Latin quotes with translation

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


William of Ockham photo

„It is pointless to do with more what can be done with fewer.“
Frustra fit per plura, quod potest fieri per pauciora.

—  William of Ockham medieval philosopher and theologian 1287 - 1347
Summa Totius Logicae, i. 12, cited in "Ockham's Razor" by Paul Newall at Galilean Library (25 June 2005) http://www.galilean-library.org/manuscript.php?postid=43832

Dante Alighieri photo

„Ye keep your watch in the eternal day.“
Voi vigilate ne l'etterno die.

—  Dante Alighieri Italian poet 1265 - 1321
Canto XXX, line 103 (tr. Longfellow).

Advertisement
 Tacitus photo

„To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes“
Scutum reliquisse praecipuum flagitium, nec aut sacris adesse aut concilium inire ignominioso fas; multique superstites bellorum infamiam laqueo finierunt.

—  Tacitus Roman senator and historian 58 - 120
Context: To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes; nor may a man thus disgraced be present at the sacred rites, or enter their council; many, indeed, after escaping from battle, have ended their infamy with the halter. Chapter 6

 Horace photo

„I am not bound over to swear allegiance to any master; where the storm drives me I turn in for shelter.“
Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri, quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes.

—  Horace Roman lyric poet -65 - -8 BC
Book I, epistle i, line 14

Julius Caesar photo

„I prefer nothing but that they act like themselves, and I like myself.“
Nihil enim malo quam et me mei similem esse et illos sui.

—  Julius Caesar Roman politician and general -100 - -44 BC
Reported by Marcus Tullius Cicero in a letter to Atticus. Variant translations: There is nothing I like better than that I should be true to myself and they to themselves.

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola photo

„If you see a man dedicated to his stomach, crawling on the ground, you see a plant and not a man; or if you see a man bedazzled by the empty forms of the imagination, as by the wiles of Calypso, and through their alluring solicitations made a slave to his own senses, you see a brute and not a man. If, however, you see a philosopher, judging and distinguishing all things according to the rule of reason, him shall you hold in veneration, for he is a creature of heaven and not of earth; if, finally, a pure contemplator, unmindful of the body, wholly withdrawn into the inner chambers of the mind, here indeed is neither a creature of earth nor a heavenly creature, but some higher divinity, clothed in human flesh.“
Si quem enim videris deditum ventri, humi serpentem hominem, frutex est, non homo, quem vides; si quem in fantasiae quasi Calipsus vanis praestigiis cecucientem et subscalpenti delinitum illecebra sensibus mancipatum, brutum est, non homo, quem vides. Si recta philosophum ratione omnia discernentem, hunc venereris; caeleste est animal, non terrenum. Si purum contemplatorem corporis nescium, in penetralia mentis relegatum, hic non terrenum, non caeleste animal: hic augustius est numen humana carne circumvestitum.

—  Giovanni Pico della Mirandola humanist and philosopher from Italy 1463 - 1494
8. 40-42; translation by A. Robert Caponigri

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 Roman politician and general -100 - -44 BC
Book VI

Julius Caesar photo

„Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest/strongest.“
Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae.

—  Julius Caesar Roman politician and general -100 - -44 BC
Book I, Ch. 1

Advertisement
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola photo

„This much will I say for myself — and on this point I do not blush for praising myself — that I have never philosophized save for the sake of philosophy, nor have I ever desired or hoped to secure from my studies and my laborious researches any profit or fruit save cultivation of mind and knowledge of the truth — things I esteem more and more with the passage of time. I have also been so avid for this knowledge and so enamored of it that I have set aside all private and public concerns to devote myself completely to contemplation; and from it no calumny of jealous persons, nor any invective from enemies of wisdom has ever been able to detach me.“
Dabo hoc mihi, et me ipsum hac ex parte laudare nihil erubescam, me numquam alia de causa philosophatum nisi ut philosopharer, nec ex studiis meis, ex meis lucubrationibus, mercedem ullam aut fructum vel sperasse alium vel quesiisse, quam animi cultum et a me semper plurimum desideratae veritatis cognitionem. Cuius ita cupidus semper et amantissimus fui ut, relicta omni privatarum et publicarum rerum cura, contemplandi ocio totum me tradiderim; a quo nullae invidorum obtrectationes, nulla hostium sapientiae maledicta, vel potuerunt ante hac, vel in posterum me deterrere poterunt.

—  Giovanni Pico della Mirandola humanist and philosopher from Italy 1463 - 1494
25. 158-159; translation by A. Robert Caponigri

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius photo

„In every adversity of fortune, to have been happy is the most unhappy kind of misfortune.“
Nam in omni adversitate fortunae infelicissimum est genus infortunii fuisse felicem.

—  Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius philosopher of the early 6th century 480
Prose IV, line 2

 Persius photo

„None, none descends into himself, to find
The secret imperfections of his mind.“

Ut nemo in sese tentat descendere! nemo! Sed praecedenti spectatur mantica tergo.

—  Persius ancient latin poet 34 - 62
Satire IV, line 23 (translated by John Dryden).

 Sueton photo

„The method of execution he preferred was to inflict numerous small wounds; and his familiar order: "Make him feel that he is dying!" soon became proverbial.“
Non temere in quemquam nisi crebris et minutis ictibus animadverti passus est, perpetuo notoque iam praecepto: "Ita feri ut se mori sentiat."

—  Sueton Roman historian 70 - 126
Ch. 30

Advertisement
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus photo

„The courage of a soldier is heightened by his knowledge of his profession,“
Scientia enim rei bellicae dimicandi nutrit audaciam: nemo facere metuit quod se bene didicisse confidit.

—  Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus writer of the Later Roman Empire 400 - 450
Context: The courage of a soldier is heightened by his knowledge of his profession, and he only wants an opportunity to execute what he is convinced he has been perfectly taught. (Book 1)

 Tertullian photo

„It is to be believed because it is absurd.“
Prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est.

—  Tertullian Christian theologian 155 - 230
Variant translations It is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. It is is entirely credible, because it is inept. It is certain because it is impossible. De Carne Christi 5.4 Often paraphrased or misquoted as "Credo quia absurdum." Also paraphrased as "It is so extraordinary that it must be true." Two lines from De Carne Christi have often become conflated into the statement: "Credo quia impossibile" (I believe it because it is impossible), which can be perceived as a distortion of the actual arguments that Tertullian was making.

 Galén photo

„The best physician is also a philosopher.“
Quod optimus medicus sit quoque philosophus.

—  Galén Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher 129 - 216
Title of a treatise; cited from Judith Perkins The Suffering Self (London: Routledge, 1995) p. 154.

 Statius photo

„Whoever worships the gods in good faith, loves their priests too.“
Qui bona fide deos colit amat et sacerdotes.

—  Statius Roman poet of the 1st century AD (Silver Age of Latin literature) 40 - 96
Preface, line 10

Next
Today anniversaries
Miguel Sousa Tavares photo
Miguel Sousa Tavares2
Portuguese writer 1952
George Orwell photo
George Orwell434
English author and journalist 1903 - 1950
Michael Jackson photo
Michael Jackson97
American singer, songwriter and dancer 1958 - 2009
Michel Foucault photo
Michel Foucault121
French philosopher 1926 - 1984
Another 75 today anniversaries