Between May and October 1648 a series of peace treaties were signed that put and end to the 30 years war. The peace has been known as the Peace of Westphalia. As Count Johan Oxenstierna was about to travel to Münster to negotiate this as head of the Swedish delegation, he was cheered on by his father, the Lord High Chancellor of Sweden Axel Oxenstierna, with these following words (or so it is said): “An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?” i.e. “Do you not know, my son with how little wisdom the world is governed?”
Latin quote about stupidity.
Cicero, the great orator, wrote: “Cuiusvis hominis est errare; nullius nisi insipientis preservare in errore.”
In English: “Anyone can make a mistake, but only a fool persists in error.”
Latin quote about books
This quote: “Non refert quam multos libros, sed quam bonos habeas” comes from Seneca, Epistulae XIV.
Latin quote about fire.
The 18th of July 64 A.D. the great fire of Rome began. It raged for days and destroyed large parts of Rome. Despite sending for help and food, Emperor Nero was blamed for the fire. Tacitus even wrote: “pervaserat rumor ipso tempore flagrantis urbis inisse eum domesticam scaenam et cecinisse Troianum excidium, praesentia mala vetustis cladibus adsimulantem.“
i.e. in English: “…report had spread that, at the very moment when Rome was aflame, he (Nero) had mounted his private stage, and, typifying the ills of the present by the calamities of the past, had sung the destruction of Troy.”
Latin quote about victory.
This is probably one of the most famous Latin quotes of all time. It is attributed to Gaius Julius Caesar who supposedly wrote “Veni, vidi, vici.” in a letter to the senate after a swift victory in his war against Pharnaces II of Pontus.
Latin quote about virtue and fearlessness.
King John III, or rather Johan III, of Sweden had three Latin mottoes. One of them was: “Bene faciendo neminem timemus.” which roughly translates into: “By doing good, we fear nothing.”
Latin quote about nature.
“Natura non facit saltus” or “Nature does not make jumps” is a quote from Carl von Linné’s (or Carolus Linnaeus) important work Philosophia Botanica.
Latin quote about freedom.
The 15th of June 1215 King John Lackland (for fans of Robin Hood, more known as Prince John) signed Magna Carta, a document that has inspired the Constitutions of many nations as well as UN’s declaration of human rights. "Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut disseisiatur, aut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum vel per legem terre."
English: "No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land."
Latin quotes about wisdom.
“Columna Regni Sapienta” was one of the mottoes of queen Christina of Sweden (reign 1632-1654).
The first letter in each word of the motto corresponds to the initials of her Latin name Christina Regina Suetiae.
Latin quote about learning.
This quote about learning and teaching is from Seneca the Younger’s Letters to Lucius,book 1, letter 7.
“Homines dum docent discunt.”
English: “People learn while they teach.”
Latin quotes about Rome.
According to legend, Rome was founded April 21, 753 B.C. In Livy's words this is what happened:
"Vulgatior fama est ludibrio fratris Remum novos transiluisse muros; inde ab irato Romulo, cum verbis quoque increpitans adiecisset 'sic deinde, quicumque alius transiliet moenia mea,' interfectum. Ita solus potitus imperio Romulus; condita urbs conditoris nomine appellata."
English translation: "The commoner story is that Remus leaped over the new walls in mockery of his brother, whereupon Romulus in great anger slew him, and in menacing wise added these words withal, 'So perish whoever else shall leap over my walls!' Thus Romulus acquired sole power, and the city, thus founded, was called by its founder’s name."
Latin quotes about peace.
From Ovids Metamorphoses we find this lovely quote about peace (and hares, fish and birds):
"Tunc et aves tutae movere per aera pennas,
et lepus inpavidus mediis erravit in arvis,
nec sua credulitas piscem suspenderat hamo:
cuncta sine insidiis nullamque timentia fraudem
plenaque pacis erant."
English: "Then birds plied their wings in safety through the heaven, and the hare loitered all unafraid in the tilled fields, nor did its own guilelessness hang the fish upon the hook. All things were free from treacherous snares, fearing no guile and full of peace."
