November 02, 2006

Suum cuique pulchrum est

In English: To each person his own is beautiful.

This is another in the series of proverbs I've done starting from cuique suum, "to each his own" a few days ago. It's amazing what a variety of proverbs can be generated based on this simple theme.

Today's proverb is one that seems to say something very obvious on the surface: each person thinks that his own thing, whatever that thing is, is something beautiful. Which is true... but there is a bit of sarcasm in this proverb as well, the idea being that each person thinks his own thing is beautiful - even when it is not at all! You can see a great illustration of this in an Aesop's fable:
Zeus had decided to award prizes to the most beautiful animal babies so he inspected each and every one of them in order to reach a decision. The monkey also participated, claiming to be the mother of a very beautiful baby: a naked, snub-nosed little monkey whom she cradled in her arms. When the gods took a look at that monkey, they all started to laugh but his mother insisted, 'The winner is for Zeus to decide! But in my eyes this one is the most beautiful of all.' This story has the following meaning for everyone, in my opinion: each person thinks that his own child is beautiful.'
So be careful when you use this proverb: although it does not say so outright, the words are making fun of the person, just like the monkey mother who thought her baby was the most beautiful of all.

Here is today's proverb read out loud:

940. Suum cuique pulchrum est.

The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.

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