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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Fortune favors the bold

 
Sunday, November 18, 2007, 12:29 - Latin Language, Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans, Latin Translation
Posted by Administrator
Audentis fortuna juvet

Fortune favors the bold. Or favours, if you prefer. Sometimes 'audentis' is rendered as 'brave'. The literal meaning is more like 'daring'. The line is from Virgil (A. 10.284). The reason I myself favor 'bold' vs. 'brave' lies in the possibility of a pretty stupid wordplay which I sure hope an editor of some little newspaper used in a headline to announce that Italy won the World Cup (this happened a few years ago, and, unless I am mistaken, Italy somehow beat a much more talented French team):

Fortune favors the italics

Volvo - car company's name and Classical Latin.

 
As you can find out just about anywhere, 'volvo' means 'I roll' in Latin. It is not even precisely known what educated Swede came up with this name for the nascent car company. The funny thing is that this form is quite rare in Classical Latin. Even when it is used (just 20 times or so in the database that I searched) it appears in order to demonstrate some grammatical point. Priscianus is particularly fond of this form, as he is responsible for at least half a dozen of these occurrences. Add a few other grammarians (Cassiodorus, Charisius, Marius Victorinus and even Servius) and that's pretty much all we have for 'volvo' in Classical Latin!

To love and to cherish - David Beckham's tattoo

 
Ut Amem Et Foveam

Popularly translated as "So that I love and cherish" this line was clearly rendered into Latin by someone who hows his/her subjunctives. It is nice to know that even big time sports types understand the importance of employing educated Latinists when attempting to adorn their bodies with grayish letters. It is sad, however, that while in the past patrons used to commission great works of art and fine literature, today people of considerable wealth often reduce themselves to much less ambitious projects.

This post was, of course inspired by the "quod me nutrit" article. I am not a big fan of tattoos, face painting and toe rings. But if you gonna do it - do it right. Beckham did! Of course, most people, including celebrities, prefer to enrave such messages on their wedding rings...


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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