Ancient Languages/Possible source of a latim motto
I read all I could about Christopher Marlowe's motto: "quod me nutrit me destruit" and I'm pretty sure it was not created by him.
Do you know the latin origin or could you indicate where I can find some sources to discover the original document?
Thank you very much.
The sentence "Quod me nutrit me destruit” (literally, “What nourishes me destroys me”), which appears in capital letters on a portrait of a young man, that was discovered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, UK, in 1952, is NOT found in ANY classic Latin text and thus has NO classical Latin source.
The man, that a Latin lettering ((ANNO DNI AETATIS SVAE 21 1585)above the motto describes as being aged 21 in 1585, is thought to be Christopher Marlowe who in fact obtained his BA at the college in that year and at that age.
A similar phrase we can read in Shakespeare, "Pericles, Prince of Tyre", Act 2, Scene 2, line 34,a play written some years later, i.e. in 1607-1608, where the female character Thaisa says "Quod me alit, me extinguit"', which is a variant of “Quod me nutrit me destruit”, as they both mean “What nourishes me destroys me” as well as “What feeds me extinguishes me”.
To sum up, there is NO classical Latin source for both “Quod me nutrit me destruit” and “Quod me alit me extinguit” that can have been coined first by Marlowe and later by Shakespeare who both knew Latin which was commonly used at that time by learned persons all over Europe.
Hope this can be helpful to you.
-QUOD = what
-ME = me
-NUTRIT / ALIT = feeds/ nourishes
-DESTRUIT / EXTINGUIT = destroys /extinguishes
For the probable portrait of Marlowe see at: