Latin quotes with translation

Explore well-known and useful Latin quotes, phrases and sayings. In Latin with translation.


Horace photo

„Conquered Greece took captive her savage conqueror and brought her arts into rustic Latium.“
Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio.

—  Horace, book Epistles

Book II, epistle i, lines 156–157
Epistles (c. 20 BC and 14 BC)
Original: (la) Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio.

Ennius photo

„The idle mind knows not what it wants.“
Otioso in otio animus nescit quid velit.

—  Ennius Roman writer -239 - -169 BC

As quoted by Aulus Gellius in Noctes Atticae (Attic Nights), Book XIX, Chapter X
Iphigenia
Original: (la) Otioso in otio animus nescit quid velit.

Robert Burton photo

„The pen worse than the sword.“
Hinc quam sic calamus sævior ense, patet.

—  Robert Burton, book The Anatomy of Melancholy

Section 2, member 4, subsection 4.
The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part I
Original: (la) Hinc quam sic calamus sævior ense, patet.

Hannibal photo

„I will either find a way, or make one.“
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

—  Hannibal military commander of Carthage during the Second Punic War -247 - -183 BC

Latin proverb, most commonly attributed to Hannibal in response to his generals who had declared it impossible to cross the Alps with elephants; English translation as quoted in Salesmanship and Business Efficiency (1922) by James Samuel Knox, p. 27.
Original: (la) Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

Duns Scotus photo

„If all men by nature desire to know, then they desire most of all the greatest knowledge of science. So the Philosopher argues in chap. 2 of his first book of the work [Metaphisics]. And he immediately indicates what the greatest science is, namely the science which is about those things that are most knowable. But there are two senses in which things are said to be maximally knowable: either [1] because they are the first of all things known and without them nothing else can be known; or [2] because they are what are known most certainly. In either way, however, this science is about the most knowable. Therefore, this most of all is a science and, consequently, most desirable…“
sic: si omnes homines natura scire desiderant, ergo maxime scientiam maxime desiderabunt. Ita arguit Philosophus I huius cap. 2. Et ibidem subdit: "quae sit maxime scientia, illa scilicet quae est circa maxime scibilia". Maxime autem dicuntur scibilia dupliciter: uel quia primo omnium sciuntur sine quibus non possunt alia sciri; uel quia sunt certissima cognoscibilia. Utroque autem modo considerat ista scientia maxime scibilia. Haec igitur est maxime scientia, et per consequens maxime desiderabilis.

—  Duns Scotus Scottish Franciscan friar, philosopher and Catholic blessed 1265 - 1308

sic: si omnes homines natura scire desiderant, ergo maxime scientiam maxime desiderabunt. Ita arguit Philosophus I huius cap. 2. Et ibidem subdit: "quae sit maxime scientia, illa scilicet quae est circa maxime scibilia".
Maxime autem dicuntur scibilia dupliciter: uel quia primo omnium sciuntur sine quibus non possunt alia sciri; uel quia sunt certissima cognoscibilia. Utroque autem modo considerat ista scientia maxime scibilia. Haec igitur est maxime scientia, et per consequens maxime desiderabilis.
Quaestiones subtilissimae de metaphysicam Aristotelis, as translated in: William A. Frank, Allan Bernard Wolter (1995) Duns Scotus, metaphysician. p. 18-19
Original: (la) sic: si omnes homines natura scire desiderant, ergo maxime scientiam maxime desiderabunt. Ita arguit Philosophus I huius cap. 2. Et ibidem subdit: "quae sit maxime scientia, illa scilicet quae est circa maxime scibilia". Maxime autem dicuntur scibilia dupliciter: uel quia primo omnium sciuntur sine quibus non possunt alia sciri; uel quia sunt certissima cognoscibilia. Utroque autem modo considerat ista scientia maxime scibilia. Haec igitur est maxime scientia, et per consequens maxime desiderabilis.

Quintilian photo

„For it is feeling and force of imagination that makes us eloquent.“
Pectus est enim quod disertos facit, et vis mentis.

—  Quintilian ancient Roman rhetor 35 - 96

Book X, Chapter VII, 15
De Institutione Oratoria (c. 95 AD)
Original: (la) Pectus est enim quod disertos facit, et vis mentis.

Euclid photo

„There is no royal road to geometry.“
Non est regia ad Geometriam via.

