Friday, May 29, 2009

a.d. IV Kal. Iun.


Fortēs fortūna adiuvat.
“Fortune helps the brave.” (Terence, Phormio, 203)

This famous phrase, which features a pun on two similarly sounding words, comes from the Roman playwright Terence.

From Latin for the New Millennium


Level 2 of Latin for the New Millennium will be available at ACL in late June.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

a.d. V Kal. Iun.

Si periculum in cursu feceris, quis sit velocior liquido cognosces.
–Aesop's Fables

From Laura Gibbs' book, Aesop's Fables in Latin.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

a.d. VI Kal. Iun.


Tantae mōlis erat Rōmānam condere gentem!
“It was so much toil to found the Roman race!” (Vergil, Aeneid, Book 1.33)

So exclaims the poet Vergil in the Aeneid. Throughout the epic, he justifies this assertion by describing the troubles the poem’s hero Aeneas meets. Many Romans in Vergil’s time saw the stable government established by Augustus, the first Roman emperor, as the ultimate political achievement—in contrast to the preceding civil wars. Yet Vergil never shrinks from making his readers feel the personal and political sufferings experienced by the Trojan exiles who were believed to have been the ancestors of the historical Romans.

From Latin for the New Millennium

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a.d. VII Kal. Iun.

quid pro quo
Literal translation: something for something
More common meaning: tit for tat
In an English sentence: I hid my friend’s book so, as quid pro quo, she hid my pencil.

Quid pro quo can describe a situation in which one person seeks revenge from another who has harmed him. Here, quid pro quo means “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” The phrase can also refer to a situation in which a kind deed is repaid with kindness.

From Elizabeth Heimbach's book Latin Everywhere, Everyday

Thursday, May 14, 2009

pridie Id. Mai.

metropolis n., pl. metropoles [Gk. mēt(ē)r mother (1); polis city (2): mother-state, mother-city, capital city.] 1. Mother-country. Founding state or city of a colony. 2. A capital. A chief city of a country. 3. A city well-known for a particular activity. Members of the Lagos Butchers Association traveled to Maiduguri, a cattle metropolis, to negotiate for the purchase of cows. 4. A metropolitan see such as that of an archbishop. Cf. métropole.

From Word Dictionary of Foreign Expressions

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

a.d. IV Id. Mai.

Bonis nocet qui malis parcit.
–Aesop's Fables

From Laura Gibbs' book, Aesop's Fables in Latin.

Friday, May 08, 2009

a.d. VIII Id. Mai.


Quidquid id est, timeō Danaōs et dōna ferentēs!
“Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even bringing gifts!” (Vergil, Aeneid, Book 2.49)

This is the exclamation that the poet Vergil places in the mouth of the Trojan priest Laocoön, who tries in vain to dissuade the Trojans from bringing into their city the huge wooden horse left, apparently as a gift, by the departing Greeks.

From Latin for the New Millennium

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Non. Mai.

sui generis
Literal translation: of its own kind
More common meaning: unique
In an English sentence: My dog is of no known breed; he is sui generis.

In Linnaeus’ system of binomial nomenclature, each plant and animal has both a genus and a species name. The Latin word genus means “kind” or “sort,” and sui means “of its own.”

From Elizabeth Heimbach's book Latin Everywhere, Everyday

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

pridie Non. Mai.

hysteron proteron n. [Gk. husteron later, latter (1); proteron former (2): latter former.] 1. Rhetoric. A figure of speech in which the natural, logical, or rational order is reversed; e.g., “They ate and cooked their meal very quickly.” 2. Logic. A fallacy in which what should follow from what is proved is taken as the premise.

From Word Dictionary of Foreign Expressions

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

a.d. III Non. Mai.

Apes omnes, velut agmine facto, in faciem ursi involabant.
–Aesop's Fables

From Laura Gibbs' book, Aesop's Fables in Latin.