January 30, 2007

Scientia sol mentis

In English: Knowledge is the sun of the mind.

I thought this saying would be a good follow-up to the proverbs about scientia that I've posted over the last two days: ex luna scientia and scientia potentia. Today's proverb, scientia sol mentis, is the motto of the University of Delaware, and of Springdale Academy, an English-language school in Darjeeling, India. You can even find it inscribed on a picture frame at this Gifts for the Teacher website.

As often, there is a bit of sound play in the Latin with scientia and sol which is hard to capture in English. Maybe "learning is the light of the mind," with "learning-light."

This is also a good proverb for coming to terms with the Latin word sol, meaning "sun." In this form, it's easy to recognize that this is the word for "sun." In other forms of the word, though, it's easy to get this word confused with the adjective solus, meaning "one, only," and then there is solum, meaning "floor, foundation; soil, earth, land," and, last but not least, there is solium, meaning "seat, chair; throne." When you see the word sol in the nominative case like this, it's unambiguous - but you need to be ready to meet this similar-looking words at any moment. So if you see the Latin word soli... watch out! You'll have to figure out which word it comes from based on context!

So, enjoy the sol when you listen to today's proverb read out loud:

232. Scientia sol mentis.

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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3 comments:

CoolCat said...

Another sound pattern is the "ent" sound: Scientia sol mentis.
Just a thought...
~CoolCat

Laura Gibbs said...

EXACTLY: it's a very productive verbal suffix: it's the same -ent- that you see in present active participles! It's also related to the -ant- in Sanskrit words like mantra (same root as in English "mind," Latin "mentis" and so on).

:-)

Anonymous said...

it´s also in front of a high school in iceland