You are here:

Ancient Languages/Pupilius Syrus Maxim 571

Advertisement


Question
I am looking for the actual Latin used by Pubilius Syrus in his Maxin 571 in his "Sentences". I've attempted to use a Latin text of Sentences and google translate to find it, but had no luck. I find the quote attributed often, but not the actual Latin.  Thanks.

Answer
Hello,

I am sorry, but I have to tell you that in Publilius Syrus Sententiae, i.e. in the Latin text I’ve read in full, there is no maxim that corresponds exactly to the English phrase "It is only the ignorant who despise education", whereas there are many aphorisms that could somehow have suggested such a translation.

See for example :

-“Deliberando discitur sapientia”( We become wise  by thinking)
-“Minus saepe pecces, si scias quod nescias” (you would  often err less, if you knew how much you do not know).
-“Non potest non sapere, qui se stultum intellegit”(He must have wit who understands he is fool).
-"Nisi per te sapias, frustra sapientem audias"(Unless you grow wise of yourself, you will listen in vain to the wise).
Etc.

In short, I have to point out that it often occurs that English translations are not true translations, but  simply adaptations of  some quotations from Latin or Greek authors.

Lastly, I have to tell you that “ Stulti tantum educationem contemnunt” would have been that  Publilius Syrus  maxim translated as “It is only the ignorant who despise education”, if  Publilius Syrus (flourished in the 1st century BC ) had really written such a maxim 571, just as it has been translated into English.

Note that STULTI (subject in the nominative plural) means “the ignorant”, TANTUM (adverb)  means “only”, EDUCATIONEM (direct object, accusative of EDUCATIO, 3rd.declension) means “education”, CONTEMNUNT (3rd.person plural, present indicative of CONTEMNO, I despise) means “despise”.


To conclude, the true maxim 571 reads as follows:"Nusquam melius morimur homines quam ubi libenter viximus"(Nowhere do we men die better than where we have lived willingly), though the numbers are often uncertain, since in the course of time Publilius Syrus collection was interpolated with sentences drawn from other writers.

Best regards,
Maria

Ancient Languages

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

I am an expert in Latin & Ancient Greek Language and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

Education/Credentials
I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.