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.

Poetic license...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 13:23 - Fine Arts, Poetry, Literature, Music
Posted by Administrator
I fear that I am about to become very busy, so I am trying to spend the last days of freedom posting a few things, that I will otherwise neglect to share.

This little quatrain was discovered by me in Allusion and Intertext: Dynamics of Appropriation in Roman Poetry by Stephen Hinds. I think that these lines are absolutely beautiful. Many will, of course, disagree.

Statius wrote down the line, then scratched it out,
And scratched his head, and sat a while in doubt,
But wrote it down again a little later,
And said, 'Not bad, though, for a second-rater.'

(Louis MacKay)

Sundial mottos: Sic transit gloria mundi

Sic transit gloria mundi - Thus passes the glory of this world

I was not aware that there is a very specialized kind of mottos, namely the sundial mottos. I have located a book with a great deal of these phrases dedicated to time, its passing, and other, rather melancholic observations:

"The Book of Sun-dials", by Alfred Gatty and Eleanor Lloyd

Lumen me regit vos umbra - The light guides me, the shadow you

Non sine lumine - Not without light

Obrepit non intellecta senectus - Old age creeps on unawares

Quae lenta accedit quam velox praeterit hora - The hour that comes slowly, how swiftly doth it pass

More to come in due time :)

P.S. As promised:
Mottos for Sundials

Masonic Knights Templar rings' motto

I have observed that there is considerable interest regarding the looks of the Knights Templar rings. Unfortunately, my research has only extended to the Masonic Templars, who are in no way connected to the actual military order. However, having found a reference to a Latin motto I felt obliged to make a note of this design.

In hoc signo vinces - In this sign thou shall conquer.

This excerpt is taken from:
Rings for the Finger, from the Earlieast Known Times to the Present. by George F. Kunz:

In rings of the Knights Templar the design is usually a cross passed through a crown, with the motto of Constantine the Great: In hoc Signo vinces. The cross will be of black enamel (occasionally of red enamel) and the crown is gold. A special ring for this order has a Blue Lodge emblem on one shoulder and the Chapter emblem on the other, and is arranged for a diamond to be set in the centre of the bezel. On a fourteenth degree ring ( Lodge of Perfection) appears the initial Hebrew letter ( yod) of the Tetragrammaton, or Ineffable Name, now approximately sounded Yahweh. Sometimes the symbols of more than one degree appear on the ring, one example bearing those of the fourteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth, thirtieth and thirty-second; this is one of the Consistory rings, as those for thirty-second degree Masons are denominated. These usually have the double eagle on the bezel.

By the way, if you have your own message you want to engrave on a ring it's very easy to do. You can even choose IN HOC SIGNO VINCES!

Now, not too long ago another phrase was suggested as a Templar motto: Veritas vos liberabit". Unfortunately, it appears to have no direct connection with the Templars.

Knights Templar Vault - Veritas vos liberabit

Engraved promise ring


After making a special page with a nice selection of what can be justly seen as promise ring poems I decided to dig a little deeper. Needless to say, Elizabethan English folk did not invent the art of inscribing rings to be given as pledges of love. Here is a simple inscription from an old Roman ring:

PIGNUS AMORIS HABES - "You have the pledge of love!"

The engraved emblem on the ring is probably that of a dolphin or a fish. I have to consult with my books on symbols about the meaning of this. The Christian interpretation, of course, would involve fish as a symbol of Christ.

Sure, the inscription does not rhyme or anything... Ancient Romans pretty much did not have a conception of a rhyme.

See also:
Modern promise (purity) ring: "True love waits"
What to Engrave of a Wedding Ring?
Promise rings: History and meaning
P.S. It has been confirmed that the fish-like image on this engraved ring is indeed a dolphin, in agreement with popular misconception regarding this aquatic mammal.
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