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.


Business name ideas: How to use Greek to build the image of your company

 
Saturday, July 5, 2008, 21:03 - Ancient Greek Language, Books, dictionaries and texts
Posted by Administrator
As promised, I return to the issue of finding creative and appealing names for modern businesses. Although the economy is going through one of its less stellar moments this may be the right time for people to try new venues and there is no reason to suggest that the number of start-ups has not been on the rise.

Quite reminiscent of the use of the Latin language for naming a business or a product line, Ancient Greek helps create a strong, established image, while adding some sense of sophistication. As with Latin, the simplest way to incorporate Greek is to use a name of a god, a goddess or a well-known historic personality. Here is a brief list of some Greek deities:

Zeus - King of Gods
Apollo - God of Light
Hermes - Messenger of the Gods, god of commerce
Poseidon - God of the Sea
Ares - God of War
Hephasstus - God of Fire
Dionysus - God of Wine
Eros - God of Love
Athena Goddess of Wisdom
Artemis - Goddess of the Hunt
Aphrodite - Goddess of Love/Beauty
Hera - Queen of the Gods
Demeter - Goddess of Grain/Crops

Most of these names are most likely in use. However, you can still come up with something creative and appropriate. How about Artemis as a name for a company that provides hunting and outdoors equipment tailored to the needs of women?

There are more options that one can come up with using the names of Greek heros. In Greek mythology, a hero is someone born from the union of a deity and a human.

Heracles - Mightiest of all mortals; son of Zeus; eventually was granted immortality
Oedipus - solved riddle of the Sphynx
Perseus - Son of Zeus; slayer of Medusa
Jason - Led Argonauts to search for Golden Fleece
Theseus - King of Athens; slayer of Minotaur
Atalanta - Fastest mortal, hunter of the Caladonian boar
Bellerphon Mortal who rode Pegasus
Atlas - Giant who supported earth on his shoulders
Orpheus - Greatest musician married to Eurydice
Titans - Giants who ruled before the Olympic gods
Midas - Richest human; everything he touched turned to gold
Persephone - Daughter of Demeter; goddess of spring


See also:
Greek Gods and Goddesses

One would easily recognize some names used by very successful companies. Midas, of course, is very notable, even though the mythological reference is somewhat ambivalent, because the richness of Midas was connected with his curse.
The resources for somewhat merely willing to do some research in Greek mythology are very vast. If you want to be absolutely sure that your use of a particular name for your new business is correct and appropriate the most definitive source is undoubtedly the Oxford Classical Dictionary.

You would have a much more difficult time relying on Internet resources if you want to explore the Ancient Greek vocabulary in order to find some perfect sounding names for your business. Your best bet is to use the newly published and very affordable Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary This dictionary, unlike most Ancient Greek dictionaries out there, has a concise and authoritative English-Greek part, along with a pronunciation guide. You can easily look up meanings, pronounce them and determine whether you want to use them in your business' name.

Here are some examples of the words that can be well suited to be used as a company name (even in a modified form if you wish) or a name of a product:

Chreis - need, use
Tachus - fast
Hercos - fence
Kainos - new
Aletheia - truth
Scaphe - tub
Phoros - tax
Trophos - nurse
Stoa - porch
Telos - result
Dynamis - strength

If you efforts prove unsuccessful you can always resort to the help of a company that specialized in naming businesses. You can still tell them that you would like to find something with Greek roots and connotations, if you wish!

See also:
Business name ideas
Restaurant name ideas

Secret Voyage

 
Friday, June 13, 2008, 13:13 - Poetry, Literature, Music, Reviews
Posted by Administrator
This is a blatant off-topic, but hey, don't I decide what's right and what's wrong around here? "Blackmore's Night" will release their new album, "Secret Voyage" on July 15. If this news leaves you wondering about who they are and what they do, I am willing to offer a quick explanation.

If you are into Latin, chances are you are a little bit into Middle Ages. And if you are into that sort of thing, there is a 60% chance that you're in for a treat, and that you will enjoy the music of Blackmore's Night. They do not painstakingly recreate medieval music, instead the band creates modern arrangements of old-time tunes, as well as their own material. Their music is very well-spirited, their melodies are captivating, and the performance is superb. All of this is to be expected, because apart from the excellent vocals by Candice Night the group features the talent and expertise of Ritchie Blackmore, of the greatest guitar players of all time. You may remember him from such projects ad "Deep Purple" and "Rainbow".

It would only be fair (no pun intended) to offer some critical notes. At times they seem a little bit too Renaissance fair (hence the unintended pun). The excursions into Ritchie's rock past may occasionally seem a little out of place. On the whole, this is solid enjoyable music with a medieval flare. I must add that when I tried to find something that even came close to Blackmore's Night, my efforts were unsuccessful.

Tutela Valui and "Adjectives in Past Tense"

 
Another example of an odd Latin tattoo. A certain Ashley Dupre, Governor Spitzer's acquaintance, bears it on her belly:

Tutela Valui

An article in NY Daily News quotes several translations, including what I think is the most fair and grammatically meaningful:

Daniel Nodes, a classics professor at Ave Maria University in Florida, translated it as "I've been well and remain that way because I have protection."

An odd saying, if you ask me. Maybe the happy owner of the belly that features this tattoo could elaborate on its meaning? The world is holding its breath. It has been my observation that is such cases things can be clarified very easily once you know the English phrase people were trying to translate and the exact Latin dictionary that they used in their failed attempt to produce a meaningful phrase in Latin. On the whole, this is a worthy enterprise. Just don't use these translations for tattoos and engravings!

What's more interesting, Helen Kennedy, a staff writer at Daily News gave her readers a taste of how erudite modern journalism can be:

Tutela, which is related to tutor, has to do with a protector or guardian. Valui appears to be a past form of the word strong.

I admit, there may be languages somewhere that conjugate adjectives in the past sense. You would use one form to say 'strong' in a present tense statement, and an altogether different form to say 'strong' in a past tense sentence. It is more likely, however, that the Daily News journalist has a very poor understanding of some basic principles of grammar. And that's ok, folks. As long as she does not tattoo statements like that on her belly.

For the curious. Valui is Perfect active of the verb valeo 'to be strong.' Tutela means care, support, protection, and also guardian and keeper. The key to understanding this phrase (as long as it was translated by someone who has at least some knowledge of Latin) is to take Tutela as an Ablative.

A word of advice to people who are visible in the world of politics and entertainment. Before you commit to a specific tattoo, why not try a fake one first? Have the media pick it up. If no expressions of utter bewilderment follow, go ahead and make it permanent.


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Names for Businesses: Never Boring!

 
As I sat down to ponder what Latin words can be used for naming a business it did not take long before an actual company name came to my attention as a good example of, let's say, dubious appropriateness of a business name...

I decided to come up with a few ideas for companies that take pride in delivering goods or services very promptly. Some good suggestions would be to use such words as celer, velox, rapidus (fast). Then there is a nice verb "festinare". A sonorous name. There is even something festive about it:) Lo and behold, there is a company that is called "Festina" ("make haste!", an imperative). Well, the problem is that this company manufactures watches. Would you really want to have a watch that is fast? The only appropriate way of using this word in this context would be in the slogan "Festina lente" (make haste slowly). Now, that would be a clever way to describe what a good mechanism for keeping time is supposed to do! Also, this was a motto used by the famed Aldus Manutius, one of the greatest Renaissance book publishers.

In general, it seems that all good Latin names for businesses are already taken (and not used wisely, I must add). My advice would be to have a good look at Greek words. In fact, I may do some research in this area myself.

See also:
Restaurant Name Suggestions


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