Latin is a classical language that belongs to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin originated in the area around Rome, known as Latium. It makes sense then that some of these Latin quotes come from Roman historians and political leaders. Seneca, a Roman philosopher, also had a lot to say about how we can live life better with these Latin quotes.
Latin roots have contributed many words to the English language, especially in descriptions of theology, sciences, medicine, and law. Some Latin quotes and phrases have worked their way into several popular English books and movies, including Harry Potter!
However, the closest I ever came to learning Latin was when my parents would use ‘Pig Latin’ to keep secrets from my sister and me! The actual language is far more complex, comprising three distinct genders, six or seven noun cases, five declensions, four verb conjugations, six tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two or three aspects, and two numbers.
That is a lot to figure out! Luckily, all these Latin quotes have a translation!
Don’t forget to also check out these Seneca quotes that will help you in all facets of your life.
Famous Latin quotes from Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher
1. “Non est ad astra mollis e terris via. (There is no easy way from the earth to the stars.)” ― Seneca
2. “Divitae bonum non sunt. (Material wealth is not the one good.)” ― Seneca
3. “Non fortuna homines aestimabo, sed moribus. (I do not estimate the men for their fortune, but for their habits.)” ― Seneca
4. “Pars magna bonitatis est velle fieri bonum. (Much of goodness consists in wanting to be good.)” ― Seneca
5. “Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu. (It is how well you live that matters, not how long.)” ― Seneca
6. “Copia ciborum, subtilitas impeditur. (The abundance of food hampers intelligence.)” ― Seneca
7. “Veritas numquam perit. (Truth never dies.)” ― Seneca
8. “Timendi causa est nescire. (Ignorance is the cause of fear.)” ― Seneca
9. “Crudelius est quam mori semper timere mortem. (It is more cruel to always fear death than to die.)” ― Seneca
Best Latin quotes about life from Horace and Virgil
10. “Pulvis et umbra sumus. (We are but dust and shadow.)” ― Horace
11. “Ut haec ipsa qui non sentiat deorum vim habere is nihil omnino sensurus esse videatur. (If any man cannot feel the power of God when he looks upon the stars, then I doubt whether he is capable of any feeling at all.)” ― Horace
12. “Pactum serva. (Keep the faith.)” ― Horace
13. “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. (It is sweet and fitting to die for your country.)” ― Horace
14. “Amor omnia vincit. (Love conquers all.)” ― Virgil
15. “Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. (If I can not bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell.)” ― Virgil
16. “Audentes fortuna iuvat. (Fortune favors the bold.)” ― Virgil
17. “Labor omnia vincit. (Hard work conquers all.)” ― Virgil
18. “Nimium ne crede colori. (Trust not too much to looks.)” ― Virgil
19. “Tempus fugit. (Time flies.)” ― Virgil
20. “Aequam servare mentem. (Keep the mind calm.)” ― Horace
Inspirational Latin quotes from other well-known poets and philosophers
21. “Ignis aurum proat, miseria fortes viros. (Fire provides proof of gold; misery, proof of strong men.)” ― Ovid
22. “Fas est ab hoste doceri. (One should learn even from one’s enemies.)” ― Ovid
23. “Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. (Everything changes, nothing perishes).”― Ovid
24. “Saepe creat molles aspera spina rosas. (Often the prickly thorn produces tender roses.)” ― Ovid
25. “Nemo malus felix. (No evil is happy.)” ― Juvenalis
26. “Cogito ergo sum. (I think, therefore I am.)” ― René Descartes
27. “Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur. (One’s friends are known in the hour of need.)” ―Ennius
28. “Nihil sapientiae odiosius acumine nimio. (Nothing is more hateful to wisdom than excessive cleverness.)” ― Francesco Petrarca
Short Latin quotes including those from Roman historians and leaders
29. “Non nobis solum nati sumus. (Not for ourselves alone are we born.)” ― Cicero
30. “Hic manebimus optime! (Here we will stay, most excellently!)” ― Livius
31. “Animus risu novatur. (The spirit is refreshed with laughter.)” ― Cicero
32. “Caeca invidia est. (Envy is blind.)” ― Livius
33. “Mea mihi conscientia pluris est quam omnium sermo. (My conscience is more to me than what the world says.)” ― Cicero
34. “Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered.)” ― Caesar
35. “Vivamus, moriendum est. (Let us live, since we must die.)” ― Unknown
36. “Alea Iacta est. (The die is cast.)” ― Unknown
37. “Condemnant quo non intellegunt. (They condemn that which they do not understand.)” ― Unknown
38. “Oderint dum metuant. (Let them hate so long as they fear.)” ― Caligula
39. “Homo sum humani a me nihil alienum puto. (I am a human being, so nothing human is strange to me.)” ― Terentius
40. “Tot homines, quot sententiae. (So many men, so many opinions.)” ― Terence
More Latin quotes from movies and novels
41. “Braccas meas vescimini!” I wasn’t sure where the Latin came from. I think it meant ‘Eat my pants!’ ― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief
42. “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus. (Never tickle a sleeping dragon)” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter, and the Sorcerer’s Stone
43. “Vi veri veniversum vivus vici. (By the Power of Truth, I, while living, have Conquered the Universe.)” ― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta, Vol. II of X
44. “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam tibi. (I will either find a way or make one.)” ― Kendall Ryan, Unravel Me
45. “Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. (Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.)” ― Neil Gaiman, The Wake
46. “Veni, vidi, flevi. (I came. I saw. I cried.)” ― Dorian Cirrone, Prom Kings and Drama Queens
47. “Ardet nec consumitur. (Burned but not destroyed.)” ― Ransom Riggs, Hollow City
48. “Nunquam reliquiae redire: carpe omniem impremis. (Never go back for seconds: take it all the first time.)” ― Karen Chance, Claimed by Shadow
49. “Tu dormis, tu perdis. (You snooze, you lose.)” ― Paul Beatty, The Sellout
50. “Factio vestri aevum, non vestri calceus amplitudo. (Act your age, not your shoe size.)” ― Paul Beatty, The Sellout
What did you learn from these Latin quotes?
These Latin quotes encourage us to contemplate life, while others made us giggle. Latin doesn’t just show up in the English language, but it is also essential in the Romance languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Latin is all around us, whether it be in popular culture, or the languages we learn in high school.
Even though it is considered a dead language, we still use it or encounter it every day. Some professionals use Latin more than others, so if you are going to be a lawyer or a doctor, you will become more familiar with it. It is also prevalent in the arts and literature.
Look around you today and see if you can spot Latin in your everyday life, and while you are out there, remember to Carpe Diem!
Horace believed we should enjoy life by seizing the day, and I couldn’t agree more! Leave your favorite Latin quotes and sayings in the comment section below.
May 17, 2021 7:00 AM EST