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.


Incognito

 
Incognito
Without being known; in disguise; in an assumed character, or under an assumed title.

Here is an article about an Australian lady who is a "self-confessed word nerd, fluent in Latin, ancient Greek and Esperanto, and a scholar of linguistics and Shakespeare". She runs a company that helps people pick company and brand names. A worthy enterprise, to be sure. Heaven forbid someone decided to name their company using some word that would turn out to have a meaning very offensive to a native Esperanto speaker...

http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0 ... 37,00.html

Naturally, one would expect to see her own company have a name that would exude creativity, precision and a strong image of a linguistic expertise. And the name of the company is... Ta-da: Incognito Sum:

"Ms Engeler-Newbury, director of Incognito Sum, believes people about to take the plunge into small business should take note.

"I tend to follow overly simplistic principles. One of the most important things is ease of use, being able to get your tongue around it. There is no point having something that is too hard to pronounce," she said.

"It is also about making it relevant and meaningful. If you are dealing with a sophisticated audience they would probably prefer a name (with) more sophisticated pronunciational spelling."


All right, I guess it's ok that not everybody will know how to pronounce "Incognito sum". But shouldn't the phrase at least becorrect in Latin? Why Ablative/Dative with "sum"? Someone who does not know Latin might think that "sum" is used here in a math sense (and pronounced accordingly). Someone who knows Latin, even on a very rudimentary level. would be surprised to see 'incognito', not 'incognitus'. In English, incognito is used adverbially, but this phrase is Latin (at least purportedly so). Besides, the 'incognito' used in modern languages properly comes from Italian. So, mixing Italian with Latin, are we? Besides, what does this mean, anyway? And why is this a good name for a company that creates names for other companies? Or for any company, for that matter?

It is possible that I just totally missed some very important point that justifies, nay, demands that this company be named precisely this way. But if something is not quite right on the surface who has any desire to dig any further? Isn't that also a self-evident rule of naming companies?


Marble statues, painted pictures and moral degradation

 
This is one of my most favorite places in Sallust (Bel.Cat 11.5):

Huc accedebat, quod L. Sulla exercitum, quem in Asia ductaverat, quo sibi fidum faceret, contra morem maiorum luxuriose nimisque liberaliter habuerat. Loca amoena, voluptaria facile in otio ferocis militum animos molliverant. Ibi primum insuevit exercitus populi Romani amare, potare, signa, tabulas pictas, vasa caelata mirari, ea privatim et publice rapere, delubra spoliare, sacra profanaque omnia polluere.


In short, when Sulla's army arrived in Asia they quickly became enamored with luxuries of the East, and abandoned traditional virtues of a Roman citizen. The signs of their moral degradation are listed in the following order: whoring, boozing, admiration for statues, painted pictures and carved vases - which resulted in massive theft of these objects of art, plundering of shrines and defilement of everything and all, both sacred and profane.

It is noteworthy that admiration for art is found right in between signs of licentiousness and desecration of temples. The end of the Roman republic was nigh...

On an unrelated note, I always found the use of 'signum' meaning 'sculpture' very interesting. statues were meant as representations of deities, they reminded people about gods, in their absence.

Pater noster from Itala?

 
There is a site that has translations of 'Pater noster' in Romance languages:

http://www.orbilat.com/Languages/Gallo- ... mples.html

The Latin text they have is as follows:

Pater noster, qui est in coelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum, fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra. Panem nostrum cottidianum da nobis hodie et dimitte nobis dedita nostra, sicut nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in temptationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.


The funny thing is that the use of 'cottidianum' in this version of 'Pater noster' is consistent with Itala - the Latin translation of the Bible that was popular prior to the propagation of the Vulgate.
Of course, 'dedita' is supposed to be debita.

Carpe diem

 
Carpe diem
Seize the day


Once again, Macdonnel in "A dictionary of quotations, in most frequent use" gives us a preciously worded summation regarding the meaning of 'carpe diem' Carpe diem quam minime credula postero. Lat. Hor. "Enjoy the present day, as distrusting that which is to follow." -- This is one of the maxims of the Epicurean school, which recommended, but no doubt unwisely, the immediate enjoyment of sensual pleasures in preference to remote speculation.

It should be noted that the "Carpe diem" motto is occasionally found as a sundial motto. I somewhat disapprove of that, because in my opinion sundial mottos should be a little more somber in their mood, and they are better off reflecting on eternity, other than the pleasures of the fleeting moment.

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