Si annis multis vixerit …

Si annis multis vixerit homo, et in his omnibus laetatus fuerit, meminisse debet tenebrosi temporis, et dierum multorum, qui cum venerint, vanitatis arguentur praeterita.

Powerful stuff indeed and well worth remembering.

I will, all things being equal, parse it tomorrow as an interesting exercise for myself and maybe of some passing interest to you, dear reader of these pages.



The meaning of ‘Terra es, terram ibis’ in English

operaSup doods?

Here is a bit of Latin for you on a Monday morning. I always assumed that

Terra es, terram ibis

itself a shortening for :

Terra es et in terram ibis

and translated as

“You are earth and to the earth you will return” or “Dust you are and dust you will be”

although literally meaning “you are earth and into (the) earth you will go”, came from the Vulgate (the Latin bible).

I looked online and discovered that it came from Genesis (3:19) (powerful stuff), or so the entire internet told me.

I don’t trust the internet, and I have a copy of the vulgate, so I checked.

Genesis 3:19 is actually written:

… quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

Well, the sense is the same, but  ‘terra es et in terram ibis’ is most definitely a newer and more catchy version.

In case you are wondering:

pulvis: dust, powder

revertere: to revert.

By the way,

Terra es, terram ibis

is not only a shortening but grammatically incorrect (if such things bother your inner pedant).


is the accusative form of


It is in the accusative form, as it is governed by the preposition ‘in‘  which in Latin takes the accusative when it has the meaning ‘into’.

As the evenings draw in, I’m thinking about adding more to the Latin sections on SurfaceLanguages.



No peace for the wicked

So there I was, this morning, lying in bed about to get up and take my dog for a walk in the rain and I thought ‘bloody hell, no peace for the wicked’.

And then, I wondered how to say this in Latin and where it came from.

It turns out that the phrase originated in the Book of Isaiah verses 48:22 or XLVIII in my Vulgate. XLVIII is way more classy, but I digress.

Non est pax impiis dicit Dominus

In fact, impiis is I think the dative plural impius ‘wicked’ giving a more literal translation of ‘no peace to the wicked’. Impius also has or had the meaning ‘without reverence of respect for God’.

Interestingly (or perhaps not depending on who you are and what you fret about), the relevant  wiki entry gives a different translation for Isaiah 57:21 (or better written LVII). The Latin for both XLVIII:22 and LVII:21 according to my copy of the Vulgate (which predates Wiki by around 150 years) is identical.

There are of course different translations/versions of the bible, but the Wiki entry doesn’t indicate the version to which it is referring. The moral of the story is of course, don’t take Wiki entries on faith, and refer to originals where you can.

For what it’s worth, I ended up absolutely drenched after walking said hound, and he ended up with wet paws and vomiting on the carpet.