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Hi there Maria,

I was hoping that you would be able to directly translate the "You must reach the limits of virtue before you cross the border of death." to Ancient Greek. It is a slightly modified version of Tyrtaeus' famous Spartan quote and I was hoping that it could be accurately translated!

Thank you very much,
Antonius

Answer
Hello,

I could certainly translate the sentence “You must reach the limits of virtue before you cross the border of death”, which is an approximate  adaptation of Tyrtaeus' quote, but I think that a  mere translation would be in some way a kind of offense to the original Tyrtaeus' quote that reads as follows:

Πρὶν ἀρετῆς πελάσαι τέρμασιν ἢ θανάτου.
(literally,“Come nigh the bounds of virtue before that [you reach] those of death”).

Please note that such a Tyrtaeus' fragment, which is quoted in Plutarch, De Stoicorum repugnantiis (On Stoic Self-Contradictions) that is one of the section of Plutarch's Moralia, i.e. “Matters relating to customs and mores” written by the 1st-century AD Greek scholar Plutarch of Chaeronea  as an eclectic collection of 78 essays on customs and mores, just means:
“Come nigh the bounds of virtue before that [you reach] those of death”, loosely translatable as “You must reach the limits of virtue before you cross the border of death”.

Also note that:

-Πρὶν (conjunction) = before

-ἀρετῆς (genitive singular of the feminine noun ἁρετή, 1st.declension) = of virtue

-πελάσαι (2nd person singular, aorist imperative, middle voice of the verb πελάω, poetic form for πελάζω. This verb takes the dative case τέρμασιν) = come nigh/approach

-τέρμασιν (dative plural of the neuter noun τέρμα, 3rd.declension)= the bounds/limits/borders

-ἢ (conjunction) = that [you reach those]

-θανάτου (genitive singular of the masculine noun θάνατος, 2nd.declension)= of death.

Lastly I have to tell you that Πρὶν ἀρετῆς πελάσαι τέρμασιν ἢ θανάτου transliterates as: "Prin aretês pelásai térmasi he thanátou".

Hope this can be helpful to you.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

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