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{ Category Archives } Latin


Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 1.16 “Milli passum” dixit pro “mille passibus” et “uno milli nummum” pro “unis mille nummis” aperteque ostendit “mille” et vocabulum esse et singulari numero dici eiusque plurativum esse “milia” et casum etiam capere ablativum. He said milli passum instead of mille passibus and uno milli nummum instead of unis mille nummis […]

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Ne diutius pendeas…

Cicero, Ad Atticum 4.15: Ne diutius pendeas, palmam tulit. I won’t leave you hanging — he did carry the palm. Of course, the palma was a sign of victory; palmam ferre would be like winning a medal, perhaps. I think ‘carry the palm’ can stand as an idiom on its own in English, though.

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The lesser Septentrio.

Cicero on constellations, De Natura Deorum 2.43: Minorem autem Septentrionem Cepheus passis palmis [post] terga subsequitur. Now Cepheus, palms outstretched, follows behind the lesser Septentrio. Cepheus is still reckoned a constellation; minor Septentrio appears to be an unusual name corresponding to what we would now call Ursa Minor, or the Little Dipper.

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Tranquillissimus animus.

Cicero, Ad Atticum 7.7: Cetera videntur esse tranquilla; tranquillissimus autem animus meus qui totum istuc æqui boni facit. Everything else seems to be going peaceably; and my mind is quite peaceable itself, taking the whole thing with contentment. I don’t think I have the second half of this second sentence right at all. Tranquillissimus autem […]

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Virtus post nummos.

Horace, Epistulae 1.1.53-56: “ÅŒ cÄ«|vÄ“s, cÄ«|vÄ“s, quÇ£|rÄ“ndă pÄ•|cÅ«nĭă | prÄ«mum Ä“st; vÄ«rtÅ«s | pōst nÅ«m|mōs!” HÇ£c | JānÅ«s | sÅ«mmÅ­s ăb | Ä«mō prōdŏcÄ•t, | hÇ£c rÄ•cÄ­|nÅ«nt jÅ­vÄ•|nÄ“s dÄ«c|tātă sÄ•|nÄ“squÄ•. “Hey, citizens! Citizens! Seeking money should come first – virtue after dollars!” This is what the Janus teaches from end to end; the young and […]

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Miserrimus omnis saeculi.

Seneca, Controversiae 2.7: Miserrimus omnis sæculi maritus: sic contempta absentia mea etiamnunc iniuriam meam nescirem, si qui fecerat tacere voluisset. I’m the most miserable husband of all time – even now I wouldn’t have known that I’d been wronged in my wretched absence if the man who had done it had wanted to keep quiet. […]

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Geminos filios in ventre.

Plautus, Curculio: GÄ•mÄ­nōs | Ä«n vÄ“n|tre hăbÄ“|rÄ• vÄ­dÄ•|ōr fÄ«|lĭōs. I look like I’m pregnant with twins. No comment.

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Habet pœnam noxium caput.

Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 10.40: “Di in prœlio sunt,” inquit; “habet pœnam noxium caput.“ “The gods are in this battle,” he said. “The guilty head has received its punishment.” It feels righter here to put habet as “has received” here rather than “has”. I have a vague idea that this isn’t the first time I’ve […]

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Bonus et quietus et bonus.

Caesar, in Cicero’s Ad Atticum 10.8b: Postremo quid viro bono et quieto et bono civi magis convenit quam abesse a civilibus controversiis? Finally, what is more appropriate for a good man, a good and quiet citizen, than to absent himself from civil quarrels? Caesar is trying to convince Cicero here not to get involved in […]

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Needlefish in Pliny.

Acus sive belone unus piscium dehiscente propter multitudinem utero parit. The pipefish (acus, or belone) is the one fish that gives birth by its womb splitting open, due to its great number [of young]. The name belone has been observed to refer to both a toothed fish and a toothless one. The toothed fish, namely […]

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