Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Latin Proverbs: 94 Most Frequent Words

The DR number, Diederich Rank, refers to the highest number in Diederich's frequency listing, which you can see here: Diederich Ranking.

DR 87. Omnia bona mecum sunt. ~ Note: Here the word bona is being used substantively to refer to possessions, much as we also use the plural "goods" in English. Note also the special form mecum here, which is equivalent to "cum me," "with me."

DR 87. Quod bonum est, bonos facit. ~ Note: This is a Stoic principle you can find expressed in the writings of Seneca, where he is making the argument that virtue must be a good thing, because the practice of virtue makes people good.

DR 91. Animo et corpore. ~ Note: You can find this phrase used in the Latin legal maxim, referring both to intention (animo) and action (corpore): Nulla possessio adquiri nisi animo et corpore potest.

DR 92. Audies male, si male dicas. ~ Note: Note that this is the adverbial form of the adjective malus: male. Note also the combination of subjunctive (dicas) and future indicative (audies) to express a condition.

DR 92. Qui sibi malus, cui bonus? ~ Note: Note the two pronouns: interrogative pronoun, cui, asking the question "for whom?" or "to whom?" - and also the relative pronoun, qui. That's hard to do in English, where we would probably use a hypothetical instead: If a man is bad to himself, for whom is he good?

DR 92. Qui sibi malus, nulli bonus. ~ Note: Note that the unambiguously dative sibi gives you a nice little reminder that the form nulli is also dative. (Nullus is one of those sneaky adjectives that takes mostly first-second declension endings, but which has -ius in the genitive and -i in the dative.)

DR 92. Bonus esse non potest aliis malus sibi. ~ Note: Note the parallel structure: bonus/aliis and malus/sibi. The adjectival phrase "bonus...aliis" wraps around the verb phrase, "esse non potest," while "malus sibi" is the subject.

DR 93. Sunt quidam non re, sed nomine homines. ~ Note: This is included by André Rouillé in his anthology of Cicero's notable sententiae.

DR 94. Ab uno amore multa bona. ~ Note: You can see this motto illustrated in one of the love emblems of Otto Vaenius.

DR 94. Amor omnibus idem. ~ Note: The words are from Vergil's Georgics, 3, where he is describing the feeling of love and desire that animates the whole natural world: Omne adeo genus in terris hominumque ferarumque / et genus aequoreum, pecudes pictaeque volucres, / in furias ignemque ruunt: amor omnibus idem.

No comments: