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Golden thoughts of Romans

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius

The golden thoughts of the Romans have permanently gone down in history. Ancient Rome was full of great personalities, extraordinary knowledge and of great importance to the world of that time.

TIP: The correct person can be found through the browser search engine: CTRL + F. Enter first names, surnames or nicknames. The characters are sorted by year of birth (from the oldest to the youngest).

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

(Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, 5th century BCE) – Roman consul, dictator:

  • “Sometimes a tiny moment decides about great things”
    • source: Livy, Ab Urbe condita, III, 26

Marcus Furius Camillus

(Marcus Furius Camillus, c. 446 – 364 BCE) – Roman commander, 6-time military tribune:

  • “Nie złotem, lecz żelazem odkupimy ojczyznę!”
    • latin: [Non auro, sed ferro, recuperanda est patria]
    • description: sprzeciwiając się zapłaceniu okupu celtyckim wojskom pod wodzą Brennusa.


(Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, IV/V century BCE) – Roman writer:

  • “The crow will not beak the other crow’s eye” [own translation]
    • latin: [Cornix cornici oculum non effodit]
    • source: Macrobius, Saturnalia, 7, 5

Appius Claudius Caecus

(Appius Claudius Caecus, c. 340 – 273 BCE) – politician and statesman:

  • “Every man is the artisan of his own fortune”
    • latin: [Faber est suae quisque fortunae]
    • description: words also attributed to Julius Caesar.
    • source: Sallust, Speech to Caesar on the State
  • “When you see a friend you forget your sorrows”
    • latin: [Amicum cum vides, obliviscere miserias]
  • “Control yourself so that uncontrollability does not cause some deception and shame”
    • latin: [Compotem esse, ne quid fraudis stuoprive ferocia paret]
    • source: Grammatici Latini


(Titus Maccius Plautus, c. 250 – c. 184 BCE) – Roman comedian, one of the oldest Roman writers:

  • “He whom the gods love dies young”
    • latin: [Quem di diligunt, adolescens moritur]
    • source: Plautus, Bacchides
  • “If you have conquered your inclination rather than your inclination you, you have reason to rejoice”
    • latin: [Si animum vicisti potius quam animus te, est quod gaudeas]
    • source: Plautus, Trinummus, II. 9



(Quintus Ennius, 239 – 169 BCE) – poet, considered the father of Roman poetry:

  • “Good deeds misplaced, methinks, are evil deeds”
    • latin: [Bene facta male locata male facta arbitror]
    • description: quoting Ennius.
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis
  • “The victor is not victorious if the vanquished does not consider himself so”
    • latin: [Qui vincit non est victor nisi victus fatetur]
    • source: Ennius, Annales, XXXI, 493
  • “For to fight out a quarrel by force – it is a thing of boorish boars beloved”
    • source: Ennius, Annales
  • “A man who, to one astray, graciously points out the way does it as one lights a torch from his own torch. No less light does it shed for him when he has lit the other’s”
  • “All mortals desire themselves to be praised”
    • latin: [Omnes mortales sese laudarier optant]
    • source: Augustine of Hippo, De Trinitate, XIII, III
  • “No one regards what is before his feet; we all gaze at the stars”
    • latin: [Quod est ante pedes nemo spectat, caeli scrutantur plagas]
    • source: Cicero, De Divinatione, II, XIII
  • “The idle mind knows not what it wants”
    • latin: [Otioso in otio animus nescit quid velit]
    • source: Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, XIX, X
  • “The mind wanders unsure, except in that life is lived”
    • latin: [Incerte errat animus; praeterpropter vitam vivitur]
    • source: Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, XIX, X
  • “Fortune is given to brave men”
    • latin: [Fortibus est fortuna viris data]
    • source: Macrobius, Saturnalia VI, I
  • “Not chaffering war but waging war, not with gold but with iron—thus let us of both sides make trial for our lives”
    • latin: [Nec cauponantes bellum sed belligerantes; ferro non auro vitam cernamus utrique]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, I, XII
  • “Where the Gauls stealthily, at the time of night when sleep falls on men, attacked the high citadel and of a sudden stained with blood walls and watchers”
    • latin: [Qua Galli furtim noctu summa arcis adorti, moenia concubia vigilesque repente cruentant]
    • source: Macrobius, Saturnalia I, IV
  • “Whom none could overcome with iron or gold”
    • latin: [Quem nemo ferro potuit superare nec auro]
    • source: Cicero, De Re Publica, III, IV
  • “Neither you nor any man alive shall do this unpunished: no, you shall give recompense to me with your life-blood”
    • latin: [Nec pol homo quisquam faciet inpune animatus,hoc nec tu; nam mi calido dabis sanguine poenas]
    • source: Macrobius, Saturnalia VI, I
  • “And earth who herself bestowed the body takes it back and wastes not a whit”
    • latin: [Terram corpus quae dederit, ipsam, capere neque dispendi facere hilum]
    • source: Varro, De Lingua Latina V
  • “Open your eyelids, will you all, and let your brains leave sleep behind”
    • latin: [Pandite sultis genas et corde relinquite somnum]
    • source: Festus, De verborum significatione
  • “No sooner said than done—so acts your man of worth”
    • latin: [Dictum factumque facit frux]
    • source: Priscianus, Ars Prisciani, VI
  • “The Roman state survives by its ancient customs and its manhood”
    • latin: [Moribus antiquis res stat Romana virisque]
    • source: Ennius, Annals, V
  • “One man, by delaying, restored the state to us. He valued safety more than mob’s applause; Hence now his glory more resplendent grows”
    • latin: [Unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem. Noenum rumores ponebat ante salutem; Ergo plusque magisque viri nunc gloria claret]
    • source: Cicero, De Senectute, IV
  • “The ape, vilest of beasts, how like to us!”
    • latin: [Simia quam similis turpissima bestia nobis!]
    • source: Cicero, Natura Deorum, I, XXXV
  • “As a strong horse that has often won on the last lap at Olympia is now resting, tired out by old age”
    • latin: [Sicut fortis equus, spatio qui saepe supremo; Vicit Olympia, nunc senio confectus quiescit]
    • description: Ennius refers here to himself and his work Annals, sensing its ending.
    • source: Cicero, De Senectute, V
  • “Whom they fear, they hate. And whom one hates, one hopes to see him dead”
    • latin: [Quem metuunt oderunt; quem quisque odit, perisse expetit]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, II, 23
  • “Let no one pay me honor with tears, nor celebrate my funeral rites with weeping. Why? I fly, living, through the mouths of men”
    • latin: [Nemo me lacrumis decoret neque funera fletu faxit. Cur? volito vivos per ora virum]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, I, XV

