Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.

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Past, Present and Future. Quote from Augustine?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 15:35 - Church (Christian, Ecclesiastical etc.) Latin, Philosophy
Posted by Administrator
This phrase is often attributed to St. Augustine: "Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love, and the future to God's providence."

Here's the scoop. I simply cannot find any direct match for this quote in Latin, in Augustine or elsewhere. The earliest date that I could find for the use of the English version is 1906 ("The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church" by James McGovern). The quote has no attribution there, but it is followed by a quote from St. Augustine! The vast majority of French versions are unattributed. Interestingly, François de Sales is quoted as the originator of this particular phrase: "il faut abandonner le passé à la miséricorde de Dieu, le présent à notre fidélité, l'avenir à la Divine Providence." Note how the middle is changed from God's love to our faithfulness. This would seem to indicate that de Sales knew a similar quote and simply modified it. Unfortunately, I cannot find his French quote in a complete French edition and there is no Latin edition available. Also, in 19th century French texts there is a phrase that only contains references to past and future. Nothing too interesting came out of my research on the Italian and German versions of the phrase.

It looks as if at some point a rather commonplace phrase was ascribed to Augustine, or perhaps someone felt that it expressed his understanding of things. Just like Tertullian never actually said, "Credo quia absudrum." I think, we have a modern-day Pseudo-Augustine quote!

See also:
Church Latin Introduction
Latin quotes and sayings

The Iliad - an autographed copy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011, 00:51 - Ancient Greek Language, Jokes and anecdotes
Posted by Administrator

That's right, an autographed copy of "The Iliad"! Found at the local bookstore. One might suspect that it is a fake, because Homer was reputedly blind.

To make it perfectly clear, I understand that any translator is entitled to autographing copies of his work. But am I not equally entitled to a little chuckle?

See also:
Of arms and the man I sing - a trifle of numerology

Malleus Maleficarum Quotes

Friday, October 28, 2011, 15:41 - Best Latin Quotes, Words of Wisdom, Proverbs and Sayings
Posted by Administrator

"Malleus Maleficarum" is one of those books that we should feel fortunate not to have to deal with any longer. Thousands of people had to suffer horrible deaths because of it. It is by no means the only book that discussed in depth the issue of witchcraft, but it is by far the most notable one. As such, "Malleus Maleficarum" is an important historic document. Here I have just a handful of colorful quotes from this Latin text with translations.

Daemones non operantur nisi per artem - Demons do not operate save through trickery.

Et si quaeritur, an motus ille rerum a Daemone localis reducatur in motum caelestem? Dicendum est quod non. Quia non mouentur ex virtute naturali, sed mouentur ex obedientia naturali, qua subijciuntur virtuti Daemonis, qui habet hoc ex virtute naturae suae, quod potest supra corpora. - If one should be asked whether the movement of material objects from place to place by the Devil is reminiscent of caelestial motion, it must be answered that it is not. Because material objects are not thus moved by an inherent natural power, but they are only moved by a certain submission to the power of the Devil, who by the virtue of his own nature has a certain dominion over objects.

Opus Dei potest opere Diaboli omnino vitiari, prout ad praesens loquimur de effectu Maleficiali. Sed quia hoc non potest, nisi diuina permissione, et ideo non sequitur, quod Diabolus sit Deo fortior - The work of God can be destroyed by the work of the Devil, just as we are now discussing the effects of Witchcraft. But since this can only be done by the permission of God, it does not at all follow that the Devil is stronger than God.

Dicunt enim tria esse in rerum natura lingua, Ecclesiasticus, and femina, quae medium in Bonitate aut Malitia tenere nesciunt, sed ubi limites suae conditionis excedunt, ibi quendam apicem et supremum gradum in Bonitate aut Malitia vendicant. In Bonitate quidem, quando a bono reguntur Spiritu, unde et optima sunt. In Malitia vero, quando a malo Spiritu reguntur, unde et pessima efficiuntur. - They say that there are three things in the world, the Tongue, an Ecclesiastic, and a Woman, which know no moderation in goodness or vice; and when they exceed the bounds of their condition they reach the greatest heights and the lowest degrees of goodness and vice. When they are governed by a good spirit, they are most excellent; but when they are governed by an evil spirit, they become the most wicked.

