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Latin Via Proverbs: Home - Previous - Next


Group 1: Latin


1. Scientia potentia.

2. Fortuna caeca est.

3. Fortuna est rotunda.

4. Vaga est fortuna.

5. Vitrea est fortuna.

6. Varia vita est.

7. Ita vita.

8. Longa est vita si plena est.

9. Roma aeterna.

10. Caeca invidia est.

11. Belua fera est avaritia.


Group 1: Study Guide


1. Knowledge is power. (The Latin scientia means "knowing" or "knowledge" in general, and it is of course where we get the English word "science").


2. Fortune is blind. (In other words, she seems to dispense her favors at random, without seeing what she is doing: this is why good things happen to bad people, for example.)


3. Fortune is shaped like a wheel. (Latin rota is "wheel," hence the adjective rotunda). The Romans were big believers in the image of "the wheel of Fortune."


4. Fortune is inconstant. (Although the English word "vague" is derived from the Latin adjective vaga, the Latin word has a much wider range of meaning: the idea here is that Fortune is inconstant, she wanders, she comes and comes).


5. Fortune is made of glass. (In other words: it shatters).


6. Life is many-sided. (In other words, life has its good moments and bad moments, too.)


7. Such is life. (I like how this rhymes in Latin!)


8. Life is long, if it is a full life. (This is a profoundly comforting thought: live your life fully, and you do not have to worry about how long it will be... since that is, obviously, something quite beyond your control.)


9. Rome is eternal. (The Romans were certainly right about that, at least so far!)


10. Envy is blind. (Compare the English cliche, "blind with envy." What is interesting here is that the Latin word for "envy" is itself based on a verb of seeing. Literally, it means "looking on," the idea being that when you looking longing on something, you were doing so enviously or, even worse, casting the evil eye on it.)


11. Greed is a wild beast. (Greed, avaritia, is a dominant theme in Latin proverbs; see this Latin Audio Proverbs post for a great proverb about people who are greedy for money.)

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