Quotes of Ennius

Scipio Africanus the Elder

Scipio Africanus the Elder

(Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Maior, 236 – 184 BCE) – commander during the Second Punic War:

  • “[…] prepare for war, since you have been unable to endure a peace”
    • latin: [bellum parate, quoniam pacem pati non potuistis]
    • description: words addressed to Hannibal before the battle of Zama in 202 BCE.
    • source: Livy, Ab Urbe Condita XXX, 31
  • “Thankless country, thou shalt not possess even my bones!”
    • latin: [Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem habebis]
    • source: Valerius Maximus, Factorvm et dictorvm memorabilivm libri Novem, V, III
  • “The end of the war and hardship was at hand, the spoils of Carthage within reach, and the return home to their native city, to parents, children, wives and household gods”
    • latin: [Adesse finem belli ac laboris; in manibus esse praedam Carthaginis, reditum domum in patriam ad parentes liberos coniuges penatesque deos]
    • description: Scipio’s words to soldiers before the battle of Zama.
    • source: Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XXX, 32
  • “I would rather save the life of one citizen than kill a thousand enemies”
    • latin: [malle se unum civem servare quam mille hostes occidere]
    • source: Historia Augusta, Antoninus Pius, 9.10
  • “I’m never less at leisure than when at leisure, or less alone than when alone”
    • latin: [numquam se minus otiosum esse, quam cum otiosus; nec minus solum, quam cum solus esset]
    • description: according to Cato the Elder
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, III, I
  • “I am mindful of human weakness, and I reflect upon the might of Fortune and know that everything that we do is exposed to a thousand chances”
    • latin: [Quod ad me attinet, et humanae infirmitatis memini et uim fortunae reputo et omnia quaecumque agimus subiecta esse mille casibus scio]
    • description: words addressed to Hannibal before the battle of Zama in 202 BCE.
    • source: Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XXX, 31

Quotes of Scipio Africanus the Elder

Cato the Elder

Marcus Porcius Cato

Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato, 234 – 149 BCE) – speaker, politician, writer:

  • “Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed”
    • latin: [Ceterum censeo Karthaginem esse delendam]
    • description: Cato the Elder, an implacable enemy of Carthage, ended all speeches in the Roman Senate with such words.
    • source: Plutarch, Marcus Cato 27, 1
  • “Well done, for when shameful lust has swollen the veins, it is suitable that young men should come down here rather than fool around with other men’s wives”
    • description: spotting a young man coming out of a brothel.
    • source: Horace, Satirae
  • “To each his own”
    • latin: [Suum cuique]
    • description: words referring to the old Greek rule of law, which in Plato’s work “Republic”, are described as “justice is when everyone minds his own business”.
    • source: Cato the Elder, De Natura Deorum, III, 38
  • “When those folk [Greeks] give us their writings they will corrupt everything. All the more if they send their doctors here”
    • latin: [vincam nequissimum et indocile genus illorum, et hoc puta vatem dixisse: quandoque ista gens suas litteras dabit, omnia conrumpet, tum etiam magis, si medicos suos hoc mittet]
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 29.14
  • “Between the mouth and the morsel”
    • latin: [Inter os atque offam (multa intervenire possunt)]
    • description: firstly quoted by Aristotle. In the Latin version, quoted by Gellius as a fragment of the speech of Cato the Elder.
    • source: Gellius, Noctes Atticae, XIII, 17, 1
  • “Beautiful woman is like a gilded pill – pleasing to the eyes, bitter to the lips”
  • “Moreover, I consider that Carthage should be destroyed”
    • latin: [Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam]
    • description: words of Cato the Elder, with which he ended all of his speeches in the Roman senate. Often quotes also as “Carthago delenda est”.
    • source: Florus, Epitome of Roman History I, 31
  • “Grasp the subject, the words will follow.”
    • latin: [Rem tene, verba sequentur]
    • source: Gaius Julius Victor, Ars Rhetorica
  • “All mankind rules its women, and we rule all mankind, but our women rule us”
    • description: about prevalent domination of women; source is in greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Apophthegmata regum et imperatorum
  • “Thieves who have robbed private individuals spend their lives in prison and chains, and public thieves in gold and purple”
    • latin: [Fures privatorum furtorum in nervo atque in compedibus aetatem agunt, fures publici in auro atque in purpura]
    • source: Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae XI, 18, 18
  • “Buy not what you want, but what you have need of; what you do not want is dear at a farthing”
    • latin: [Emas non quod opus est, sed quod necesse est. Quod non opus est, asse carum est]
    • description: a farthing was a quarter of an old British penny, so Cato meant that if you buy something you don’t want, a farthing would be too much to pay for it.
    • source: Seneka the Younger, Epistles, 94
  • “Grasp the subject, the words will follow”
    • latin: [Rem tene, verba sequentur]
    • description: suggestions for orators.
    • source: Julius Victor, Art of Rhetoric
  • “Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise”
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one”
    • greek: [‘μᾶλλον γὰρ,’ ἔφη, ‘βούλομαι ζητεῖσθαι, διὰ τί μου ἀνδριὰς οὐ κεῖται ἢ διὰ τί κεῖται’]
    • source: Plutarch, Cato, 19:4
  • “I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one”
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 19:4
  • “The pursuits of commerce would be as admirable as they are profitable if they were not subject to so great risks: and so, likewise, of banking, if it was always honestly conducted. For our ancestors considered, and so ordained in their laws, that, while the thief should be cast in double damages, the usurer should make four-fold restitution”
    • source: Cato the Elder, De Agri Cultura
  • “When you have decided to purchase a farm, be careful not to buy rashly; do not spare your visits and be not content with a single tour of inspection. The more you go, the more will the place please you, if it be worth your attention. Give heed to the appearance of the neighbourhood, – a flourishing country should show its prosperity. “When you go in, look about, so that, when needs be, you can find your way out”.”

