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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Knowledge is power - original source of the quote

 
Sunday, February 10, 2008, 14:08 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans
Posted by Administrator
This maxim attributed to Francis Bacon is very often quoted as Scientia est potentia. Perhaps a little too inspired by this motto, I decided to gain knowledge about the original quote, and, to my surprise, found none. There is this phrase, however, used very much passingly and literally parenthetically in De Haeresibus: (nam & ipsa scientia potestas est). But, I suppose, this phrase expresses the gist of Bacon's philosophy better than any other. Still, it should be probably quoted a little closer to the source: Scientia potestas est. Also, potestas sounds a bit more classical, at least to my ear.


Philip Pullman's book titles

 
Friday, February 8, 2008, 11:54 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Jokes and anecdotes
Posted by Administrator
The Amber Spyglass
The Golden Compass
The Subtle Knife...


"The Subtle Knife"??? Am I the only one who finds this title hilarious? I could not resist coming up with a few good and solid book titles for Mr. Pullman:

"The Indignant Crayon"
"The Voracious Chronometer"
"The Pliant Inkwell"
"The Learned Kettle"
"The Knotted Street Map"
"The Capricious Thermos"
"The Flamboyant Screwdriver"

British motto contest, sponsored by The Times

 
Friday, February 8, 2008, 11:09 - Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans, State mottos
Posted by Administrator
I can't believe this one almost escaped my attention!

The article is appropriately entitled Britain Seeks Its Essence, and Finds Punch Lines.

It was a lofty idea: formulate a British “statement of values” defining what it means to be British, much the way a document like the Declaration of Independence sets out the ideals that help explain what it means to be American.
...
The proposal, part of a package of British-pride-bolstering measures announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s new government over the summer, raised a host of tricky questions. What does it mean to be British? How do you express it in a country that believes self-promotion to be embarrassing? And how do you deal with a defining trait of the people you are trying to define: their habit of making fun of worthy government proposals?

Detractors spread the rumor that the government was looking not for a considered statement, but for a snappy, pithy “liberté, égalité, fraternité”-style slogan that it could plaster across government buildings in a kind of branding exercise.

Nor did it help when The Times of London cynically sponsored a British motto-writing contest for its readers.

The readers’ suggestions included “Dipso, Fatso, Bingo, Asbo, Tesco” (Asbo stands for “anti-social behavior order,” a law-enforcement tool, while Tesco is a ubiquitous supermarket chain); “Once Mighty Empire, Slightly Used”; “At Least We’re Not French”; and “We Apologize for the Inconvenience.” The winner, favored by 20.9 percent of the readers, was “No Motto Please, We’re British.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/26/world ... motto.html
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Meaning of "Sasha"

 
Friday, February 8, 2008, 05:06 - Etymology and word roots, Latin Words - Meanings and Definitions
Posted by Administrator
Speaking of meanings... There is one area of popular etymology where results have been absolutely horrifying and disturbing. I am taking about the etymology of proper names, most often featured on numerous 'baby names' sites. It is absolutely unbelievable what these people come up with. What's worse, that not only you will be likely to find erroneous etymologies and explanations for certain names - I once found a site that claimed to have the largest collection of boys' and girl's names in existence. What they actually did was collect data from online chats around the world and then presented people's nicknames and usernames as actual proper names. This process created a mishmash of names that were wrongly attributed as originating from languages that had nothing to do with them! Also, there were a lot of 'baby names' that were made-up nicknames, quite often obscene! No doubt, some of them were rather melodious and exotic sounding... So, I would advise everyone to at least stick with the names they have heard. But as far as interpretation goes, you should probably consult with printed books, although I have seen a good amount of errors in 'baby name books', as well.

Anyway, I got thinking about all this after I saw this entry on some big-time new baby naming website:

The boy's and girl's name Sasha \s(a)-sha\ is pronounced SAH-shah. It is of Russian origin. Short form of Alexander (Greek) "man's defender". The -sha ending may not be feminine in Russia, though it is in the US.

Yes, the true origin of this name is Greek. It should probably be taken to mean 'the defender of men'. And it is entirely incorrect that Sasha cannot be feminine in Russia. It is short for Alexandra, the female version of Alexander. More importantly, the article does not attempt to explain how Alexander and Sasha can be etymologically related. I should probably clarify this. 19th century Russian literature has some examples of another short version of Alexander - Aleksasha (the Russian suffix used here is probably cognate to the German diminutive suffix '-chen'). This is were 'Sasha' comes from! And, as if things were not complicated enough, 'Sasha', in its turn, produced yet another form: Shura. This one stems from a diminutive form of 'Sasha' - 'Sashura'.

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