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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Thu 06 Oct, 2005 5:15 am    Post subject: Latin help needed for a Rudis inscription         Reply with quote

Greetings all,

I'm going to have a Rudis made for a physician friend of mine who is now retired. I'd like to put a Latin inscription on the blade, ideally in an appropriate font (think Spartacus with Kirk Douglas).

I'm trying to find a good inscription - something that would be appropriate for his profession and would reflect his wonderful charcter. I'm hindered by my lack of language skills: Latin is all Greek to me. This leaves me with either finding an existing quote, or trying to muddle through creating one of my own.

I found one that is nice, but doesn't quite capture the full spirit:

Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore
(I hope that the memory of our friendship will be everlasting (Cicero))

My attempt at an inscription:

Bonum homo est, maximo medicus est, optimo amicus est

I believe this means "A good man, a great physician, and a best friend", but it could mean "My hovercraft is full of eels" for all I know.

Any guidance regarding appropriate fonts (striving for a chiseled, angular appearance), appropriate Latin quotes, clarification of my stab at Latin, or suggestions for inscriptions or translation websites would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time!


David

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Martin Wallgren




Location: Bjästa, Sweden
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 620

PostPosted: Thu 06 Oct, 2005 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How about...

Oderint dum metuant... (Gaius "Caligula", Imperator)

or,

Odi profanum vulgus... (Horatius)

Be sure to have a video cam on his face when he looks up what it means though.

(No insult intended)

Martin

Swordsman, Archer and Dad
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Thu 06 Oct, 2005 5:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Martin, but I LIKE this fellow. Wink He has been a good friend and he was very well liked as a physician.

As I might end up carving this inscription into the wood myself, I'd rather create something that he would be honored to display, rather than something that he'll get a chuckle over, then quietly toss it into the trash after I leave.

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Martin Wallgren




Location: Bjästa, Sweden
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 620

PostPosted: Thu 06 Oct, 2005 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry!

hehe...

Try to find something here ...

http://www.mythfolklore.net/proverbs/MFProverbs-01.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_proverbs
http://www.super-memory.com/sml/colls/471.htm
http://nefer-seba.net/latin/Phrases-Mottoes.php

Haven´t checked if there is something for you but it is a start.

Martin

Swordsman, Archer and Dad
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Thu 06 Oct, 2005 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much for the links! Perhaps if I read enough Latin, I'll pick up some sense of the structure of the language. Wink

There is a fairly extensive list of Latin saying here: http://www.yuni.com/library/latin.html

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 617

PostPosted: Thu 06 Oct, 2005 10:42 am    Post subject: Re: Latin help needed for a Rudis inscription         Reply with quote

David Martin wrote:
My attempt at an inscription:

Bonum homo est, maximo medicus est, optimo amicus est

I believe this means "A good man, a great physician, and a best friend", but it could mean "My hovercraft is full of eels" for all I know.


My wife is fluent in Latin. She's out of town at the moment, but I'll run your inscription past her when she gets home.

However, the other way works out fine, too. After all, the danger of eel-related hovercraft accidents cannot be overstated. Big Grin

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Thu 06 Oct, 2005 10:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much, Sam! I'll eagerly await your wife's return (though not so much as you, I'm sure).

Some of the better quotes I found:

Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem
- In the good old days, children like you were left to perish on windswept crags

Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est
- A sword is never a killer, it's a tool in the killer's hands. (Seneca)

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
Joined: 08 Apr 2005
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Thu 06 Oct, 2005 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that's a really nice idea to do an inscription for your friend on his retirement.

The study and practice of medicine requires, I imagine because I have nothing to do with medicine, both knowledge and the strength to put that knowledge into practice whilst being aware that if wrong you could cause more harm than good, but if you don't act you might miss the opportunity to save someone. So the combination of knowledge and guts.