    • source: Cato the Elder, De Agri Cultura
  • “When you have arrived at your country house and have saluted your household, you should make the rounds of the farm the same day, if possible; if not, then certainly the next day. When you have observed how the field work has progressed, what things have been done, and what remains undone, you should summon your overseer the next day, and should call for a report of what work has been done in good season and why it has not been possible to complete the rest, and what wine and corn and other crops have been gathered”

    • source: Cato the Elder, De Agri Cultura
  • “The accounts of money, supplies and provisions should then be considered. The overseer should report what wine and oil has been sold, what price he got, what is on hand, and what remains for sale. Security should be taken for such accounts as ought to be secured. All other unsettled matters should be agreed upon. If any thing is needed for the coming year, it should be bought; every thing which is not needed should be sold. Whatever there is for lease should be leased”

    • source: Cato the Elder, De Agri Cultura
  • “These are the duties of the overseer: He should maintain discipline. He should observe the feast days. He should respect the rights of others and steadfastly uphold his own. He should settle all quarrels among the hands; If any one is at fault he should administer the punishment. He should take care that no one on the place is in want, or lacks food or drink; in this respect he can afford to be generous, for he will thus more easily prevent picking and stealing”

    • source: Cato the Elder, De Agri Cultura
  • “The overseer should be responsible for the duties of the housekeeper. If the master has given her to you for a wife, you should be satisfied with her, and she should respect you. Require that she be not given to wasteful habits; that she does not gossip with the neighbours and other women. She should not receive visitors either in the kitchen or in her own quarters. She should not go out to parties, nor should she gad about”

    • source: Cato the Elder, De Agri Cultura
  • “Those who are eager to hold high office frequently, are like men who did not know the road, they sought to be ever attended on their way by lictors, lest they go astray”
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 8
  • “You will be thought, not to deem your offices worth much, or else not to deem many men worthy of your offices”
    • description: Cato criticized the election of the same people to high offices over and over again.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 8
  • “This man’s mother holds the wish that he may survive her to be no pious prayer, but a malignant curse”
    • description: Cato about one of his enemies who was known for his shameful life.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 8
  • “This man has drunk down with ease what the sea found it hard to wash away”
    • description: Cato on the news that a certain Roman had sold his patrimony near the sea.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 8
  • “Surely, he is an excellent man, and a friend of Rome. Granted, but the animal known as king is by nature carnivorous”
    • description: when king of Pergammon Eumenes II was in Rome and the senate remarkably him accepted, Cato looked at him with suspicion and caution
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 8
  • “My enemies hated me, because I rose every day before it was light and, neglecting my own private matters, devoted my time to the public interests”
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 8
  • “Romans were sending out an embassy which had neither feet, nor head, nor heart”
    • description: when Romans chose three ambassadors to Bithynia, of whom one was gouty, another had had his head trepanned, and the third was deemed a fool.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “Here we sit all day, as if we had naught else to do, debating whether some poor old Greeks shall be buried here or in Achaia”
    • description: regarding the thousand Achaean hostages resettled to Rome as favoring Macedonia (among them was the Greek historian – Polybius). There were discussions in the Senate about whether to let them return or whether they should stay in Italy.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “Polybius, as if he were another Odysseus, wanted to go back into the cave of the Cyclops for a cap and belt which he had left there”
    • description: Cato’s ironic words about the return of property to Achaean hostages in Achaia.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “Wise men profited more from fools than fools from wise men; for the wise shun the mistakes of fools, but fools do not imitate the successes of the wise”
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “Where can such a body be of service to the state, when everything between its gullet and its groins is devoted to belly?”
    • description: mockingly to an obese Roman.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “I could not live with a man whose palate was more sensitive than his heart”
    • description: mockingly to the gourmet.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “The lover his soul dwelt in the body of another”
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “Man, old age has disgraces enough of its own; do not add to them the shame of vice”
    • description: to the bad old man.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “Young man, I know not which is worse, to drink your mixtures, or to enact your bills”
    • description: to tribune of plebs, who was under the charge of poisoning and wanting to pass his law.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “I fight an unequal battle with you: you listen to abuse calmly, and utter it glibly; while for me it is unpleasant to utter it, and unusual to hear it”
    • description: to a man with a bad past who slandered him.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 9
  • “It is better to have many Romans go home with silver in their pockets​ than a few with gold”
    • description: Cato’s soldiers in the wars in Spain took considerable loot. Despite this, Cato gave each legionnaire an additional 330 grams of silver, saying that it would be better for many Romans to return home with silver than a small group with gold.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 10
  • “Only then would Rome be at her greatest, when her men of high birth refused to yield the palm of virtue to men of lower rank, and when plebeians contended in virtue with their superiors in birth and reputation”
    • description: Cato’s words in relation to Scipio Africanus, who succeeded him in the office of governor of the province of Spain, complained about his recent victorious warfare.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 11
  • “They might have shown him indulgence had he undertaken his task in consequence of a compulsory vote of the Amphictyonic Assembly”
    • description: reaction to the work of the Roman historian Postumius Albinus, consul from 151 BCE, which he wrote in Greek. Cato laughed that Albinus had used Greek while being forced by members of the union of Greek cities.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 12
  • “These are the sacrifices we must bring to the spirits of our parents; not lambs and kids, but the condemnations and tears of their enemies”
    • description: Cato’s words to a young Roman whom he met at the Forum after he condemned the enemy of his deceased father.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 15
  • “It is hard for one who has lived among men of one generation, to make his defence before those of another”
    • description: regarding the fact that he was repeatedly sued by other Romans.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 15
  • “I adjure you, if you are wise, not to choose the most agreeable physician, but the one who was most in earnest”
    • description: Cato’s words to the Romans, when he applied for the post of censor – an official who supervised the customs and way of life of citizens.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 16
  • “Good citizen should not even allow himself to be praised, unless such praise was beneficial to the commonwealth”
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 19
  • “Although they knew it not, their pride was based simply on the work of statuaries and painters, whereas my own images, of the most exquisite workmanship, were borne about in the hearts of my fellow citizens”
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 19
  • “The man who struck his wife or child, laid violent hands on the holiest of holy things”
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 20
  • “Heaven forbid! my son, all your conduct towards me has been admirable, and I have no fault to find with you; but I desire to bless myself and my country with more such sons”
    • description: words to his son, who asked his father if he had made any trouble for him to bring his stepmother home. At the end of his life, Cato, after the death of his wife Licinia, had an affair with the slave girl Salonia, whom he later married.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 24
  • “Only he has wits, but the rest are fluttering shadows”
    • description: words about Scipio Africanus the Younger, who in the third Punic War was at the beginning a military tribune and was distinguished by courage and intelligence. Over time, Scipio was to receive the main command. It should be added that initially the Romans were very ineffective, and Rome was very impatient with the lack of success in the war.
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Cato, 27

