Best Quotes, Words of Wisdom and Sayings in Latin

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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"Love conquers all" in Norse runes

 
Friday, December 12, 2008, 16:34 - Best Latin Quotes, Words of Wisdom, Proverbs and Sayings, Poetry, Literature, Music
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Among a very entertaining collection of actual Norse runic love quotes there is one that comes from Virgil, the famous "Love conquers all":



omnia:uinciώ:am(or):ζώ:nos:cedamus:amor(i)
Omnia vincit amor, et nos cedamus amori
‘Love conquers all; let us too yield to love.’

I don't know what time the original inscription is attributed to, but the entire corpus is from 1150-1350. The discovery was made in Bergen, Norway.

See: Runic Love Quotes

Quotes about money (in Latin with English translations)

 
Friday, October 31, 2008, 15:23 - Best Latin Quotes, Words of Wisdom, Proverbs and Sayings
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Some quotes that have to do with money, success (and the lack therof), wealth and human nature in general.

Abite nummi, ego vos mergam, ne mergar a vobis - Away with you, money, I will sink you that I may not be sunk by you
Absque argento omnia vana - Without money all is in vain
Cornucopia - Horn of plenty
Crescit amor nummi, quantum ipsa pecunia crevit - The love of wealth grows as the wealth itself grew. (Juvenalis)
Corruptio optimi pessima - Corruption of the best is worst
Dira necessitas - The dire necessity. (Horace)
Dominus providebit - The Lord will provide
Faber est suae quisque fortunae - Every man is the artisan of his own fortune. (Appius Claudius Caecus)
Fames est optimus coquus - Hunger is the best cook
Homo doctus is se semper divitias habet - A learned man always has wealth within himself
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas - In necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity
In omnia paratus - Prepared for all things
Libra solidus denarius (L.S.D.) - Pounds, shillings, pence
Magnas inter opes inops - A pauper in the midst of wealth. (Horace)
Male parta male dilabuntur - What has been wrongly gained is wrongly lost.(Cicero)
Nervos belli, pecuniam. (Nervus rerum.) - The nerve of war, money. (The nerve of things.) (Cicero)
Nihil tam munitum quod non expugnari pecunia possit - No fort is so strong that it cannot be taken with money. (Cicero)
Pecunia non olet - Money has no smell. Money doesn't stink. (don't look a gift horse in the mouth) (Vespasianus)
Pecuniate obediunt omnia - All things obey money
Radix omnium malorum est cupiditas - The love of money is the root of all evil. Avarice is the problem, money itself is not evil
Semper inops quicumque cupit - Whoever desires is always poor. (Claudian)


Semper fidelis and beyond. Latin phrases that contain the word "semper"

 
A classic 20th century Russian novel by Ilf and Petrov entitled "The Twelve Chairs" contains a verbal exchange, highly humorous, in my opinion, between a con artist trying to raise money, supposedly for the needs of the anti-Bolshevik underground, and a small town fellow, sympathetic to the cause:

"What's your political credo?"
"Always!" repliied Polesov delightedly.

I do not remember if this scene is present in Mel Brooks 1970 adaptation of the novel. Regardless, the point is that the word "always" (semper in Latin) possesses a very high level of appeal when it comes to indicating one's allegiance to something.

Acceptissima semper // munera sunt, auctor quae pretiosa facit - Those gifts are always the most acceptable which our love for the donor makes precious (Ovid)

Conlige suspectos semper habitos - Round up the usual suspects

Cotidie damnatur qui semper timet - The man who is constantly in fear is every day condemned. (Syrus)

Credula vitam spes fovet et melius cras fore semper dicit - Credulous hope supports our life, and always says that tomorrow will be better. (Tibullus)

Crudelius est quam mori semper timere mortem - It is more cruel to always fear death than to die. (Seneca)

De duobus malis, minus est semper eligendum - Of two evils, the lesser must always be chosen (Thomas a Kempis)

Fama semper vivat - May his/her fame last forever

Hoc natura est insitum, ut quem timueris, hunc semper oderis - It's an innate thing to always hate the one we've learnt to fear

Non semper erit aestas - It will not always be summer (be prepared for hard times)

Rosa rubicundior, lilio candidior, omnibus formosior, semper in te glorior - Redder than the rose, whiter than the lilies, fairer than everything, I will always have glory in thee

Semper fidelis - Always faithful

Semper idem - Always the same thing. (Cicero)

Semper inops quicumque cupit - Whoever desires is always poor. (Claudian)

Semper letteris mandate - Always get it in writing!

Semper paratus - Always prepared

Semper superne nitens - Always striving upwards


Deus ex machina

 
Thursday, July 31, 2008, 17:16 - Best Latin Quotes, Words of Wisdom, Proverbs and Sayings
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Deus ex machina
God from a machine


"A Literary Manual of Foreign Quotations, Ancient and Modern" by John Devoe Belton interprets the phrase in this fashion: "A god out of a machine. This expression indicates the intervention of a person who solves a difficulty or hastens the denouement at a critical juncture."

This is perhaps one of the most famous Latin phrases employed as a term of literary criticism. Funny thing about it is that the exact phrase "deus ex machina" cannot be found in a single work of either Classical or Medieval Latin. Instead, the source of the expression is Greek: ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός. This most certainly was a term used by Greek theorists (including Plato and Aristotle). Apparently, Renaissance Latin translations of their works made such an impression that the term was retained henceforth. Oddly enough, the Latin term is now sometimes used in English translations of Greek authors (the quote is once again from Belton):

In Plato's Cratylus, 425, Socrates says (Jowett's translation): "That objects should be limited, and find an expression in letters and syllables, may appear ridiculous, Hermogenes, but this cannot be helped — there is no better principle to which we can look for the truth of first names. Deprived of this, we must have recourse to a Deus ex machina, like the tragic poets, who have their gods suspended in the air; and we must get out of the difficulty in their fashion by saying that the gods gave the first names, and therefore they are right."

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