'Sapere aude' ? 'Be bold (enough) to be wise'

Your Latin syntax on your original example is quite a tad out, though I mean that in the most uncritical and constructive way (nouns & adjectives have to agree grammatically and they change form according to whether they are the object/subject of a sentence or other forms, etc....blah blah blah). Also to say what you wanted to say about a good man, a good doctor, a good friend or something similar can be done in Latin in a much shorter form - Latin is the master of triplets and abbreviation :the form would be using 'et', 'and', and to say the phrase without the verb 'is' appearing, 'X et X et X' the verb 'to be' assumed without needing to say it. A well known example being from the Christian church !

Daniel
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Fri 07 Oct, 2005 4:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel,

Thank you very much for your feedback and for your suggestion. Although I'm not a physician, I believe 'Sapere aude' might be a more appropriate motto than 'Primum non nocere'. My friend was an Emergency Room doctor and I'm certain he would agree. There are few rewards without risk.

Any suggestions or references for correcting the syntax of my original idea would be greatly appreciated. Half the battle is learning where my mistakes lie, so even if you can't make corrections, you've still set me off on the right path.

Sorry if I'm being obtuse, but I'm not certain that I fully understand your explanation of the ability to drop verbs in Latin. Are you suggesting that I could simply inscribe "Bonum homo, maximo medicus, optimo amicus" (realizing the syntax needs correction) and leave it at that? Would the commas still be appropriate?

Thanks again for your help!

David

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Jean Le-Palud




Location: France
Joined: 11 May 2005
Reading list: 17 books

Posts: 152

PostPosted: Sun 16 Oct, 2005 6:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again,
I think Daniel is right about the syntax. I would write: Bonus homo est, maximus medicus, optimus amicus.
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Peter Morwood




Location: Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Joined: 27 Sep 2004

Posts: 41

PostPosted: Sun 16 Oct, 2005 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I did Latin at school (a long time ago) and a rule always emphasised was "agreement in gender, number and case."

Sam's wife may find the following to be completely wrong, but I'd write your motto "A good man, a great doctor, a best friend" like this: homo bono, medicus maximus, optimi amici - "(A) good man, (a) great doctor and (the) best (of) friends". Changing the -us ending to -i makes that "of" an implicit part of the word, as well as matching the way "friend" has become plural; and as far as I know, there's no need to include est to represent "A ...", "The..." or "He is..."

Since this is a carved inscription going on something with possibly limited space (a rudis blade), have you considered using the abbreviated form which the Romans used on their own inscriptions. For the present motto, the fully pared-down version would be: HOM·BON·MED·MAX·OPT·AMI.

You could enlarge it slightly like this: HOM·BON·MEDIC·MAXIMVS·OPTIMI·AMICI; the last and most personal compliment being the only full words.

I'd suggest a font like Goudy Trajan Regular (based on the letters used in the famous "Trajan Inscription" recording the building and dedication of the memorial column in Rome; alternate authentic Roman fonts from my collection are Falconis, Macteris Uncial, Pomponianus, Praitor and Vespasiano, all of which I got from The Scriptorium and I'm trying to assemble an attachable image using each of these to show your motto in its full form and my suggested abbreviations.

"I care little for your Cause; I fight not for your Crown, but for your half-crown, and your handsome women!" - Capt. Carlo Fantom (from Aubrey's "Brief Lives")
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C. D. Jensen




Location: Centerville, UT
Joined: 24 Nov 2004

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun 16 Oct, 2005 4:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David,

Your inscription should be rendered as: "BONO HOMINI MAGNO MEDICO OPTIMO AMICO". Dedicatory inscriptions are properly in the dative case, i.e., "for" someone. This now reads: "For a good man, a great doctor, and a best friend."

As for abbreviations, they were used only for words common enough in inscriptions that everyone would immediately know what they were, e.g., "PP" for pater patriae, "COS" for consul, etc. If you have room, it would be simplest to spell the whole thing out.

And I do have a B.A. in Classics. (A hint for the kids out there: Don't go into debt for a B.A. in Classics.)

Hope this helps.


