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  5. "Paterfamilias matrem servat."

"Paterfamilias matrem servat."

Translation:The head of the house saves the mother.

August 29, 2019



Duolingo translates the verb "servare" always as "to save". But this is its 2nd meaning. Its 1st meaning is "to take care of", "to guard", "to assist", "to look after", and of course "to serve"!


Dare I say... to serve?


Yes, Lewis & Short has “to save, deliver, keep unharmed, preserve, protect”. A bit more flexibility would allow for less awkward translations.


¿Servare = servire?


Ok, I just found that familias is the genitive form of familia in archaic latin, after being perplexed by its declension.


Yes, it is not Pater familiæ.

Edit: According to a grammar that I have just consulted, Pater familiæ is correct too, but it is normally Pater familias or Paterfamilias.


Pater familiae is not a paterfamilias. Not the same meaning.


Pourquoi pas?


The paterfamilias was head of, and had authority over, the whole household, slave and free, in a way totally unlike a "head of household/father of the family" in any modern, English speaking culture. He was the sole owner of any family estate (even adult sons only received an allowance in his life time) and could disown, sell or even legally kill them; the paterfamilias had the right to decide whether a new born child should be raised in the family or exposed.

That being so, I think it would be preferable to leave the word untranslated.


Is 'saves' a good translation? Google offers 'guards' instead which would seem more sensible idea.


So why is 'paterfamilias saves the mother' not accepted here, when elsewhere we have 'paterfamilias has a mother'? Are you just being fickle?


Why not just translate head of house to "father"?


Paterfamilias is not just a father but the eldest person in the household. It can be either father or grandfather.


Good q. The past is a foreign country though... the Familias might not have been a nuclear family, but a broader term to include extended relatives from a particular family. I kinda see Don Corleone for the movie The Godfather as a paterfamilias....


Is patriarch not the correct translation or at least the closest thing we have in English? I just don't accept "head of house" as what you would say in conversational English.


As a native american english speaker, I agree.


They have given an option of using paterfamilias for the translation and yet "The paterfamilias saves the mother" was not accepted...


I had the same problem. Inconsistent.

  • 1749

Same here, reported.


Saves? As in, from drowning? For a rainy day?


I used "the man of the house" as the closest equivalent to English and was marked incorrect.


I think that is because, as explained above, in an English context, a vigorous, working man might be the "man of the house" even though his elderly frail father lived there too. But in Roman times, grandpa (the senior male) was the paterfamilias, no matter how doddery.


Is it just me or is this such an awkward sentence


So, a grandmother cannot be a head of the house, or they also called her "paterfamilias" even she never was a father?


Women were inferior to men in Latin times, and a materfamilias with the same meaning of a paterfamilias was not even a thing that could be imagined.

Paterfamilias: absolute monarch of the family, with right to give life and death. Always a man, the elder living man of the family (if no husband or father, another man of the family, uncle, cousin, like with the islamic "waliy" (male legal tutor for women, considered underraged forever.)


A grandmother couldn't be the head of the family, and even less the paterfamilias equivalent.


Underaged, but under-raged is certainly a possibility too.


I wrote Head of the family. Doesn't it mean the same as Head of the house?


Why is duolingo so insistent on using definite articles? "The paterfamilias saves the mother"? I'm no native English speaker, but couldn't the second article be omitted?

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