Quotes of Cato the Elder



(Publius Terentius Afer, 190 – 159 BCE) – playwright:

  • “I am human, I consider nothing human alien to me”
    • latin: [Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto]
    • source: Terence, Heauton timorumenos I, I, 25
  • “If two do the same thing, it is not the same”
    • latin: [Si duo faciunt idem, non est idem]
    • source: Terence, The Brothers V, 3, 37
  • “As many men, so as many opinions”
    • latin: [Quot homines tot sententiae: suo’ quoique mos]
    • source: Terence, Phormio 454
  • “I’m Davus, not Oedipus”
    • latin: [Davus sum, non Oedipus]
    • description: words of slave, once he was asked to solve the problem.
    • source: Terence, Andria 1.2
  • “Lovers’ quarrels are the renewal of love”
    • latin: [Amantium irae amoris integratio est]
    • source: Terence, Andria 555
  • “He who is first in time is first in right”
    • latin: [Potior est, qui prior est]
    • source: Terence, Phormio II, 3
  • “Do not do what is done”
    • latin: [Actum ne agas]
    • source: Terence, Phormio II, III, 72
  • “Said and done”
    • latin: [Dictum, factum]
    • source: Terence, Andria 2, 3, 7
  • “(the) strong (ones), Fortune helps”
    • latin: [Fortis fortuna adiuvat]
    • source: Terence, Phormio, I, 4
  • “Strictest law means greatest hardship”
    • latin: [Ius summum saepe summast malitia]
    • source: Terence, Heauton Timorumenos, 796
  • “These days flattery wins friends, truth begets hatred”
    • latin: [Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit]
    • source: Terence, Andria 68
  • “The wolf in the story”
    • latin: [Lupus in fabula!]
    • source: Terence, Adelphoe
  • “Alas! three whole days to wait!”
    • latin: [Heu! universum triduum!]
    • source: Terence, Eunuchus II, I, 17
  • “Lovers are lunatics”
    • latin: [Amantes amentes]
    • source: Terence, Andria
  • “Of my friends I am the only one left”
  • “I know the nature of women; when you will they won’t, when you won’t they long for it”
    • latin: [Novi ingenium mulierum: nolunt ubi velis, ubi nolis cupiunt ultro]
    • source: Terence, Eunuchus IV
  • “It is with human life as with a game of dice: if the throw you with for happens not to come up, that which does come up by chance, you must correct by art”
    • latin: [Ita uitast hominum, quasi quom ludas tesseris:si illud quod maxume opus est iactu non cadit, illud quod cecidit forte, id arte ut corrigas.]
    • source: Terence, Brothers IV

Quotes of Terence

Scipio Africanus the Younger

(Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Minor, 185 – 129 BCE) – Roman commander from the Third Punic War:

  • “How can I, who have so many times heard the battle shout of the enemy without feeling fear, be disturbed by the shouts of men like you, to whom Italy is only a stepmother”
    • latin: [Et cum omnis contio adclamasset, hostium, inquit, armatorum totiens clamore non territus, qui possum vestro moveri, quorum noverca est Italia?]
    • source: Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, II, 4