--Chris
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Peter Morwood




Location: Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Joined: 27 Sep 2004

Posts: 41

PostPosted: Sun 16 Oct, 2005 5:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

C.D. - thanks! Laughing Out Loud You've reminded me of all the afternoons spent in detention for not getting my Latin prep right. The dog could eat only so many pages - if we'd had a dog in the first place... (I got my B.A. Hons in English (don't bother wth one of those either) because I suspect it was much easier to fake careful study in a language I can actually speak...)

What do you think of the font suggestions? The initial visual impact of a gift like this carries a fair bit of weight, and there's no second chance to get it right.

"I care little for your Cause; I fight not for your Crown, but for your half-crown, and your handsome women!" - Capt. Carlo Fantom (from Aubrey's "Brief Lives")
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Mon 17 Oct, 2005 4:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all very much for your assistance. This project has definitely piqued my interest in Latin. I'm purchasing Wheelock's Latin and the workbook to accompany it. The good folks at Harper-Collins have graciously provided me with the answer keys so I can check my work.

A friend of a friend, who has a Masters in Latin, contacted me and provided the following suggestion:

BONUS VIR OPTIMUSQUE MEDICUS ET AMICUS CARUS

All of the suggestions are very similar, which provides me with a degree of comfort that we're all on the same page. The rudis at Purpleheart Amoury can have up to a 50 character inscription, so I probably won't need to abbreviate the inscription, though this was an excellent suggestion.

Thank you, Peter, for the font suggestions. I have been vacillating between Caesar Open and Pythia, and leaning towards Caesar Open. I'll take a look at the Scriptorium fonts when I get home this evening.

I very much appreciate your time and efforts on this project. I'll post photos once I have the completed rudis in hand.

Best wishes,


David

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
Joined: 08 Apr 2005
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Mon 17 Oct, 2005 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi David

Sorry not to get back to your query about my obscurity in my last email. It was a bit vague wasn't it !! I was dotting around countries on work (am logging on from Brussels hotel at the mo). Hope you have found a good inscription (and it's the thought behind it that he'll remember not the Latin syntax anyway !!).

What I meant was that Latin likes abbreviation (I wasn't referring to abbreviation of words like SPQR so much as abbreviation of grammar). It also loves triplets (Cicero is full of them) and balance. There is a certain rhythmical sound to Latin which is, for instance, very different to English or Attic Greek. It has a hard but bell-like rhythm often in short inscriptions.

It also can assume the verb 'to be' (or the 'compliment' as classics teachers might say) in short inscriptions (so you don't have to say 'he is... and he is......and he is.' , you can say 'he is .... and .... and...' or you can say ' .....and .....and' and assume 'is') or you can include 'is' if it improves the sound of the phrase. Used once, - you wouldn't repeat it i think - and it sounds better up front.

I think Jean had a nice use of it in that way with 'Bonus homo est, maximus medicus, optimus amicus.' but I would re-phrase it 'homo bonus est et medicus maximus et amicus optimus' (the Romans didn't use punctuation in the same way as we do) and the use of 'et' aids the rhythm. Also I would invert the order of noun and adjective.

What we haven't talked about much also is the tendency to put adjective after noun rather than before (as in English). You can do it both ways (and there are plenty of examples of both) but the natural tendency of latin is towards after the noun. And you can alternate them as your friend did.

Your friend's one sounds good, though i always associate '- que' with pairs of nouns rather than triplets (as in senatus populusque romanus).

I'm sure you will find the right phrase to express your clear friendship towards him. My rusty Latin skills offering (apart from Sapere Aude, which is a medieval phrase and not mine) would be:

'vir optimus (est) et Aesculapii ardor et amiculus' (Aesculapius is a god of medicine, ardor is 'beloved of' or 'dear to' , amiculus is a term for a close friend)

or more plainly

'vir optimus et medicus prudens et amicus carus'

Good luck in your quest!

Daniel
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
Joined: 08 Apr 2005
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Mon 17 Oct, 2005 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ps You can also put it in the dative case as Chris suggested above. This is, as he says, common in dedications (appears a lot in funereal monuments and some in triumphal recognition ) but not essential I would think on an inscription of this type.

D
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