—  Euclid Greek mathematician, inventor of axiomatic geometry -323 - -285 BC

μὴ εἶναι βασιλικὴν ἀτραπὸν ἐπί γεωμετρίαν, Non est regia [inquit Euclides] ad Geometriam via
Reply given when the ruler Ptolemy I Soter asked Euclid if there was a shorter road to learning geometry than through Euclid's Elements.The "Royal Road" was the road built across Anatolia and Persia by Darius I which allowed rapid communication and troop movement, but use of ἀτραπός (rather than ὁδός) conveys the connotation of "short cut".
The Greek is from Proclus (412–485 AD) in Commentary on the First Book of Euclid's Elements, the Latin translation is by Francesco Barozzi, 1560) the English translation follows Glenn R. Morrow (1970), p. 57 http://books.google.com/books?id=JZEHj2fEmqAC&q=royal#v=snippet&q=royal&f=false.
Attributed
Original: (la) Non est regia ad Geometriam via.

Seneca the Younger photo

„Worse than war is the very fear of war.“
peior est bello timor ipse belli.

—  Seneca the Younger, Thyestes

Thyestes, line 572 (Chorus).
Tragedies
Original: (la) peior est bello timor ipse belli.

Seneca the Younger photo

„For no man is free who is a slave to his body.“
Nemo liber est qui corpori servit.

—  Seneca the Younger Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist -4 - 65 BC

Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium (Moral Letters to Lucilius), Letter XCII: On the Happy Life
Original: (la) Nemo liber est qui corpori servit.

Seneca the Younger photo

„It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.“
Non qui parum habet, sed qui plus cupit, pauper est.

—  Seneca the Younger Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist -4 - 65 BC

Original: (la) Non qui parum habet, sed qui plus cupit, pauper est.
Source: Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium (Moral Letters to Lucilius), Letter II: On discursiveness in reading, Line 6.

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Seneca the Younger photo

„If you are wise, mingle these two elements: do not hope without despair, or despair without hope.“
Si sapis, alterum alteri misce: nec speraveris sine desperatione nec desperaveris sine spe.

—  Seneca the Younger Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist -4 - 65 BC

Alternate translation: Hope not without despair, despair not without hope. (translated by Zachariah Rush).
Original: (la) Si sapis, alterum alteri misce: nec speraveris sine desperatione nec desperaveris sine spe.
Source: Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium (Moral Letters to Lucilius), Letter CIV: On Care of Health and Peace of Mind, Line 12

Julius Caesar photo

„There are also animals which are called elks [alces "moose" in Am. Engl.; elk "wapiti"]. The shape of these, and the varied colour of their skins, is much like roes, but in size they surpass them a little and are destitute of horns, and have legs without joints and ligatures; nor do they lie down for the purpose of rest, nor, if they have been thrown down by any accident, can they raise or lift themselves up. Trees serve as beds to them; they lean themselves against them, and thus reclining only slightly, they take their rest; when the huntsmen have discovered from the footsteps of these animals whither they are accustomed to betake themselves, they either undermine all the trees at the roots, or cut into them so far that the upper part of the trees may appear to be left standing. When they have leant upon them, according to their habit, they knock down by their weight the unsupported trees, and fall down themselves along with them.“
Sunt item, quae appellantur alces. Harum est consimilis capris figura et varietas pellium, sed magnitudine paulo antecedunt mutilaeque sunt cornibus et crura sine nodis articulisque habent neque quietis causa procumbunt neque, si quo adflictae casu conciderunt, erigere sese aut sublevare possunt. His sunt arbores pro cubilibus: ad eas se applicant atque ita paulum modo reclinatae quietem capiunt. Quarum ex vestigiis cum est animadversum a venatoribus, quo se recipere consuerint, omnes eo loco aut ab radicibus subruunt aut accidunt arbores, tantum ut summa species earum stantium relinquatur. Huc cum se consuetudine reclinaverunt, infirmas arbores pondere adfligunt atque una ipsae concidunt.

—  Julius Caesar, book Commentarii de Bello Gallico

Book VI
De Bello Gallico
Original: (la) Sunt item, quae appellantur alces. Harum est consimilis capris figura et varietas pellium, sed magnitudine paulo antecedunt mutilaeque sunt cornibus et crura sine nodis articulisque habent neque quietis causa procumbunt neque, si quo adflictae casu conciderunt, erigere sese aut sublevare possunt. His sunt arbores pro cubilibus: ad eas se applicant atque ita paulum modo reclinatae quietem capiunt. Quarum ex vestigiis cum est animadversum a venatoribus, quo se recipere consuerint, omnes eo loco aut ab radicibus subruunt aut accidunt arbores, tantum ut summa species earum stantium relinquatur. Huc cum se consuetudine reclinaverunt, infirmas arbores pondere adfligunt atque una ipsae concidunt.