(Lucius Accius, 170 – 85 BCE) – poeta:

  • “Let them hate, so long as they fear”
    • latin: [Oderint, dum metuant]
    • description: words of Caligula about Romans.
    • source: Accius, Atreus

Lucius Cornelius Sulla

(Lucius Cornelius Sulla, 138 – 78 BCE) – Roman dictator, representative of optimates:

  • “Have your way and take him; only bear in mind that the man you are so eager to save will one day deal the death blow to the cause of the aristocracy, which you have joined with me in upholding; for in this Caesar there is more than one Marius”
    • latin: [vincerent ac sibi haberent, dum modo scirent eum, quem incolumem tanto opere cuperent, quandoque optimatium partibus, quas secum simul defendissent, exitio futurum; nam Caesari multos Marios inesse]
    • description: Sulla’s words about Julius Caesar, in the face of politicians’ pleas to spare Caesar’s life. Caesar had family ties with Gaius Mariuss – Sulla’s rival.
    • source: Suetonius, Gaius Julius Caesar, 1

Lucius Cassius Longinus

(2nd – 1st century BCE) – Roman judge and politician:

  • “To whom might it be for a benefit?”
    • latin: [Cui bono fuerit?]
    • description: recommended question – regarding the identification of suspected crime, which should be asked during the trial. It expresses the view that crimes are oftentimes committed to benefit their perpetrators, especially financially.
    • source: Cicero, Pro Roscio Amerino, 84, 86

Marcus Terentius Varro

(Marcus Terentius Varro, 116 – 27 BCE)Roman writer and scholar, legate and commander:

  • “The Roman conquers by sitting still”
    • latin: [Romanus sedendo vincit]
    • description: a reference to the virtues of the Romans who succeed through diligence and patience.
    • source: Varro, De re rustica, ks. 2, rozdz. II

Pompeius the Great

(Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, 106 – 48 BCE)Roman politician and military commander; optimates supporter:

  • “We are contending for liberty and country”
    • description: words taken from Pompey’s speech, addressed to the army, before the battle of Pharsalus in 48 BCE.
    • source: Appian of Alexandria, The Civil Wars, II, 72
  • “Why do you keep praising the laws before me when I am wearing a sword?”
    • description: in 82 BCE Pompey went to Sicily as Sulla’s general in order to regain the island from the hands of Gaius Marius’ supporters. Pompey regained control of the island, and when the city dwellers began to comment on his judgment, he replied with these words. Other version of words: Cease quoting laws to us that have swords girt about us!
    • source: Plutarch, Pompey, 10
  • “We have to sail, we do not have to live”
    • latin: [Navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse]
    • description: when Rome was experiencing a food crisis, Pompey became the head of the grain supply to Rome. When he tried to bounce off the shore with delivery, a storm broke out at sea. The crew was so scared that they were afraid to sail out into the wide sea. At that time Pompey was to prove his dedication to saving the starving Roman masses with these words.
    • source: Plutarch, Pompey, 50



(Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106 – 43 BCE) – speaker, politician and philosopher:

