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Question
I am seeking assistance for my own knowledge in my studies of Latin.

A famous quote by the poet Virgil is:

"It gains strength by going/as it goes"


Do you know the meaning of this as well as the Latin translation?


Another proverb I is : Fortitudine vincimus (By endurance we conquer)

Is this correct? Do you have any knowledge to the true meaning of this ancient proverb?





Thanks for you time--


Jay

Answer
Hello,

first of all the original Latin line is “Vires acquirit eundo “ (Virgil, Aeneid, book 4, line 175).

Therefore the sentence “It gains strength by going" is nothing but an English translation/adaptation of the original Latin line we read in Virgil’s Aeneid, book 4, line 175, where this hemistich, i.e. a half line of verse, refers to the Fame (Latin, “Fama”), a goddess swift-footed, all-seeing, growing as she runs, for she is the talk of the multitude,like rumor, which quickly spreads from person to person and grows mighty and achieves strength and dominion as she swifter flies.

In short, Virgil says that a rumour (Latin, Fama) is going round everywhere that the Trojan hero Aeneas and Dido, Queen of Carthage, are having a sexual relationship.


As for “Fortitudine vincimus”, literally meaning “By strength/fortitude  we are victorious/we conquer”, as “fortitudine” does not mean  “By endurance” which in Latin would be “patientia”,  it is not a Latin proverb or quotation, but simply a sentence  coined by the English  Shackleton family as a motto.


See below for parsing of “Vires acquirit eundo “ and “Fortitudine vincimus”.

Best regards,
Maria
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Note that:

-VIRES (direct object, accusative plural of the noun VIS, 3rd declension)= strength

-ACQUIRIT (3rd person singular, present indicative of the verb ACQUIRO, I gain) = she gains (whose subject is the goddess “Fame”.

-EUNDO (gerund ablative of the verb EO, I go) = by going

See Virgil’s Aeneid, IV, 173-175 at
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0055%3Aboo

"Extemplo Libyae magnas it Fama per urbes....viresque acquirit eundo..."
(=Immediately through the great Libyan cities Fame is speeding....and she gains strength by going/as she goes...")

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-FORTITUDINE (singular, ablative of Means of the noun FORTITUDO, 3rd declension) = by strength/ fortitude.
Note that FORTITUDO (nominative case) means “strength” as fortitude and courage  shown over a long period in undertaking hardship.

-VINCIMUS (1st.person plural, present indicative of VINCO,I am victorious/  I conquer) = we are victorious/ we conquer

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