Virgil photo

„Toil conquered the world, unrelenting toil, and want that pinches when life is hard.“
Labor omnia vicit<!--uicit--> improbus et duris urgens in rebus egestas.

—  Virgil, Georgics

Book I, lines 145–146 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough).
Compare: Labor omnia vincit ("Work conquers all"), the state motto of Oklahoma.
Georgics (29 BC)
Original: (la) Labor omnia vicit<!--uicit-->
improbus et duris urgens in rebus egestas.

Augustus photo

„Behold them, conquerors of the world, the toga-clad race of Romans!“
En Romanos, rerum dominos, gentemque togatam!

—  Augustus founder of Julio-Claudian dynasty and first emperor of the Roman Empire -63 - 14 BC

Said disparagingly of a group of men in cloaks, quoting Virgil's The Aeneid. Augustus allowed only those wearing a toga and no cloak to enter the Forum; in Suetonius, Divus Augustus, paragraph 40. Translation: Robert Graves, 1957.
Original: (la) En Romanos, rerum dominos, gentemque togatam!

Augustus photo

„My dear Tiberius, you must not give way to youthful emotion or take it to heart if anyone speaks ill of me; let us be satisfied if we can make people stop short at unkind words.“
Aetati tuae, mi Tiberi, noli in hac re indulgere et nimium indignari quemquam esse, qui de me male loquatur; satis est enim, si hoc habemus ne quis nobis male facere possit.

—  Augustus founder of Julio-Claudian dynasty and first emperor of the Roman Empire -63 - 14 BC

Suetonius, Divus Augustus, paragraph 51. Translation: Robert Graves, 1957.
Original: (la) Aetati tuae, mi Tiberi, noli in hac re indulgere et nimium indignari quemquam esse, qui de me male loquatur; satis est enim, si hoc habemus ne quis nobis male facere possit.

Augustus photo

„The whole of Italy swore allegiance to me.“
Iuravit in mea verba tota Italia.

—  Augustus, book Res Gestae Divi Augusti

XXV, 3-4. Translation by Thomas Bushnell
Res Gestae Divi Augusti
Original: (la) Iuravit in mea verba tota Italia.

Augustus photo

„Whatever is done well enough is done quickly enough.“
Sat celeriter fieri, quidquid fiat satis bene.

—  Augustus founder of Julio-Claudian dynasty and first emperor of the Roman Empire -63 - 14 BC

In Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, II., 25.
Cf. Shakespeare, Macbeth I. vii, "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly".
Original: (la) Sat celeriter fieri, quidquid fiat satis bene.

Augustus photo

„Goodbye, Livia; remember our marriage!“
Livia, nostri coniugii memor vive, ac vale!

—  Augustus founder of Julio-Claudian dynasty and first emperor of the Roman Empire -63 - 14 BC

Said to his wife Livia on his deathbed; in Suetonius, Divus Augustus, paragraph 99. Translation: Robert Graves, 1957.
Original: (la) Livia, nostri coniugii memor vive, ac vale!

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola photo

„Nor can anyone rightly choose his own doctrine from all, unless he has first made himself familiar with all of them. Moreover, there is in each school something distinctive, which it has not in common with any other.“
Nec potest ex omnibus sibi recte propriam selegisse, qui omnes prius familiariter non agnoverit. Adde quod in una quaque familia est aliquid insigne, quod non sit ei commune cum caeteris.

—  Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, book Oration on the Dignity of Man

30. 196-197
Oration on the Dignity of Man (1496)
Original: (la) Nec potest ex omnibus sibi recte propriam selegisse, qui omnes prius familiariter non agnoverit. Adde quod in una quaque familia est aliquid insigne, quod non sit ei commune cum caeteris.

Marcus Tullius Cicero photo

„To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?“
Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur? ([http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/cicero/orator.shtml#120 120])

—  Marcus Tullius Cicero Roman philosopher and statesman -106 - -43 BC

Variant translation: To be ignorant of the past is to be forever a child.
Chapter XXXIV, section 120
Orator Ad M. Brutum (46 BC)
Original: (la) Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur? ( 120 http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/cicero/orator.shtml#120)
Variant: Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever. For what is the time of a man, except it be interwoven with that memory of ancient things of a superior age?

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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