Ancient Languages/Proverb


Dear Maria,

Please explain the meaning of the proverb.

Quos vult sors ditat, et quos vult sub pede tritat.

And what's the root of 'tritat'?

Thank you.


Dear John,

The proverb with rhyme “Quos vult sors ditat, quos non vult, sub pede tritat”, which is the first line  of “O Fortuna levis”, a song that belongs to the “Carmina Burana”, a collection of Latin songs which date back to the 13th.century  and are obviously written in Medieval Latin, not in Classical Latin, literally means:
”Fortune enriches those whom she wants, those whom she  does not want she grinds under her foot ”, i.e. “Fortune enriches those whom she wants to enrich; the others she grinds under her foot” as well as “Fortune favours those whom she loves and  tramples those whom she  does not love”.

As for  “tritat”, whose root is the classical Latin verb “tero” (I grind/ I triturate), it does not exist in classical Latin and is, in fact, a  late Latin form.

Read more below.

Best regards,

Note that:

-Quos = those whom
-vult =she wants
-sors =fortune
-ditat = enriches
-quos = those whom
-non vult =she does not want
-sub pede  = under her foot
-tritat = she grinds

The Latinized form “Carmina Burana” (literally, "Songs of Beuern")  derives from the German Beuern, i.e. from the Benedictine abbey of  Benediktbeuern, a village in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps about thirty miles south of Munich, Germany.
It takes its full name from a Benedictine monastery founded there in 733.
When the Bavarian monasteries were secularized in 1803, the contents of their libraries went to the Court Library in Munich, where in 1847, Johann Andreas Schmeller, the Court Librarian, published a modern edition of the most remarkable of these acquisitions, an ample and richly illuminated parchment manuscript of poems, most in Latin.
Also, Schmeller invented the Latinized title 'Carmina Burana' for his edition.  
Selections from the medieval 'Carmina Burana' [perhaps the most important source for Medieval Latin poetry of the 12th-Century goliardic repertory] were set to music by the German composer Carl Orff ( 1895 -1982) as a work, of the same name, for large orchestra, chorus, and solo vocalists.

Ancient Languages

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




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


Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

This expert accepts donations:

©2017 All rights reserved.