Quotes about life.
This is Renatus Cartesius, or René Descartes as he was called in his mother tongue, most famous line:
"Cogito, ergo sum"
In English: "I think, therefore I am"
He first formulated the thought in French, as "Je pense, donc je suis."
Latin quotes about witches.
In Historia de gentribus Septentrionalis, Olaus Magnus gives us this quote about Nordic witches and thier yearly trip to Blåkulla: "In eo monte cetris annis temporibus dicitur esse conventus aquilonarium maleficarum, ut examinent praestigia sua. Tardius ministerio daemonum accedens, dira afficitur correptione."
English: "It is said that Nordic witches, at certain times of the year, gather on this mountain to test their sorcery. Whoever is late to this demons' service, suffers a horrible punishment."
Latin quotes about God.
In a letter, St. Patrick himself wrote: "Si dignus sum, uiuo Deo meo docere gentes etsi contempnor aliquibus."
English: "I live for my God, to teach these peoples, even if I am despided by some."
Famous last words.
the 15th of march 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was murdered. According to Suetonius these were his last words, spoken to Brutus:
"καὶ σὺ, τέκνον"
English translation: "You too, my child?"
Latin quote from Julius Caesar about casting the die.
This most famous of quotes was uttered by Julius Caesar the 10th of January 49 B.C. as he was about to cross the Rubicon. You can read all about it in this article.
English: "Take we the course which the signs of the gods and the false dealing of our foes point out. The die is cast."
Latin quote about life and history.
This quote from Cicero's Orator, is about life and the importance of knowing your history. The quote in Latin reads: "Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?"
The English translation is as follows: "To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?"
Latin quotes about history and memory
This famous Latin quote is from Virgil's Aeneid 1.609 and is about memory and history: "Semper honos nomenque tuum laudesque manebunt."
English translation: "ever shall your honour, your name, and your praises abide."
Latin quotes about Erasmus
This Latin quote is about the eternal fame due to Erasmus and goes: Latin: "Tum Desiderii cessabit nomen Erasmi, cum Rhenus nullas siccus habebit aquas."
English translation: "Only then will the name Erasmus cease to be when the Rhine is dry and has no water."
Latin quotes about students and learning
This Latin quote from Jacobus Pontanus about learning shows us that things has been the same throughout history when it comes to students: "Discipuli aliud agunt, pingunt animalia, equites, libellos ineptos legunt, chartas et scamna conscindunt."
English translation: "Students are distracted: they paint animals, knights, they read silly books and they make cuts into their paper and their desks."
Latin quotes about fear and tyranny
"Dum omnia timent nihil conantur" is a Latin quote from Quintilianus work Institutio Oratoria 2.4. It is a quote about fear and tyranny.
English translation: "While fear everything, they try nothing."
Latin quotes about language and knowledge
From Erasmus' Ratio Studii we get this quote about languages: "Cum res non nisi per uocum notas cognoscantur, qui sermonis uim non calleat, is passim in rerum quoque iudicio caecutiat, hallucinetur deliret necesse est."
English translation: "Since things can only be known by the signs of words, someone who hasn't mastered the meaning of language, will by necessity be blind, err, and rave in the judgement of things."
Latin quotes about virtue
A quote from Cicero about hearing, reputation and virtue: "Surdaster erat M. Crassus, sed illud peius quod male audiebat."
English translation: "Marcus Crassus was half-deaf; still he suffered another worse annoyance, in hearing himself spoken ill of."
Latin joke - a quote from Diogenes Laertius
This Latin joke goes like this: "Animadvertens quendam imperite iaculantem, proxime scopum consedit. Cur id faceret interrogantibus, 'Ne forte,' Inquit, 'me feriat.'". (Diogenes Laertius, 6.68.)
English translation: "Noticing that a man was throwing the javelin without skill, he sat down next to the target. To the people asking why he did that he answered 'So that he won't hit me.'"