  • “Friends share everything”
    • latin: [Amicorum omnia sunt communia]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, 16
  • “Nature has not brought us into the world to act as if we were created for play or jest, but rather for earnestness and for some more serious and important pursuits. We may, of course, indulge in sport and jest, but in the same way as we enjoy sleep or other relaxations, and only when we have satisfied the claims of our earnest, serious tasks”
    • latin: [Neque enim ita generati a natura sumus, ut ad ludum et iocum facti esse videamur, ad severitatem potius et ad quaedam studia graviora atque maiora. ludo autem et ioco uti illo quidem licet, sed sicut somno et quietibus ceteris tum, cum gravibus seriisque rebus satis fecerimus]
    • source: Cicero, On Duties, I.103
  • “But certainly there is nothing better, or more excellent, or more beautiful than the world”
    • latin: [Atqui certe nihil omnium rerum melius est mundo, nihil praestantius, nihil pulchrius, nec solum nihil est]
    • source: Cicero, De natura deorum, II
  • “Problem requiring an Archimedes”
    • latin: [πρόβλημα Ἀρχιμήδειον est]
    • description: problem difficult to solve
    • source: Cicero, Ad Atticum, 12, 4
  • “Arguments to be weighed, not counted”
    • latin: [Argumenta non numeranda, sed ponderanda sunt]
    • source: Cicero, De oratore, II, 76
  • “We are slaves of the law so that we may be able to be free”
    • latin: [Legum servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Cluentio, 53.146
  • “For not only is Fortune blind herself, but as a rule she even blinds those whom she has embraced”
    • latin: [Non enim solum ipsa fortuna caeca est, sed eos etiam plerumque efficit caecos, quos complexa est]
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia, 54
  • “The whole life of philosophers is the meditation of death”
    • latin: [Tota philosophorum vita commentatio mortis est]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestiones, II.30
  • “Virtue is perfected reason”
    • latin: [virtus est perfecta ratio]
    • source: Cicero, De legibus, I, 16, 45
  • “To conceal is one thing; to be silent is another thing”
    • latin: [Aliud est celare, aliud tacere]
    • source: Cicero, De officiis, III, 14
  • “What he sees frequently causes him no astonishment even though he does not know how it happened. If something happens which he never saw before he considers it a portent”
    • latin: [Quod crebro videt non miratur, etiamsi cur fiat nescit. Quod ante non vidit, id si evenerit, ostentum esse censet]
    • source: Cicero, De Divinatione, II. 22
  • “Nothing can possibly seem expedient that is not morally right”
    • latin: [Quod honestum non est, id ne utile quidem]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, 78
  • “A man’s own manner and character is what most becomes him”
  • “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”
    • latin: [Equi donati dentes non inspiciuntur]
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, 15, 17
  • “The greatest theater for virtue is conscience”
    • latin: [Nullum theatrum virtuti conscientia maiorest]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanarum disputationum omnes, I.64
  • “The health of the people should be the supreme law”
    • latin: [Salus populi suprema lex]
    • source: Cicero, De Legibus, III, III, VIII
  • “Nothing is good, except what is honorable, nothing evil, except what is disgraceful”
    • latin: [Nihil bonum nisi quod honestum, nihil malum nisi quod turpe]
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, 10.4.4
  • “Good men would prosper and bad men come to grief”
    • latin: [Bene bonis, male malis]
    • source: Cicero, De Natura Deorum, III, 32, 80
  • “Use is the best master”
    • latin: [Usus magister est optimus]
    • source: Cicero, De Oratore, III
  • “Parents are dear, children dear, relations, friends. But our country alone has embraced all the dearest ties of all”
    • latin: [Cari sunt parentes, cari liberi, propinqui, familiares, sed omnium caritates patria una complexa est]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, I, XVII
  • “Other I”
    • latin: [Alter ego]
    • description: Cicero described this way a friend, who in his opinion is “the greatest of all the gifts from the gods”.
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia
  • “To commit the same error twice”
    • latin: [Bis ad eundem lapidem offendere]
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, 10, 20, 2
  • “Philosophy is the art of life”
    • latin: [Ars est philosophia vitae]
    • source: Cicero, De finibus, III, 4
  • “Philosophy is the cultivation of the soul”
    • latin: [Cultura animi philosophia est]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, II, 5
  • “When to an excellent and admirable natural disposition there is added a certain system and training of education, then from that combination arises an extraordinary perfection of character”
    • latin: [Cum ad naturam eximiam et illustrem accessit ratio quaedam conformatioque doctrinae, tum illud nescio quid praeclarum ac singulare existere]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Archia, 15
  • “When they remain quiet, they actually approve of my conduct”
    • latin: [Cum quiescunt, probant]
    • description: Cicero’s words against Catilina about the assembled senators.
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, I 21
  • “The roots of stupidity are very deep”
  • “Hunger is the best cook”
    • latin: [Fames est optimus coquus]
  • “Hannibal at the gates”
    • latin: [Hannibal ad portas!]
    • source: Cicero, Philippicae 1, 5, 11
  • “History is life’s teacher”
    • latin: [Historia magistra vitae est]
    • source: Cicero, De Oratore, II, 36
  • “By what other voice, too, than that of the orator, is history, the witness of time, the light of truth, the life of memory, the directress of life, the herald of antiquity, committed to immortality?”
    • latin: [Historia vero testis temporum, lux veritatis, vita memoriae, magistra vitae, nuntia vetustatis, qua voce alia nisi oratoris immortalitati commendatur?]
    • source: Cicero, De Oratore, II, 36
  • “Names are hateful”
    • latin: [Nomina sunt odiosa]
    • description: names should not be mentioned.
  • “For it is not the written but natural law, that it is lawful to repel force with force”
    • latin: [Est enim ea non scripta, sed nata lex, quod vim vi repellere licet]
  • “When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now? Do not the nightly guards placed on the Palatine Hill—do not the watches posted throughout the city—does not the alarm of the people, and the union of all good men—does not the precaution taken of assembling the senate in this most defensible place—do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present, have any effect upon you? Do you not feel that your plans are detected? Do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge which every one here possesses of it? What is there that you did last night, what the night before— where is it that you were—who was there that you summoned to meet you—what design was there which was adopted by you, with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted? Shame on the age and on its principles!”
    • latin: [Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia? Nihilne te nocturnum praesidium Palati, nihil urbis vigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil concursus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum ora voltusque moverunt? Patere tua consilia non sentis, constrictam iam horum omnium scientia teneri coniurationem tuam non vides? Quid proxima, quid superiore nocte egeris, ubi fueris, quos convocaveris, quid consilii ceperis, quem nostrum ignorare arbitraris? O tempora, o mores!]
    • description: first speech in the Roman Senate on October 8, 63 BCE.
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, I, 1
  • “It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others, and to forget his own”
    • latin: [Est proprium stultitiæ aliorum vitia cernere, oblivisci suorum]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, III.30
  • “I am Roman citizen”
    • latin: [Civis Romanus sum]
    • description: by saying these words, a Roman citizen evaded the trial outside his home country.
    • source: Cicero, In Verrem 5, 57, 147
  • “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”
    • latin: [Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?]
    • source: Cicero, Orator, 120
  • “Any man is liable to a mistake; but no one but a downright fool will persist in error”
    • latin: [Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare]
    • source: Cicero, The Twelfth Philippic, II
  • “Excess of liberty either in nations or in individuals turns into an excess of servitude”
    • latin: [Nimiaque illa libertas et populis et privatis in nimiam servitutem cadit]
    • source: Cicero, De Re Publica, I 68
  • “For even if the allotted space of life be short, it is long enough in which to live honourably and well”
    • latin: [Breve tempus aetis satis longum est ad bene honestumque vivendum]
    • source: Cicero, Cato Maior De Senectute, 70
  • “The one who suffers has a memory”
