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.


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Status quo - 'the state in which'

 
Status quo

The Wikipedia article begins as follows:

In 19th-century diplomatic Latin, the original sentence was in statu quo res erant ante bellum "the state things were before the war". This gave rise to the shorter form status quo ante bellum "the state that it was before the war", indicating the withdrawal of enemy troops and restoration of power to prewar leadership, as well as other variations, such as status quo itself.

The phrase actually appears in various sources prior to the 19th century, including this book: Macdonnel, David Evans. A dictionary of quotations, in most frequent use. Taken from the Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian languages; translated into English. London, 1797:

Status quo. Lat. -- "The state in which", or status quo ante bellum. -- The state in which both parties were before the war. This is used in speaking of belligerent powers when they agree, as a preliminary to peace, to restore their conquests, to return to that condition in which the parties respectively stood before the commencement of hostilities.


So, it appears that the phrase was well known before the 19th century. This makes sense, because in the 19th century French, not Latin, was the language of diplomacy. If I have to guess, it must have been early 18th century that gave birth to this phrase. Also, there is no reason to believe that the original phrase had the ablative, 'in statu', as Wiki suggests. I don't know if I will bother to make any changes on Wikipedia, however. For now, let the status quo remain. :)
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Fortune favors the bold

 
Sunday, November 18, 2007, 12:29 - Latin Language, Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans, Latin Translation
Posted by Administrator
Audentis fortuna juvet

Fortune favors the bold. Or favours, if you prefer. Sometimes 'audentis' is rendered as 'brave'. The literal meaning is more like 'daring'. The line is from Virgil (A. 10.284). The reason I myself favor 'bold' vs. 'brave' lies in the possibility of a pretty stupid wordplay which I sure hope an editor of some little newspaper used in a headline to announce that Italy won the World Cup (this happened a few years ago, and, unless I am mistaken, Italy somehow beat a much more talented French team):

Fortune favors the italics

Volvo - car company's name and Classical Latin.

 
As you can find out just about anywhere, 'volvo' means 'I roll' in Latin. It is not even precisely known what educated Swede came up with this name for the nascent car company. The funny thing is that this form is quite rare in Classical Latin. Even when it is used (just 20 times or so in the database that I searched) it appears in order to demonstrate some grammatical point. Priscianus is particularly fond of this form, as he is responsible for at least half a dozen of these occurrences. Add a few other grammarians (Cassiodorus, Charisius, Marius Victorinus and even Servius) and that's pretty much all we have for 'volvo' in Classical Latin!

To love and to cherish - David Beckham's tattoo

 
Ut Amem Et Foveam

Popularly translated as "So that I love and cherish" this line was clearly rendered into Latin by someone who hows his/her subjunctives. It is nice to know that even big time sports types understand the importance of employing educated Latinists when attempting to adorn their bodies with grayish letters. It is sad, however, that while in the past patrons used to commission great works of art and fine literature, today people of considerable wealth often reduce themselves to much less ambitious projects.

This post was, of course inspired by the "quod me nutrit" article. I am not a big fan of tattoos, face painting and toe rings. But if you gonna do it - do it right. Beckham did! Of course, most people, including celebrities, prefer to enrave such messages on their wedding rings...



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