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.

Casanova's mottos

Thursday, May 20, 2010, 13:38 - Legal Phrases and Expressions
Posted by Administrator
Gallica has made Giacomo Casanova's manuscripts available online. Namely, "Histoire de ma vie" ("History of my life"). Nothing extraordinary, of course, unless you intend to gain more knowledge about the man's personality studying his handwriting. It was interesting, however, to look into his use of Latin mottos and even a brief discussion of them in the book. For instance, this motto is used as an epigraph to the memoirs:

Nequiquam sapit qui sibi non sapit.
He knows in vain who does not draw profit from what he knows

Casonova ascribes this quote to Cicero. He must be quoting from his memory, because the exact quote is a bit different:

Qui ipse sibi sapiens prodesse non quit, nequiquam sapit.

Also, Cicero himself is quoting from Ennius's Medea.

In the book, Casanova also mentioned these two mottos:

Excitat auditor studium, laudataque virtus
crescit, et immensum gloria calcar habet.

Having an audience makes one try harder, virtue grows by praise, and fame is a powerful spur

This one is from Ovid's "Epistulae ex Ponto." Another commonsense motto is also among Casanova's favorites, but he says that it would offend the vast number of thos who, whenever anything goes wrong for them, say: "It is not my fault":

Nemo leditur nisi a seipso
Nobody suffers except by his own doing

Latin tattoos you definitely don't want to have

Friday, April 16, 2010, 15:00 - Latin Translation
Posted by Administrator
Is it safe to assume that anyone who prepares to have something tattooed on their skin understands the value of checking it twice, or else? Even more so with Latin. I cannot stress enough the need to verify every letter of your Latin tattoos before (that's right, folks) the damage has been done. The results can vary from an unfortunate "auto-corrected" error in a otherwise completely correct Latin phrase, to something entirely meaningless and unreadable even with the help of true Latin scholars. Here is a collection of some striking examples:

Latin Tattoos gone awry

See also:
Max Payne Tattoo and Norse Viking Mythology

"Lectio Equaria Palaestra" - Can horses read?

Thursday, April 15, 2010, 17:41 - Learn Latin Language, Unsolved Mysteries and Myths
Posted by Administrator

This is just too bizarre not to mention here. Alexandr Nevzorov, a Russian film-maker well-known for his eccentricity and right wing inclinations (as well as genuine love for horses), has released a new movie entitled "Lectio Equaria Palaestra." This Latin phrase can be translated as "Equine reading in the arena." In the movie, Nevzorov claims that as a follower of an Ancient school of equestrian training he is able to teach horses how to read (Masons and Knights Templar are, of course, mentioned indiscriminately). That's right, folks. Horses can read! But wait! They can read IN LATIN. Supposedly, these intelligent creatures can even communicate back using large cardboard letters, randomly arranged in front of the horses' eyes.

In this promotional clip for "Lectio Equaria Palaestra," the horse replies to Nevzorov's question "Who is in this picture?" The picture is a portrait of a woman, and the horse correctly answers: "UXOR." A circus trick, of course. Nevertheless, some people will be fooled by this! Every student of Latin knows that the language is nearly impossible to learn, whether you are human or equine.

Latin-English Dictionary

Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 17:04 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Latin Language
Posted by Administrator
My Latin Assistant for Whitaker's Latin Words remains to be one of the most popular programs for Latinists worldwide. It is, however, limited to Windows users. Many people, myself included, sometimes want to have a Latin dictionary that can be used across various platforms (even an iPhone!). So, I decided to create a Latin-English dictionary based on W. Whitaker's wordlist. It is in PDF format and I colorized the entries and grammatical information, so it is easier to use. Naturally, this dictionary inherits whatever problems may exist in the original file, but it can still be extremely useful.

Latin-English Dictionary

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