  • “When they remain silent, they cry out”
    • latin: [Cum tacent, clamant]
    • description: silence is more eloquent than speech.
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, I, 3
  • “We are slaves of the law so that we may be able to be free”
  • “Therefore, true friendships are very hard to find among those whose time is spent in office or in business of a public kind. For where can you find a man so high-minded as to prefer his friend’s advancement to his own?”
    • latin: [Amicitiae difficillimae reperiuntur in iis, qui in honoribus reque publica versantur. Ubi enim istum invenies, qui honorem amici anteponat suo?]
    • source: Cicero, Laelius de amicitia, 64
  • “Surely nothing is more vital than the clear realization that we are born for justice”
    • latin: [Nihil est profecto praestabilius, quam plane intellegi, nos ad iustitiam esse natos]
    • source: Cicero, De Legibus, I.28
  • “Nothing blooms forever; generation succeeds generation”
    • latin: [Nihil enim semper floret, aetas succedit aetati]
    • source: Cicero, Philippics, 11.39
  • “Not to be greedy is wealth”
  • “Therefore, we do not use the proverbial “fire and water” on more occasions than we use friendship”
    • latin: [Itaque non aqua, non igni, ut aiunt, locis pluribus utimur quam amicitia]
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia, VI.22
  • “There is nothing more unbearable than a fool who is prospering”
  • “For no part of life, neither public affairs nor private, neither in the forum notr at home, neither when acting on our own nor in dealings with another, can be free from duty”
    • latin: [Nulla enim vitae pars neque publicis neque privatis neque forensibus neque domesticis in rebus, neque si tecum agas quid, neque si cum altero contrahas]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, I.4
  • “I never yet heard of an old man that forgot where he had hid his treasure”
    • latin: [Nec vero quemquam senem audivi oblitum, quo loco thesaurum obruisset]
    • source: Cicero, De Senectute, 7
  • “There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it”
    • latin: [Nihil tam absurde dici potest quod non dicatur ab aliquo filosophorum]
    • source: Cicero, De Divinatione, II, 58.
  • “For not only is Fortune blind herself, but as a rule she even blinds those whom she has embraced”
    • latin: [Non enim solum ipsa Fortuna caeca est sed eos etiam plerumque efficit caecos quos complexa est]
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia, 54
  • “That no individual, or combination of individuals, should be allowed to become too powerful; that politics is a professon, not a pastime for dilettantes”
    • description: Cicero in book.
    • source: Robert Harris, Dictator
  • “Let arms yield to the toga, let the victor’s laurel yield to the orator’s tongue”
    • latin: [Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea laudi]
    • description: let there be a peace
    • source: Cicero, De officiis, I, 22.
  • “Let him drink or depart”
    • latin: [Aut bibat aut abeat!]
    • description: wording emphasizing the nature of Roman banquets.
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, V, 41
  • “Never less alone than when alone”
    • latin: [Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, III.1
  • “No one is so old as to think that he cannot live one more year”
    • latin: [Nemo enim est tam senex qui se annum non putet posse vivere]
    • source: Cicero, Cato Maior de Senectute, 24
  • “Shame on the age and on its principles!”
    • latin: [O tempora! O mores!]
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, I, 1
  • “He has left, absconded, escaped and disappeared”
    • latin: [Abiit, evasit, excessit, erupit]
    • description: Cicero’s famous description of Catiline’s escape in the second Catiline oration.
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, II, 1, 1
  • “A friend in need is a friend indeed”
    • latin: [Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur]
    • description: quoting Ennius.
    • source: Cicero, Laelius de Amicitia, 17, 64
  • “The sinews of war, unlimited money”
    • latin: [Nervi belli, pecunia infinita]
    • source: Cicero, Philippics, V, II, 5
  • “Indeed, all rules respecting it are obvious to common view; for who is ignorant that it is the first law in writing history, that the historian must not dare to tell any falsehood, and the next, that he must be bold enough to tell the whole truth? Also, that there must be no suspicion of partiality in his writings, or of personal animosity?”
    • latin: [Nam quis nescit primam esse historiae legem, ne quid falsi dicere audeat? Deinde ne quid veri non audeat? Ne quae suspicio gratiae sit in scribendo? Ne quae simultatis?]
    • description: knows as: “The first law for the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice”.
    • source: Cicero, De Oratore, II.XV.62
  • “Good for whom?”
    • latin: [Cui bono (fuerit)?]
    • description: Roman judge Lucius Cassius Longinus recommended using this question when examining the cases.
    • source: Cicero, Pro Milone, 12
  • “Poets are born such, orators become such”
    • latin: [Poetae nascuntur, oratores fiunt]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Archia, 8
  • “A room without books is like a body without a soul”
    • latin: [Postea vero quam Tyrannio mihi libros disposuit, mens addita videtur meis aedibus]
    • description: the sentence is known as the modern interpretation of Cicero’s text to Atticus: “Moreover, since Tyrannio has arranged my books for me, my house seems to have had a soul added to it”.
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, 4.8
  • “A letter has no blushes”
    • latin: [Epistola (enim) non erubescit]
    • source: Cicero, Listy, 5, 12
  • “Work hardens one against pain”
  • “A friend is, as it were, a second self”
  • “Friend is a second self”
    • latin: [Amicus est tamquam alter ego]
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad familiares, 7,5.1
  • “I hear Socrates saying that the best seasoning for food is hunger; for drink, thirst”
    • latin: [Socratem audio dicentem, cibi condimentium essa famem, potionis sitim]
    • source: Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, II. 28
  • “Our country ought to be dearer to us than ourselves”
    • latin: [Decet cariorem esse patriam nobis quam nosmet ipsos]
    • source: Cicero, De Finibus, 3.64
  • “Habit is second nature”
    • latin: [Consuetudo (quasi) altera natura]
    • source: Cicero, De finibus, 5, 25, 74
  • “Advice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journey’s end”
  • “From things to be carried old age draws away”
    • latin: [A rebus gerendis senectus abstrahit]
    • source: Cicero, Cato Maior De senectute, VI
  • “Fear is not a long-term teacher of duty”
    • latin: [Timor, non diuturnus magister offici]
    • source: Cicero, Philippicae, 90.XXXVI
  • “Philosophy is the art of life”
    • latin: [Ars est philosophia vitae]
    • source: Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, III 7, 26
  • “Rich is the one who wishes no more than he has”
    • latin: [Dives est, cui tanta possesio est, ut nihil optet amplius]
    • source: Cicero, Paradoxa Stoicorum, 6
  • “In time of war the Muses fall silent”
    • latin: [Inter arma silent Musae]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Milone, IV.11
  • “W czasie wojny milczą prawa”
    • latin: [Inter arma enim silent leges]
    • description: later version of Cicero words.
    • source: Cicero, Pro Milone, IV.11
  • “I see the wolf”
    • latin: [Video lupum]
  • “With oars and sails”
    • latin: [Remis velisque]
    • description: with full speed.
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 3
  • “Choose who you love”
  • “Take the sun out of the universe when they deprive life of friendship, than which we have from the immortal gods no better, no more delightful boon”
    • latin: [Solem enim e mundo tollere videntur, qui amicitiam e vita tollunt, qua nihil a dis immortalibus melius habemus, nihil iucundius]
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia, 47
  • “To kindle one fire by another”
    • latin: [Ab igne ignem]
    • source: Cicero, De officiis, 52
  • “Fight for altars and homes”
  • “The crux (or puzzle) of critics”
    • latin: [Crux criticorum]
    • source: Cicero, Pro milone, 12
  • “Life is brief, glory everlasting”
    • latin: [Vitae brevis cursus, gloriae sempiternus]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Sestius, 21.47
  • “To live is to think”
    • latin: [Vivere est cogitare]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 5.38.112
  • “They have lived”
    • latin: [Vixere]
    • description: with this word, Cicero decided on execution of the conspirators who were accused of participating in the famous conspiracy of Catiline. What is more, those words used superstitious Romans to prevent an unfortunate calling of death at meetings.
    • source: Plutarch, Cicero, 22.2
  • “If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need”
    • latin: [Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit]
    • description: Cicero in a letter to a friend Varro states that this is enough for a successful meeting.
    • source: Cicero, Fam. 9.1

