January 31, 2007

Sol oculus mundi

In English: The sun is the eye of the world.

I thought this would make a good follow-up to yesterday's proverb, scientia sol mentis. In that proverb, the sol was a metaphorical sun, the knowledge that illuminates the mind. In today's proverb, the sol, "sun," is the literal sun, the glowing orb we see in the sky, and metaphorically, it is the oculus, the "eye" of the world.

Not surprisingly, if the sun is the eye of the world, of course luna oculus noctis, "the moon is the eye of the night."

This second saying, about the moon, can be found in the wonderful medieval dialogue of Pippin and Albin. Here is an excerpt of the "question-and-answer," including the moon:
P. Quid est sol?—A. Splendor orbis, coeli pulchritudo, naturae gratia, honor diei, horarum distributor. (What is the sun? It is the shining of the world, the beauty of the sky, the grace of nature, the dignity of the day, the bestower of the hours.)

P. Quid est luna?—A. Oculus noctis, roris larga, praesaga tempestatum. (What is the moon? It is the eye of the night, abundant with dew, the foreteller of storms.)

P. Quid sunt stellae?—A. Pictura culminis, nautarum gubernatores, noctis decor. (What are the stars? The picture on the heights, the pilots of sailors, the beauty of the night.)
If you have never taken a look at this delightful medieval dialogue, I highly recommend it! It has a riddling quality that can give your brain a good twist, even if the grammar is very simple!Meanwhile, here are today's proverbs read out loud:

230.Sol oculus mundi.

231. Luna oculus noctis.

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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