Latin quotes with translation

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


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.

Seneca the Younger photo

„Virtue alone affords everlasting and peace-giving joy“
Sola virtus praestat gaudium perpetuum, securum; etiam si quid obstat, nubium modo intervenit, quae infra feruntur nec umquam diem vincunt.

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

Letter XXVII
Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium (Moral Letters to Lucilius)
Original: (la) Sola virtus praestat gaudium perpetuum, securum; etiam si quid obstat, nubium modo intervenit, quae infra feruntur nec umquam diem vincunt.
Context: Virtue alone affords everlasting and peace-giving joy; even if some obstacle arise, it is but like an intervening cloud, which floats beneath the sun but never prevails against it.

Marcus Tullius Cicero photo

„The distinguishing property of man is to search for and to follow after truth.“
In primisque hominis est propria veri inquisitio atque investigatio. Itaque cum sumus necessariis negotiis curisque vacui, tum avemus aliquid videre, audire, addiscere cognitionemque rerum aut occultarum aut admirabilium ad beate vivendum necessarian! ducimus. Ex quo intellegitur, quod verum, simplex sincerumque sit, id esse naturae hominis aptissimum. Huic veri videndi cupiditati adiuncta est appetitio quaedam principatus, ut nemini parere animus bene informatus a natura velit nisi praecipienti aut docenti aut utilitatis causa iuste et legitime imperanti; ex quo magnitudo animi existit humanarumque rerum contemptio.

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

Book I, section 13
Variant translation: Above all, the search after truth and its eager pursuit are peculiar to man. And so, when we have leisure from the demands of business cares, we are eager to see, to hear, to learn something new, and we esteem a desire to know.
De Officiis – On Duties (44 BC)
Original: (la) In primisque hominis est propria veri inquisitio atque investigatio. Itaque cum sumus necessariis negotiis curisque vacui, tum avemus aliquid videre, audire, addiscere cognitionemque rerum aut occultarum aut admirabilium ad beate vivendum necessarian! ducimus. Ex quo intellegitur, quod verum, simplex sincerumque sit, id esse naturae hominis aptissimum. Huic veri videndi cupiditati adiuncta est appetitio quaedam principatus, ut nemini parere animus bene informatus a natura velit nisi praecipienti aut docenti aut utilitatis causa iuste et legitime imperanti; ex quo magnitudo animi existit humanarumque rerum contemptio.
Context: The distinguishing property of man is to search for and to follow after truth. Therefore, when relaxed from our necessary cares and concerns, we then covet to see, to hear, and to learn somewhat; and we esteem knowledge of things either obscure or wonderful to be the indispensable means of living happily.* From this we understand that truth, simplicity, and candour, are most agreeable to the nature of mankind. To this passion for discovering truth, is added a desire to direct; for a mind, well formed by nature, is unwilling to obey any man but him who lays down rules and instructions to it, or who, for the general advantage, exercises equitable and lawful government. From this proceeds loftiness of mind, and contempt for worldly interests.

Terence photo

„I am human, I consider nothing human alien to me.“
Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto.

—  Terence, Heauton Timorumenos

Act I, scene 1, line 25 (77).
Variant translations:
I am a human and consider nothing human alien to me.
I am human, I consider nothing human to be alien to me.
I am human, therefore nothing relating to humanity is outside of my concern.
I am a man; I consider nothing human alien to me.
I am a man, I regard nothing that is human alien to me.
I am a man, I count nothing human foreign to me.
Heauton Timorumenos (The Self-Tormentor)
Original: (la) Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto.

Statius photo

„Fear (in times of doubt the worst of prophets) revolves many things.“
Plurima versat, pessimus in dubiis augur, timor.

—  Statius, book Thebaid

Original: (la) Plurima versat,
pessimus in dubiis augur, timor.
Source: Thebaid, Book III, Line 5

Virgil photo

„I have lived
and journeyed through the course assigned by fortune.
And now my Shade will pass, illustrious,
beneath the earth.“

Vixi, et, quem dederat cursum Fortuna, peregi; Et nunc magna mei sub terras ibit Imago.

—  Virgil, Aeneid

Original: (la) Vixi, et, quem dederat cursum Fortuna, peregi;
Et nunc magna mei sub terras ibit Imago.
Source: Aeneid (29–19 BC), Book IV, Lines 653–654 (tr. Allen Mandelbaum)

Roger Bacon photo

„To ask the proper question is half of knowing.“
Prudens quaestio dimidium scientiae.

—  Roger Bacon medieval philosopher and theologian 1220 - 1292

Cited in: LIFE, 8 sept 1958, p. 73
Variant translation: Half of science is asking the right questions.
Original: (la) Prudens quaestio dimidium scientiae.

Marcus Tullius Cicero photo

„We are not born for ourselves alone; a part of us is claimed by our nation, another part by our friends.“
Non nobis solum nati sumus ortusque nostri partem patria vindicat, partem amici.

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

Book I, section 22
De Officiis – On Duties (44 BC)
Original: (la) Non nobis solum nati sumus ortusque nostri partem patria vindicat, partem amici.

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.

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.

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