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.

Facilis descensus Averno

Talibus orabat dictis arasque tenebat,
cum sic orsa loqui vates: 'sate sanguine divom,
Tros Anchisiade, facilis descensus Averno
(noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis);
set revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras,
hoc opus, hic labor est

In essence, the descent to the Lower World is easy, coming back is a hard task - Virgil, A. 6.

It is well known that this phrase is anachronistically quoted in HBO's Rome. I was, however, surprised to hear it in a disintegrating piece of Disney's magic called "Pirates of the Caribbean. At world's end." Really, what could be the significance of this quote coming from a pirate? This reminds me of this charming passage from Thomas Love Peacock's 'Nightmare Abbey':


Five years afterwards, some fishermen near Cadiz found in their nets a triton, or sea man; they spoke to him in several languages---


They were very learned fishermen.


They had the gift of tongues by especial favour of their brother fisherman, Saint Peter.

Indeed, could it be that pirates vicariously possess the same gift of tongues and a well-cultivated taste for literature?

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