You are here:

Greek/Translation for tattoo


I am getting a tattoo in memory of my father who was a great military leader.  He always loved the Spartans and how they trained their youth to become great leaders.  I was wondering if you could give me the translation for the words "live to lead" and "lift first, set down last".  I know you specialize in Greek as a whole but if you could give me the translation into the Greek that was spoken by the Spartans around the time of the Battle of Thermopylae it would mean the world to me.  Hope to hear from you very soon.

Thank you so much for your time.

Hello Jake,

thank you for your inquiry. In short phrases like those, one cannot actually observe elements of the Spartan dialect, except of that -a- in the place of -e-. So, many of them would be almost the same in Doric (Spartan), as in Attic (Athenian) Greek. Please, find the sentences below:

-live to lead (military meaning): ζῆν ὑπὲρ τοῦ στραταγεῖν / ΖΗΝ ΥΠΕΡ ΤΟΥ ΣΤΡΑΤΑΓΕΙΝ
-live to lead (folk, people - political meaning): ζῆν ὑπὲρ τοῦ δαμαγωγεῖν / ΖΗΝ ΥΠΕΡ ΤΟΥ ΔΑΜΑΓΩΓΕΙΝ

-lift first, set down last:
πρῶτον ἐπαίρειν, ὕστερον καθιέναι / ΠΡΩΤΟΝ ΕΠΑΙΡΕΙΝ ΥΣΤΕΡΟΝ ΚΑΘΙΕΝΑΙ

Good luck with the tattoo and let me know if you need anything else, such as a pronunciation guide or whatever. Good day to you.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Michael Barkas


I provide assistance in linguistic, literary topics of Greek and Latin covering, thus, the following fields: translation, grammar, syntax, vocabulary, etymology, morphology, semantics and interpretations etc.


Studies: University of the Aegean, Dept Rhodes Friedrich Wilhelm Universitšt Bonn

Magister Artium (Archeology/Linguistics) Bachelor (Latin/English/Greek)

©2017 All rights reserved.