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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Quid pro quo

 
Literally, "what for what", often used to convey the idea of an equal exchange. Originally quid pro quo probably simply referred to replacing something with something, often not without negative connotations. To my surprise, I could not find any classical examples of this expression. Even medieval sources were pretty much silent. I was expecting at least to see quid pro quo as a literary term.

One interesting poem by Hermann de Werden (Hermannus Werdinensis), however, contains this expression. It is used to describe a medicine replaced with something totally different by a dishonest doctor:

Hic verus medicus, quia non vendit dyatruphis,
Nec tibi quid pro quo decipiendo terit,
Set veram nardum confectam pneumate sancto,
Per quam peccatrix uncta Maria fuit.


This is a true physician who does not sell [..](having some trouble translating 'dyatruphis'),
and does not deceivingly rub you with something instead of something else,
but with a true nard-oil, prepared by the Holy Spirit,
with which Mary the sinner was anointed.

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Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

 
What Wikipedia will not tell you...

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
"It is sweet and honorable to die for (one's) country."
Odes (iii 2.13)

Horace gets too much credit for this line, it has clear overtones of an earlier Greek poem by Tyrtaeus:

τεθνάμεναι γὰρ καλὸν ἐνὶ προμάχοισι πεσόντα
ἄνδρ' ἀγαθὸν περὶ ἧι πατρίδι μαρνάμενον·
Fragment 10.1-2

Seriously, I am just testing Unicode in my blog :) But the Greek here means something like, "It is a beautiful thing when a good man falls and dies fighting for his country." It may be suggested, and often is, that it is a commonplace idea that someone's death for his country is a beautiful sight. In my opinion, only frequent repetition made this idea commonplace, because there is nothing beautiful about this. Even if one feels exceedingly militaristic a healthier approach has been sugegsted by General Patton: "“No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country.”

Basically, 'commonplace' does not always mean 'true'.

A diamond with a Templar Cross?

 
Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 21:09 - World History: Ancient, Medieval & Modern, Knights Templar History
Posted by Administrator


http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/view_pr ... ?rID=35962


It would have helped for the cross to be red!
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Why Latin?

 
Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 07:13 - Books, dictionaries and texts, World History: Ancient, Medieval & Modern, Latin Language, Reviews
Posted by Administrator
If anyone wishes to find out why exactly Latin maintains the position of the official language for everything that is profound and sacred, this book would be a great place to start: Francoise Waquet. Latin or the Empire of a Sign: From the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries (London, 2003).


(The original French edition: Francoise Waquet. Le Latin, ou l'emploi d'un signe, XVIe-XXe siècle. (Paris: Albin Michel, 1998) This book also left me with one unanswered question. Waquet quotes Goethe's remarks concerning the great difficulty experienced by the German genius while learning Latin. The solution that he found was a book of rhymed Latin grammar. Thus far, I was unable to find out anything about that book.

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