Heraldry, Symbols and Emblems

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.


French phrases for mottos, slogans and language learning

 
Friday, February 29, 2008, 20:30 - French Language, Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans, Heraldry, Symbols and Emblems
Posted by Administrator
Made a new little list:
French phrases used as heraldic mottos.

French phrases adopted as mottos, in my opinion, have slightly different connotations, as opposed to the Latin ones. They have a certain air of chivalry and perhaps a distinctly feudal sense of duty and allegiance. Or, perhaps, Latin mottos better represent the aspirations and ideals of the well educated religious and academic elite, while French mottos are more indicative of the warrior culture of the Middle Ages. It is my belief, of course, that it is not a bad idea to start learning a language by noticing that you may already have some knowledge of it. Mottos are exactly the kind of thing that can be known to people who otherwise are clueless about the actual grammar or vocabulary of a given language.

Zodiac signs meanings

 
There is a little bit of Latin to be learned from the names of the Zodiac signs. More importantly, one should not always rely upon these names as a source of meaning for the corresponding words. This goes especially for Sagittarius, Capricord and Aquarius. The traditional translations of these names is more relevant to the depictions of these constellations, rather than to the Latin words and their meanings.

1. Aries (The Ram) - a ram, a battering ram
2. Taurus (The Bull) - a bull, ox
3. Gemini (The Twins) - plural of 'geminus' 'born at the same time', twin, double, similar
4. Cancer (The Crab) -a crab, the South (because this sign of the Zodiac is found at the time of the summer solstice), cancer
5. Leo (The Lion) - a lion
6. Virgo (The Virgin) - a maid, a virgin, a young woman or girl, something pure
7. Libra (The Scale) - a pair of scales, a measure, the Roman pound, balance
8. Scorpio (The Scorpion) - a scorpion
9. Sagittarius (The Centaur) - an archer, a bowman
10. Capricorn (The Sea-goat) - caper-cornu; cf. in Gr. aigokereus, having goat's horns
11. Aquarius (The Pitcher) - relating to water, a water carrier
12. Pisces (The Fish) - plural of 'piscis' 'fish'

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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A variation of the 'Quod me nutrit me destruit' theme

 


'Nutrisco et extinguo' - I feed and extinguish.

This is from an old "Devises Heroiques". The explanation is that salamanders can extinguish fire with their frigid bodies, but they also feed on its flames.

More info about 'Quod me nutrit me destruit'

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