Ubi notandum, quod sicut intentio and appetitus Diaboli maior est ad tentandum bonos quam malos, licet ex parte tentatorum magis tentat malos quam bonos, id est, quod amplior habilitas reperitur in malis, ad recipiendum tentationem Daemonis, quam sit in bonis. - Here it is to be noted that the Devil is more eager and intent upon tempting the good rather than the wicked, although in actual practice he tempts the wicked more than the good, because more aptitude for being tempted is found in the wicked than in the good.

Et de Venerea delectatione an maior sit vel minor cum incubis Daemonibus in corpore assumptis quam caeteris paribus cum viris in corpore vero, dicendum videtur, quod licet naturalis ordo hoc minus excusat, quin maior sit, ubi simile suo simili alludit, tamen ille artifex, ubi debita activa debitis passivis, licet non in natura, tamen sub qualitatibus in calore vel temperamento aliquo coniungit, utique non minorem excitare videtur concupiscentiam. If it be asked: Whether the venereal delectation is greater or less with the Incubus Devils in assumed bodies than it is in like circumstances with men in a true physical body, we may say this: It seems that, although the pleasure should naturally be greater when like disports with like, yet that cunning Enemy can so bring together the active and passive elements, not indeed naturally, but in such qualities of warmth and temperament, that he seems to excite no less degree of concupiscence.

Opera Maleficorum sunt talia, quod non possunt nisi opere Daemonum fieri - The deeds of witches are such that they cannot be done without the help of Devils.

Omnia per carnalem concupiscentiam, quae quia in eis est insatiabilis - All (Witchcraft) comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable.

Plura haec deduci possent. sed intelligentibus satis apparet, non mirum, quod plures reperiuntur infectae Haeresi Maleficorum mulieres quam viri. - More such reasons could be brought forward, but to the understanding it is sufficiently clear that it is no matter for wonder that there are more women than men found infected with the heresy of Witchcraft.

See also: Latin quotes and mottos

SPQR - Latin app for iPhone & iPad (Review)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 01:26 - Latin Language, Software
Posted by Administrator
I recently decided to purchase an iPhone app called SPQR. The program is supposed to be a reader for popular Latin texts with English translations, along with Lewis & Short and Whitaker's Words, as well as some other tools. Based on the reviews published on I fully expected my experience to be equally positive. However, I am saddened to report that most, if not all, expectations for the app have not been met. On the whole, the relatively high price ($5.99) creates a false assumption that the program is both rich in features and these features are well implemented. Perhaps the mere number of features is satisfactory, but as far as implementation goes, there are too many problems. In my opinion, the program is still in beta version. I shall explain.

1. The dictionaries are not integrated with the reader part of the app. I have several decent readers for iOS that allow one to select a word and get its definition, as long as there is a suitable dictionary file. With SPQR one might as well carry a paper dictionary, because there isn't even a way to go back and forth between the reader and any other part of the app.

2. No bookmarks. One must physically scroll down to get to where they were.

3. The translations are not line by line. Instead, if one clicks on the "Translate" button the program displays the very beginning of the section. Lets say, one is reading Aeneid 1.459 and wants to see the translation. Good news, the first line of the translation is just a click away! Worst of all, if you click on the same button again to return to Latin you will discover that you have now lost your place in the book. It's going to be Arma virumque ad nauseam.

4. The texts used for the app appear to be substandard. Virgil failed my usual test for classroom usability. Eclogue 9.39 reads "Huc ades, o Galarea" instead of "huc ades, o Galatea." This text is not what students ever see in their OCT, Teubner, Loeb -- what have you. It is simply one of those texts that float around on the Internet. The need to seriously address the lack of good public domain texts has so far prevented me personally from compiling a library of portable Latin classics.

5. It is impossible to import books in ePub or any other format.

6. In my personal opinion, Latin texts are best displayed in a format that resembles Bible readers. Classicists like to look up lines and verses.

As it stands now, I have payed six dollars for an app that is not even usable. I could simply download a bunch of public domain ePubs on my iPhone and get all the benefits of well designed free book readers (I already have a L&S app). It would be great to find out that a new version of the program will be released soon, and that all necessary features will have been implemented, and then some. So far, it looks like this time around the Romans really did go home. If you intend to help out the developer of SPQR, go ahead, but if you are saving your lunch money for a quality app, I would not recommend this one.

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