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we are all made of dust and shadows comment your favorite latin phrase and its meaning

March 21, 2020



I am currently reading Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata to continue learning Latin after finishing the tree on here, and found this one really funny for some reason:

"Quī volare vult neque potest, ad terram cadit."
"He who wants to fly and cannot, falls to the ground."

So that is currently my favorite one.


Sunt lacrimae rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt. (Vergil, Aeneid I. 462) It's completely untranslatable, but means something like: "Here is felt the sadness of human affairs; and the facts of human life touch their minds." Aeneas has just seen the scenes of the Trojan War--the sufferings of his own people--depicted on the walls of the temple of Juno being built in the new city of Carthage. This reassures him about the kind of people who live there, and the sort of reception they'll get: these people must be kind and welcoming, if they appreciate the sorrow and pity of Troy.

C. S. Lewis translated: "Life has its tears and men's mortality its sting."

Allen Mandelbaum: "there are tears for passing things; here, too, / things mortal touch the mind."

You get the idea!


Hic sunt dracones. - Here be dragons. (Used on old maps (or at least on one surviving old map) to denote unexplored territory.)


Thank you very much! You're right - there is unfortunalely only one surviving old map with the text HIC SUNT DRACONES.
It's a text on the famous Hunt–Lenox Globe.



Corruptio optimi, pessima

The best, when corrupts, becomes the worst.

In Spanish = La corrupción de lo mejor se vuelve lo peor.


"Intus omnia dissimilia sint, Frons populo nostra conveniat"

Inside, may everything be different, Outside, let's align with our people. -Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, about the best behavior of the philosopher


I love Seneca letters. They are full of wisdom.


Lingua mortua lingua optima. - It's better not to translate that.


Non odium veniunt ex religione, id est metu

Hate doesn't come from religon, it comes from fear.

-Sana, SKAM

(the show is a Norwegian show, but I translated it into Latin.)


Should it perhaps be: Odium non ex religione sed ex metu venit. (?)

Since odium (hate) is a singular noun, it needs a 3rd person singular verb (venit , not veniunt = "they come").

I put in the word sed (but); if that's not appropriate, leave out sed , but id est (that is) doesn't seem to fit in your quotation.


Funny that Sana says that


Timor mortis conturbat me. -- Fear of death disturbs me.

I think this is really Vulgar Latin, or possibly Late Latin, as I got it from a poem written by a Scotsman in the 15th century. But it's Latin nonetheless. Also, to me it means the fear of death that others have disturbs me.


"Nune est bibendum, nune pede libero pulsanda tellus, bibere humanum est ergo bibamus." "We must drink now, and stamp the ground with lively feet, and to drink is to be human, therefore let us drink."

Most of the phrase is referenced from The Works of Horace, Circa 1858.


Liber primus, 37

Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero
Pulsanda tellus,
nunc Saliaribus
Ornare pulvinar deorum
Tempus erat dapibus, sodales.

Antehac nefas depromere Caecubum (5)
Cellis avitis, dum Capitolio
Regina dementis ruinas
Funus et imperio parabat

Contaminato cum grege turpium
Morbo virorum, quidlibet inpotens (10)
Sperare fortunaque dulci
Ebria. Sed minuit furorem

Vix una sospes navis ab ignibus,
Mentemque lymphatam Mareotico
Redegit in veros timores (15)
Caesar, ab Italia volantem

Remis adurgens, accipiter velut
Mollis columbas, aut leporem citus
Venator in campis nivalis
Haemoniae, daret ut catenis (20)

Fatale monstrum. Quae generosius
Perire quaerens, nec muliebriter
Expavit ensem nec latentis
Classe cita reparavit oras.

Ausa et iacentem visere regiam (25)
Voltu sereno, fortis et asperas
Tractare serpentes, ut atrum
Corpore conbiberet venenum,

Deliberata morte ferocior:
Saevis Liburnis scilicet invidens (30)
Privata deduci superbo
Non humilis mulier triumpho.

Bibere humanum est, ergo bibamus.
I think that's an inscription in the Nuremberg
Ratskeller (rathskeller), a well-known
restaurant there. Sorry, I'm not really sure.


@Decennio. - Nunc has to be the right word here and now. Correction, please.

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