In addition to mythology, religion, history, psychology, literature, gender issues, mathematics, cosmology, geography, and meteorology, I am also researching Latin for my work on The Crane Girl. Well, “researching” is probably too strong a word – I’m culling the list of Latin phrases on Wikipedia, looking for interesting bits I can use.
Here are my top five favorites so far:
abyssus abyssum invocat – “deep calleth unto deep” – from Psalm 42:7
feci quod potui, faciant meliora potentes – “I have done what I could; let those who can do better” – a nice little summary of life, IMO
hic sunt dracones – “here are dragons,” or “here there be dragons” – used on old maps to mark unknown regions of the world
ira deorum – “wrath of the gods”
in girum imus nocte et consumimur igni – “we enter the circle at night and are consumed by fire” – a cool but mysterious phrase, which I love mainly because (drum roll please) it’s a palindrome! Same thing forward and backward, check it out.
Got any favorite foreign phrases of your own?