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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Haec olim meminisse juvabit

Monday, September 28, 2015, 18:56 - Best Latin Quotes, Words of Wisdom, Proverbs and Sayings
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Every time I read the entire Virgil I regret that I am not writing down the lines that are absolutely marvelous. And then it's to late to start, so I leave this task until the next time I pick up the book.

Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.
Perhaps some day it will please us to recall even these things. (A., I.203)

The idea, of course, is that at the time the things in question are the last thing we want to ever recall and remember. But perhaps, as years pass and we gain perspective and wisdom there will be some redeeming aspect to all of this. Although, that's not a given...

Searchable database of Latin phrases

Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 15:59 - Best Latin Quotes, Words of Wisdom, Proverbs and Sayings, Software
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Happy to announce that my new searchable database of Latin quotations is up and running! The interface is very simple and intuitive, you only need Flash installed on your computer (a standalone version is possible, but I am not currently planning on making one). You can search for Latin or English words. Please, try it out and let everybody know about this new tool:

Latin phrases. A searchable database.

If you have ideas for other Latin software projects, don't hesitate to contact me.

Malleus Maleficarum Quotes

Friday, October 28, 2011, 15:41 - Best Latin Quotes, Words of Wisdom, Proverbs and Sayings
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"Malleus Maleficarum" is one of those books that we should feel fortunate not to have to deal with any longer. Thousands of people had to suffer horrible deaths because of it. It is by no means the only book that discussed in depth the issue of witchcraft, but it is by far the most notable one. As such, "Malleus Maleficarum" is an important historic document. Here I have just a handful of colorful quotes from this Latin text with translations.

Daemones non operantur nisi per artem - Demons do not operate save through trickery.

Et si quaeritur, an motus ille rerum a Daemone localis reducatur in motum caelestem? Dicendum est quod non. Quia non mouentur ex virtute naturali, sed mouentur ex obedientia naturali, qua subijciuntur virtuti Daemonis, qui habet hoc ex virtute naturae suae, quod potest supra corpora. - If one should be asked whether the movement of material objects from place to place by the Devil is reminiscent of caelestial motion, it must be answered that it is not. Because material objects are not thus moved by an inherent natural power, but they are only moved by a certain submission to the power of the Devil, who by the virtue of his own nature has a certain dominion over objects.

Opus Dei potest opere Diaboli omnino vitiari, prout ad praesens loquimur de effectu Maleficiali. Sed quia hoc non potest, nisi diuina permissione, et ideo non sequitur, quod Diabolus sit Deo fortior - The work of God can be destroyed by the work of the Devil, just as we are now discussing the effects of Witchcraft. But since this can only be done by the permission of God, it does not at all follow that the Devil is stronger than God.

Dicunt enim tria esse in rerum natura lingua, Ecclesiasticus, and femina, quae medium in Bonitate aut Malitia tenere nesciunt, sed ubi limites suae conditionis excedunt, ibi quendam apicem et supremum gradum in Bonitate aut Malitia vendicant. In Bonitate quidem, quando a bono reguntur Spiritu, unde et optima sunt. In Malitia vero, quando a malo Spiritu reguntur, unde et pessima efficiuntur. - They say that there are three things in the world, the Tongue, an Ecclesiastic, and a Woman, which know no moderation in goodness or vice; and when they exceed the bounds of their condition they reach the greatest heights and the lowest degrees of goodness and vice. When they are governed by a good spirit, they are most excellent; but when they are governed by an evil spirit, they become the most wicked.

Ubi notandum, quod sicut intentio and appetitus Diaboli maior est ad tentandum bonos quam malos, licet ex parte tentatorum magis tentat malos quam bonos, id est, quod amplior habilitas reperitur in malis, ad recipiendum tentationem Daemonis, quam sit in bonis. - Here it is to be noted that the Devil is more eager and intent upon tempting the good rather than the wicked, although in actual practice he tempts the wicked more than the good, because more aptitude for being tempted is found in the wicked than in the good.

Et de Venerea delectatione an maior sit vel minor cum incubis Daemonibus in corpore assumptis quam caeteris paribus cum viris in corpore vero, dicendum videtur, quod licet naturalis ordo hoc minus excusat, quin maior sit, ubi simile suo simili alludit, tamen ille artifex, ubi debita activa debitis passivis, licet non in natura, tamen sub qualitatibus in calore vel temperamento aliquo coniungit, utique non minorem excitare videtur concupiscentiam. If it be asked: Whether the venereal delectation is greater or less with the Incubus Devils in assumed bodies than it is in like circumstances with men in a true physical body, we may say this: It seems that, although the pleasure should naturally be greater when like disports with like, yet that cunning Enemy can so bring together the active and passive elements, not indeed naturally, but in such qualities of warmth and temperament, that he seems to excite no less degree of concupiscence.

Opera Maleficorum sunt talia, quod non possunt nisi opere Daemonum fieri - The deeds of witches are such that they cannot be done without the help of Devils.

Omnia per carnalem concupiscentiam, quae quia in eis est insatiabilis - All (Witchcraft) comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable.

Plura haec deduci possent. sed intelligentibus satis apparet, non mirum, quod plures reperiuntur infectae Haeresi Maleficorum mulieres quam viri. - More such reasons could be brought forward, but to the understanding it is sufficiently clear that it is no matter for wonder that there are more women than men found infected with the heresy of Witchcraft.

See also: Latin quotes and mottos

Pulvis et umbra sumus

Sunday, October 10, 2010, 20:15 - Best Latin Quotes, Words of Wisdom, Proverbs and Sayings
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Pulvis et umbra sumus
Translation: we are dust and shadows.

A few days ago I caught a little bit of "Gladiator" on television. Maximus is being told by his master to take it easy, if I remember correctly. "We are only dust and shadows," adds he. Not bad for a freedman, because the phrase is actually from Horace: Carm. 4.7.16. Movie makers (with the help of their consultants, of course) like going to Rome's great poets whenever they are stuck writing a dialogue. I suppose, this beats the alternative of regurgitating all the usual cliches...

You can find more uplifting Latin phrases here:
Sad quotes and locutions in Latin

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