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Latin Via Proverbs: Home - Previous - Next


Group 12: Latin


153. Iuventus ventus.

154. Laudator adulator.

155. Avarus semper est pauper.

156. Orator non semper est operator.

157. Ut pictura poesis.

158. Virtus mille scuta.

159. Conscientia mille testes.

160. Dominus illuminatio mea.

161. Astra castra, numen lumen.

162. Sum summus mus.

163. Pulvis et umbra sumus.

164. Terra corpus at mens ignis.

165. Homo humus, fama fumus, finis cinis.





Study Guide


153. Youth is wind. (The idea here is that youth passes by as quickly as the wind, but it's impossible to capture the delightful Latin word play with an English translation.)


154. Someone who praises is a flatterer. (The charm of the Latin saying depends on the sound play, which is lost in the English.)


155. A greedy person is always poor. (You can find a similar idea expresses in Ausonius's Septem Sapientum Senteniae: Quis dives? Qui nil cupiet. quis pauper? Avarus., "Who is rich? He who will be without desire. Who is poor? The greedy man.")


156. A speaker is not always a doer. (This is another proverb that depends on sound play for its charm, which is impossible to reproduce in the English. The Latin word operator is a late Latin word, not found in classical Latin, although it has become a commonly used word in English!)


157. Poetry is like a picture. (You can read a brief essay about this proverb at the AudioLatinProverbs.com blog.)


158. Virtue is a thousand shields. (The Latin word virtus has a much wider range of meaning than the English word "virtue." In Latin, virtus encompasses the sense of moral virtue, but also physical prowess, resourcefulness, bravery, etc.)


159. Conscience is a thousand witnesses. (Even if you do something in secret, with no external witnesses, your own conscience is like having a thousand witnesses to the deed. This saying made its way into Erasmus's Adagia, 1.10.91.)


160. God is my illumination. (This is the motto of Oxford University.)


161. The stars my camp, god my light. (This is a double rhyming proverb! For a note about the etymology of the Latin word numen, meaning "divinity," see the Bestiaria Latina: Innuendo.)


162. I am the mightiest mouse. (You can read a brief essay about this proverb at the AudioLatinProverbs.com blog.)


163. We are dust and shadow. (This phrase comes from an ode by the Roman poet Horace.)


164. The body is earth and the mind is fire. (This phrase is adapted from a fragment of the Roman poet Ennius.)


165. Man is earth, reputation is smoke, the end is ash. (The charm of the Latin proverb is in the elaborate sound play, which is impossible to reproduce in English. The Latin word fama is notoriously difficult to translate in English, completely aside from the sound effects; it can mean both "rumor" and also "renown, reputation.")


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