Monday, July 11, 2011

Scala 40 (1951-2000)

<== Go back to Scala 39 (1901-1950)

1951. Quid datur a divis felici optatius hora?

Here the ablative phrase, felici hora, wraps around the comparative adjective: optatius, "more hoped for" (neuter, agreeing with quid).

1952. Animus quod perdidit optat.

[perdo: waste, ruin, destroy, lose] Here is the full form from Petronius's Satyricon (from the lines of verse recited by Circe): Animus quod perdidit optat, atque in praeterita se totus imagine versat.

1953. Qui nihil habet, nihil perdit.

Remember that it is sometimes helpful to add the word "can" when rendering a Latin verb into English, as here: "He who has nothing can lose nothing" (or, to use another English idiom, "has nothing to lose").

1954. Qui plus appetit, omnia perdit.

You can see this theme illustrated in numerous Aesop's fables, such as the story of the dog and his reflection.

1955. Tenere non potes, potes non perdere diem.

The chiastic word order (non potes : potes non) adds to the charm of this sun-dial inscription, which lets you know that you cannot stop the passing of time, but it is within your power not to waste that time.

1956. O quam bonum tempus in re mala perdis!

The words are from Seneca's treatise On Anger. The angry person is someone who did not heed the advice of the sundial from the previous saying! Instead of making good use of time, the angry person wastes time in a truly bad way.

1957. Fidem qui perdit, quo se servet reliquo?

[reliquus: remaining, surviving, left] The qui here is a relative pronoun, but the quo is interrogative: (Is), fidem qui perdit, quo se servet reliquo? That is a type of syntax hard to imitate in English, but the idea is something like this: If someone has lost his credibility, what does he have left with which he might save himself? The saying is one of those collected by Publilius Syrus.

1958. Perditum non redit tempus.

[redeo: come back, return] The words are from Thomas à Kempis: Memento semper finis, et quia perditum non redit tempus.

1959. Utere hora non reditura.

The noun phrase "hora non reditura" is in the ablative case here, serving as the complement to the verb, utere, the second-person imperative form of utor.

1960. Nox tibi longa venit nec reditura dies.

The words are from an elegy of Propertius, 2.15.

1961. Nec quae praeteriit hora redire potest.

The warning comes from Ovid's Ars Amatoria, 3.

1962. Iratus, cum ad se rediit, sibi tum irascitur.

This is another one of the sayings collected by Publilius Syrus.

1963. Mecum facile redeo in gratiam.

This is an observation made by a character in a fable of Phaedrus, 5.3.

1964. Cum inimico nemo in gratiam tuto redit.

While you might be quick to re-friend yourself as the previous saying suggests, it is dangerous to re-friend an enemy, as Publilius Syrus warns us here.

1965. Ver redit; non redibit mea iuventus.

[iuventus: youth, young time of life] The seasons of the year are often compared to the times of a human life, with youth as spring and old age as winter - but, as this saying points out, the seasons of the year go round and round, which is not true of a human life.

1966. Quod in iuventute non discitur, in matura aetate nescitur.

As often, the antecedent of the relative pronoun is not expressed: (Hoc), quod in iuventute non discitur, ...

1967. Iuventus ventus.

This saying depends on a play on words in the Latin, something not easy to render in English.

1968. Non semper idem spirat ventus.

[spiro: breathe, blow] Literally, this means that sometimes you have a north wind, an east wind, and so on - but metaphorically, of course, it refers to change of all kinds.

1969. Dum spiro, spero.

Here is another wonderful play on words in Latin, hard to render in English. You can read more about this motto at Wikipedia.

1970. Optima sperando, spiro.

This is a variation on the previous saying, this time with a gerund phrase in the ablative: "by hoping for the best things, I stay alive."

1971. Similiter spirant omnia.

[similis: like, similar; adv: similiter] The words are from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, 3: Similiter spirant omnia, et nihil habet homo iumento amplius: cuncta subiacent vanitati.

1972. Omne simile est etiam dissimile.

This saying reminds us that "similar" is not the same as "identical." To take a pertinent example from Latin, a simia (monkey) is similar to a human being (that's how the monkey gets its name in Latin), but a monkey is also unlike a human being, too - that's why it is a monkey!

1973. Similes similibus gaudent.

This saying gained notoriety by being included in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: Birds of a feather flock together. Latin: Similes similibus gaudent. Pares cum paribus facile congregantur.

1974. Esse sibi similes alios fur iudicat omnes.

The infinitive esse here has alios omnes as its subject: The thief thinks that all others are like himself.

