

432. Cedendum pluribus.

See the note to the previous proverb about the use of "cedendum" here.

433. Cede maiori.

[maior: bigger, larger, greater] Here the sense of necessity is expressed with a simple imperative: Yield to the greater (man).

434. Ad maiora nati sumus.

Here maior is found in the neuter plural: greater things.

435. Maiora sequor.

[sequor: follow, strive after, seek] Note that while sequor is a deponent verb, taking what look like passive endings, it is not a passive verb at all. In fact, it is a transitive verb, able to take a direct object, as here: I pursue greater things.

436. Maiores sequor.

Here you have not neuter plural, maiora, but masculine plural, maiores, the "very great people" or "the ancestors" ... or "the mayors" if you prefer (our English word "mayor" derives from the Latin "maior").

437. Spem sequimur.

You can find this sentiment in a line from Prudentius: Spem sequimur, gradimurque fide, fruimurque futuris, "We follow hope, we walk in faith, we delight in the things to come."

438. Meliora spero sequorque.

Notice the lovely interweaving of sounds with "spero sequorque." This is the Rait family motto.

439. Quae prosunt sequor.

Here not only does the relative pronoun come before the antecedent, the antecedent is implied but not stated. If you rearrange the word order to match what we expect in English, you have: Sequor (haec), quae prosunt.

440. Mors sequitur; vita fugit.

Robert Burton includes this grim proverb in his Anatomy of Melancholy.

441. Quod sequitur fugio; quod fugit, ipse sequor.

This paradox of desire comes from one of Ovid's love elegies, 19.

442. Sua quemque sequuntur fata.

Compare the proverb you saw earlier - Trahit sua quemque voluptas - for another example of how the reflexive "sua" can sometimes be used in the nominative case.

443. Agere sequitur credere.

Here the infinitives are functioning as verbal nouns. The idea is that you have to have faith first, and action then follows: Agere (action) sequitur credere (believing).

444. non sequitur

This Latin phrase is often abbreviated: non seq. The "non sequitur" is also a type of logical fallacy; you can read more about that at Wikipedia. The phrase is also used as if it were a noun in English, as in this sentence: "The man was giving me directions when he threw in a total non-sequitur about his favorite television show."

445. Noctem dies sequitur.

[nox: night] You can find this saying in Seneca's reflections on nature in one of his Epistulae ad Lucilium, 107.

446. Nox dabit consilium.

[consilium: advice, plan, strategy] Or, as we would say in English, "Sleep on it."

447. Consilio et animo.

This is the motto of the Maitland family. The word "consilio" here has the meaning of a plan or strategy. To succeed, you need both a plan and courage!

448. Auxilium peto, non consilium.

[auxilium: help, assistance] You can find this proverb illustrated in the Aesop's fable about the drowning boy and the man on the riverbank who insists on giving him advice rather than helping him; here is one Latin version of that fable.

449. Qui dedit consilium, ferat auxilium.

Notice the use of the subjunctive, ferat: Let the one who gave advice bring help. (In other words, don't give advice if you are not intending to help!)

450. Spes dabit auxilium.

This is the Dunbar family motto.

Scala 10 (451-500)

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