Latin quotes with translation

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


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.

Virgil photo

„Do the gods light this fire in our hearts
or does each man's mad desire become his god?“

Dine hunc ardorem mentibus addunt, Euryale, an sua cuique deus fit dira cupido?

—  Virgil, Aeneid

Original: (la) Dine hunc ardorem mentibus addunt,
Euryale, an sua cuique deus fit dira cupido?
Source: Aeneid (29–19 BC), Book IX, Lines 184–185 (tr. Fagles)

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.

Marcus Annaeus Seneca photo

„All things Death claims. To perish is not doom, but law.“
Omnia mors poscit. Lex est, non poena, perire.

—  Marcus Annaeus Seneca Roman scholar -54 - 39 BC

From Epigrammata: De Qualitate Temporis 7, 7 as quoted in L. De Mauri, Angelo Paredi, Gabriele Nepi, 5000 proverbi e motti latini https://books.google.gr/books?id=hjiMpXCMCvsC&printsec=, Hoepli Editore, 1995, p. 384 and Hubertus Kudla, Lexikon der lateinischen Zitate https://books.google.gr/books?id=2Vtf_GVrdbgC&dq=, C. H. Beck, 2007, p. 416. The full text can be found in Anthologia Latina I, fasc. 1 (Walter de Gruyter, 1982) https://books.google.gr/books?id=PHWq0avQcGIC&pg=, ed. by D. R. Shackleton Bailey, p. 164. Harold Edgeworth Butler ( Post-Augustan Poetry: From Seneca to Juvenal https://books.google.gr/books?id=2gR48lrVJ-cC&dq=, Library of Alexandria, 1969, ch. 2, sec. 2) attributes De Qualitate Temporis to Seneca the Younger.
Misattributed
Original: (la) Omnia mors poscit. Lex est, non poena, perire.

Marcus Annaeus Seneca photo

„It is wrong not to give a hand to the fallen; this law is universal to the whole human race.“
Iniquum est conlapsis manum non porrigere; commune hoc ius generis humani est.

—  Marcus Annaeus Seneca Roman scholar -54 - 39 BC

Book I, Chapter I; slightly modified translation from Norman T. Pratt Seneca's Drama (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983) p. 140
Controversiae
Original: (la) Iniquum est conlapsis manum non porrigere; commune hoc ius generis humani est.

Marcus Annaeus Seneca photo

„Let us live – we must die.“
Vivamus, moriendum est.

—  Marcus Annaeus Seneca Roman scholar -54 - 39 BC

Book II, Chapter VI; translation from Michael Winterbottom, Declamations of the Elder Seneca (London: Heinemann, 1974) vol. 1 p. 349
Some editions of Seneca prefer the reading Bibamus, moriendum est (Let us drink – we must die).
Controversiae
Original: (la) Vivamus, moriendum est.

Juvenal photo

„It is difficult not to write satire.“
Difficile est saturam non scribere.

—  Juvenal, book Satires

I, line 30.
Satires, Satire I
Original: (la) Difficile est saturam non scribere.

Isaac Newton photo

„Plato is my friend — Aristotle is my friend — but my greatest friend is truth.“
Amicus Plato — amicus Aristoteles — magis amica veritas

—  Isaac Newton British physicist and mathematician and founder of modern classical physics 1643 - 1727

These are notes in Latin that Newton wrote to himself that he titled: Quaestiones Quaedam Philosophicae [Certain Philosophical Questions] (c. 1664)
Variant translations: Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my best friend is truth.
Plato is my friend — Aristotle is my friend — truth is a greater friend.
This is a variation on a much older adage, which Roger Bacon attributed to Aristotle: Amicus Plato sed magis amica veritas. Bacon was perhaps paraphrasing a statement in the Nicomachean Ethics: Where both are friends, it is right to prefer truth.
Original: (la) Amicus Plato — amicus Aristoteles — magis amica veritas

Virgil photo

„Even here, merit will have its true reward…
even here, the world is a world of tears
and the burdens of mortality touch the heart.“

Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi, Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.

—  Virgil, Aeneid

Original: (la) Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi,
Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.
Source: Aeneid (29–19 BC), Book I, Lines 461–462 (tr. Robert Fagles)

Cassiodorus photo

„Poverty is the mother of crime.“
Mater criminum necessitas tollitur.

—  Cassiodorus, Variae

Bk. 9, no. 13; translation from S. Giora Shoham and Gill Sher (eds.) The Many Faces of Crime and Deviance (White Plains, N.Y.: Sheridan House, 1983) p. 32.
Variae
Original: (la) Mater criminum necessitas tollitur.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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