1975. Amicus stultorum efficietur similis.

[stultus: foolish, fool] Note the future tense: efficietur, he will be made similar, similis (stultis).

1976. Via stulti recta in oculis eius.

The saying is from the Biblical book of Proverbs, 12.

1977. Stultus in tenebris ambulat.

The saying is from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, 2: Sapientis oculi in capite eius; stultus in tenebris ambulat.

1978. Eventus docet: stultorum iste magister est.

You can also find the saying in this short form: Eventus stultorum magister. The idea is that a wise person can anticipate undesirable outcomes and avoid them, but a foolish person has to actually make the mistake before he learns from it.

1979. De sapienti viro facit ira virum cito stultum.

Another difference between the wise man and the foolish man is anger: the wise man, if he does get angry, is no better than a fool!

1980. Animo imperabit sapiens, stultus serviet.

Note the parallel structure: imperabit/serviet, sapiens/stultus, with a chiastic inversion. The verbs are future tense, and they both take a dative complement: animo.

1981. Stulti timent fortunam, sapientes ferunt.

Another parallel proverb: stulti/sapientes and timent/ferunt. Fortunam serves as the object of both verbs.

1982. Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes.

As often, the antecedent of the relative pronoun is omitted: timere (hoc), quod... Note also that the infinitive used here as a noun, timere, agrees with the neuter adjective, stultum: "It is foolish to fear..."

1983. Sibi non cavere et aliis consilium dare stultum.

Both infinitive phrases, sibi non cavere and aliis consilium dare, are used here as nouns.

1984. Nemo stultus tacere potest.

You can also find this same idea expressed as follows: Stultus tacere nescit.

1985. Praestat tacere quam stulte loqui.

You can also find the saying with silere instead of tacere: Praestat silere quam stulte loqui.

1986. Certa pro incertis mutare stultum est.

The infinitive, mutare, used here as a noun, agrees with the neuter adjective, stultum: It is foolish to exchange...

1987. Os habet in corde sapiens, cor stultus in ore.

Note the parallel structure: os-in-corde/cor-in-ore (itself a parallelism) and sapiens/stultus. The idea is that the stupid person says just what he thinks and does not know how to be silent (see the previous saying: Nemo stultus tacere potest). You can also see this same idea in the truncated form: "Cor in ore, os in corde."

1988. Stultum facit Fortuna, quem vult perdere.

As often, the antecedent of the relative pronoun is omitted: Stultum facit Fortuna (eum), quem...

1989. Interdum stultus bene loquitur.

[interdum: once in a while, sometimes] Although fools are prone to talk too much (e.g. Nemo stultus tacere potest), this saying reminds us that, once in a while, even a fool might say something worthwhile!

1990. Esto leo ubi oportet, esto et simia interdum.

Note the adverbial use of "et" here, meaning something like "even" or "also" - you might even have to play the monkey every once in a while.

1991. Summum ius interdum summa iniuria est.

[iniuria: injustice, wrong, injury] You can find this saying discussed in Cicero's De Officiis, 1. The saying sometimes appears in this unqualified, abbreviated form: Summum ius, summa iniuria.

1992. Nulli iniuria facienda.

Here you have the gerundive being used to express a command; the form agrees in gender with the subject of the sentence, iniuria: "You should injure no one" (nulli is dative).

1993. Fugienda semper iniuria est.

Another gerundive, again agreeing with iniuria: You should always steer clear of wrong-doing.

1994. Ius ex iniuria non oritur.

This saying plays on the etymological relationship between ius and in-iuria in Latin, which we can imitate in English: Justice does not arise from an injustice.

1995. Absit iniuria verbis.

Note the subjunctive; this is a polite formula to say that you don't mean any harm in saying what you are about to say.

1996. Iniuriam aures facilius quam oculi ferunt.

The neuter comparative form, facilius, is being used adverbially here: facilius ferunt, endure more easily.

1997. Virum fortem iniuriae probant.

Compare a similar saying about friends which you saw earlier: Amici probantur rebus adversis.

1998. Melius est iniuriam accipere quam facere.

You can also find this idea expressed with the verb praestat: Accipere quam facere praestat iniuriam.

1999. Summum ius suprema est iniuria.

[supremus: highest, greatest, supreme] Compare a similar saying about iniuria which you saw earlier: Summum ius interdum summa iniuria est.

2000. Salus populi suprema lex esto.

[salus: health, well-being] Here you have a future imperative, esto, with a third-person subject: salus. This is the motto of the state of Missouri. You can also find the idea expressed in terms of the state, patria: Salus patriae summa lex.

Scala 41 (2001-2050)

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