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.


Tempus fugit

 
Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 19:18 - Legal Phrases and Expressions, Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans
Posted by Administrator
Tempus fugit
Translation: Time flies



I already knew that Latin mottos were very common on sundials. As it turns out, clocks at one time also featured Latin phrases. Obviously, you can still custom engrave a quality mantle clock. But this particular masterpiece replicates Wedgwood's original designs from the 1880s and is already ornamented with a Tempus Fugit inscription. As for the price, it is unapproachable, alas!

By the way, the origin of the phrase probably can be found in a line from Viril's Georgics:

Set fugit interea, fugit inreparabile tempus,
singula dum capti circumvectamur amore.

(G. 3.284-5)

Fairclough translates beautifully: "But time meanwhile is flying, flying beyond recall, while we, charmed with love of our theme, linger around each detail!"

Latin in Iron Man 2.

 
Friday, May 21, 2010, 13:29 - Learn Latin Language
Posted by Administrator
I very seriously doubt that this will increase enrollment in Latin classes, but curious nonetheless.


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

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