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Ancient Languages/Just some help with a quote from English to Latin


Hello Maria. I would like your help with a translation of a quote from the Divine Comedy. I need it for family reasons (death in the family ) and I'd like it to be written on a tombstone. Sorry for the macabre nature of the reason. Anyway the quote is the one that Dante said to his mentor : "you taught me how man makes himself eternal; and while I live , my gratitude for that, must always be apparent in my words"

Thank you very much Maria either you can help or not.


first of all I have to point out that a literal tanslation of the English  quote from the Divine Comedy “You taught me how man makes himself eternal; and while I live, my gratitude for that must always be apparent in my words” ( See the original Italian words addressed by Dante to his mentor Brunetto Latini:” m’insegnavate come l’uom s’etterna/ e quant’ io l’abbia in grado, mentr’io vivo / convien che ne la mia lingua si scerna”, Dante, Inferno, canto XV,  85-87 ) would sound not so good in Latin, as every  language has its peculiarities.

That being stated, here’s the Latin translation you are looking for:

“Me quomodo vir se ipsum aeternum faciat docuisti  semperque, dum vivam, verbis factisque  gratus ero tibi”.
(literally, “You taught me how man makes himself eternal and, while I live, I shall  always be grateful to you in words and deeds”).

Read more below.

Hope this can be helpful to you in this sad circumstance.


Note that in “You taught me how man makes himself eternal and,  while I live,  I shall  always be grateful to you in words and deeds”:

-You taught = DOCUISTI (2nd person singular, past tense of DOCEO)
-me =ME (1st person pronoun, accusative case depending on DOCUISTI)
-man = VIR (nominative case, 2nd declension)
-makes = FACIAT (3rd person singular, present subjunctive of FACIO)
-himself = SE IPSUM (accusative masculine)
-eternal =AETERNUM (accusative masculine of the adjective AETERNUS agreeing with SE IPSUM)
-and always = SEMPERQUE (SEMPER +the enclitic QUE)
-while =DUM
-I live =VIVAM (1st person singular, future of VIVO)
-I shall .. be = ERO (1st person singular,future of SUM)
-grateful= GRATUS (nominative)
-to you = TIBI (2nd person pronoun, dative case)
-in words = VERBIS (ablative plural of VERBUM)
-and deeds =FACTISQUE (ablative plural of FACTUM + the enclitic conjunction QUE)

As you can see, Latin word order can be different from English for Latin is an inflected language where grammatical relationships are indicated by the ending, not by the order of the words.

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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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