October 07, 2008

Parentes patientia vince

In English: Overcome your parents with patience.

I think anybody who has had troubles with family members can appreciate the wisdom of this saying! I thought I would post this for all of us who are treading the waters of making plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, trying hard not to offend our parents or other family members, while also keeping our sanity intact.

The saying goes back to the collection of monostich proverbs attributed to Cato. You can also find it in the singular form with an adverb in place of the ablative noun, Parentem patienter vince, as well as in this form with a so-called "gerundive of necessity," i.e. Parentes patientia esse ferendos, "Parents are to be endured in patience."

Elsewhere, in a distich proverb, Cato lauds the power of patience as follows: Quem superare potes, interdum vince ferendo, / Maxima enim morum semper patientia virtus.’, "Sometimes the person whom you are able to overpower, you should conquer by endurance, for patience is always the greatest virtue of all the character traits."

In the monstichs, Cato also urges simply, Parentes ama, "Love your parents." Of course, for those of us who are not always up to the saintly task of loving others, being able to suffer other people in patience is a good second choice!

There is a lovely sundial with the parentes patientia vince motto in Puy St. Vincent which I found at this website, where the saying has been badly mistranslated as "patience of man will win." Definitely not a correct rendering of the Latin, but I am very grateful for the lovely photo, which you can see here and also here.

So, all is well as your family contemplates holiday plans, here is today's proverb read out loud:

2450. Parentes patientia vince.

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:

fnmoose said...
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cahomebizmom said...

Patience is the most important and I think the most difficult!

Thank you and I just wanted to tell you I have the latin proverbs on my blog and I have been reading them and hearing you as well everyday.

Thank you I can learn a lot from you!

Laura Gibbs said...

I am glad you are enjoying the proverbs.

By learning Latin, you can get a lot of insight into that word "patience" - the Latin word "patior" means "to experience, to undergo, to be affected by something" - so "patience" does have this great kind of Zen quality, of just being immersed in the experience of the world, which is not always good, of course - but you cannot avoid it; it's what's happening!