Popular Latin Quotes, Sayings, 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.


Latin toasts

 
Monday, June 8, 2015, 15:42 - Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans
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We don't have a definitive collection of Latin toasts from the times of Ancient Rome. The phrases chosen here come from a variety of sources: medieval sayings, classical authors and modern usage. Feel free to use them if the occasion is right!

Ad finem esto fidelis - Be faithful to the end.
Amor patriae - The love of our country.
Bene vobis! - May it be well with you!
Dilige amicos - Love your friends.
Dum vivimus vivamus - Let us live while we live.
Esto perpetua - Be thou perpetual.
Nunc est bibendum - Now, let us drink!
Palmam qid meruit ferate - Let him who has won bear the palm.
Pro aris et focis - For our altars and fireside.
Propino tibi! - I drink to you!
Propino tibi salutem! - I drink to your health! (Along with the previous toast, this one is still used in Italy, although it may only be known since the Middle Ages)
Prosit! - To your good fortune! May things go well for you (commonly used in German speaking countries, shortend to "Prost!")
Salutaria! - This roughly equates to "Cheers!" in meaning.
Vox populi vox Dei - The voice of the people is the voice of God (probably a good toast on an election night).

"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" - word of caution regarding the "Fugitivus" tattoo

 
Saturday, January 29, 2011, 12:11 - Latin Language, Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans
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According to the makers of the Starz series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" they employ two historical consultants. Perhaps one of them should have noticed that the tattoo gracing the forehead of the gladiator named Kerza is quite anachronistic. "Fugitivus" is indeed a Latin word for "runaway". Sadly though, the distinction between V and U would have seemed very strange to Romans. The two letters that we all know and love were used in Ancient Rome interchangeably and were never distinguished.Using V for a consonant and U for a vowel is a practice that only began in earnest during Renaissance times. (Wikipedia cites 1386 as the first occurrence, in a Gothic alphabet). As a result the correct way of spelling Fugitivus on poor Kerza's bold forehead would have been FVGITIVVS or FUGITIUUS. Folks, be advised as you decide to adorn your own foreheads with this one-word movie quote!

King Charles' motto

 
Saturday, November 13, 2010, 13:44 - Poetry, Literature, Music, Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans
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Not talking about any historic King Charles here, but rather about the British musician whose stage name betrays his royal aspirations (actually, this makes me wonder whether England has any laws that discourage individuals who call themselves kings or queens). King Charles was part of the opening act during the recent Mumford & Sons tour. Did a pretty nice job, I think. On his MySpace site there is a header with a Latin motto: In mundo, sed non de mundo. - In the world, but not of the world. Note the distinct Christian connotations. Just another idea for someone researching Latin quotes for tattoos, mottos and what have you.

By the way, if anyone finds King Charles' mp3s for sale other than the EP entitled "Alone on the throne", I'd like to know about that.

How to make sure that a Latin phrase is correct?

 
Friday, October 8, 2010, 17:10 - Legal Phrases and Expressions, Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans
Posted by Administrator
It's been demonstrated many times that when an average person aspires to have a Latin tattoo, an engraved ring or simply a clever motto they likely to have the desired Latin phrase badly mangled, often to the point of complete nonsense. I do my best to verify the spelling of all the phrases that appear on my site, but I would recommend that people check twice every tiny bit of Latin that they want to use for any purposes, no matter where it comes from. The good news is that this is not so difficult!

First of all, unless you are relying on someone who is trained in Latin translation, never use a phrase that, in your personal opinion, aptly renders a phrase in your own language (English, French, German etc.). Without proper knowledge of Latin it is often impossible to translate even a single word by simply looking it up in a dictionary, never mind an actual phrase. So, if you have something unique in mind, go to a translator. You will be glad you did. However, there is a universe of Latin phrases out there. You are free to pick out of many well-known quotes and mottos. The trick here is to be aware of misspellings and OCR errors. You really want to verify your selected quote by using at least two printed sources. I do not suggest that you buy a book of Latin adages and try to find your favorite Latin phrase there (although your money could not be better spent if you, in fact, do so). Google Books has numerous scanned published resources. Many of them come from the glorious times when not only the writers and editors knew Latin, but even typesetters and book-binding workers! All you need to do is carefully copy your Latin phrase into the buffer and then paste it within quotation marks (otherwise the search will be too broad) into Google Books's search field. Then open the actual scanned pages and verify that the phrase you are intending to use is indeed spelled the way you thought it was spelled. Oftentimes, you will get a nice translation as a bonus!

If the phrase you are tracking is fairly common, you can probably go to a collection of Latin quotes. Here is one such collection on Google Books:

Latin quotations, proverbs and phrases

Now, what if you are not finding the Latin phrases you were hoping to verify? It is quite possible that they have been misspelled. If so, identify a few words within a phrase and run a search on those words only (remember to use quotation marks). This will very likely bring up the Latin phrase in its correct form.

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