Quotes of Cicero

Gaius Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar

(Gaius Iulius Caesar, 100-44 BCE) – politician, general, dictator and writer:

  • “It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience”
    • latin: [Qui se ultro morti offerant facilius reperiuntur quam qui dolorem patienter ferant]
    • source: Juliusz Cezar, Commentarii de bello Gallico, VII.77
  • “Do you not think it is matter for sorrow that while Alexander, at my age, was already king of so many peoples, I have as yet achieved no brilliant success?”
    • description: written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Caesar, 11
  • “Gaul is a whole divided into three parts”
    • latin: [Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres]
    • source: Gaius Julius Caesar, Commentarii de bello Gallico
  • “Even you, Brutus?”
    • description: those words are Shakespeare’s invention. In fact, he was supposed to say, “You too, child?”
    • latin: [Et tu, Brute?]
    • source: William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, III, 1
  • “The die has been cast”
    • latin: [Alea iacta est]
    • description: Menander’s poem allegedly repeated by Caesar when crossing the Rubicon. Caesar was to say these words in Greek.
    • source: Suetonius, Julius Caesar, 32
  • “Robberies which are committed beyond the boundaries of each state bear no infamy, and they avow that these are committed for the purpose of disciplining their youth and of preventing sloth”
    • latin: [Latrocinia nullam habent infamiam, quae extra fines cuiusque civitatis fiunt, atque ea iuventutis exercendae ac desidiae minuendae causa fieri praedicant]
    • description: about Germans, emphasizing their bad nature.
    • source: Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico, VI.23
  • “I have you, Africa”
    • latin: [Teneo te, Africa]
    • description: Caesar’s words as he rolled over in front of his soldiers as he stepped off the ship off the coast of Africa.
    • source: Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar, 59
  • “My wife should be as much free from suspicion of a crime as she is from a crime itself”
    • latin: [Quoniam meos tam suspicione quam crimine iudico carere oportere]
    • description: in this way, Julius Caesar justified the dismissal of his wife, Pompeia. Caesar believed that she was compromised by Publius Clodius, who in disguise got to her house on the day of the Good Goddess, reserved only for women. Used also in form: “Because my family should not only be free from guilt, but even from the suspicion of it”.
    • source: Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar, 74
  • “I am not much in fear of these fat, long-haired fellows, but rather of those pale, thin ones”
    • description: about Cassius and Brutus plotting against him. Written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Caesar, 62
  • “From a common infirmity of human nature, that we are more flushed with confidence, or more vehemently alarmed at things unseen, concealed, and unknown, as was the case then”
    • latin: [Communi fit vitio naturae, ut invistatis atque incognitis magis confidamus vehementiusque exterreamur]
    • source: Gaius Julius Caesar, Commentarii belli civilis II, 2.4
  • “I came; I saw; I conquered”
    • latin: [Veni, vidi, vici!]
    • description: during his triumph over Pontus, he had an inscription bearing these words carried before him. In this way, Caesar referred to his rapid victory over the king of Pontus Farnaces at Zela.
    • source: Suetonius, Caesar 37
  • “In the end, it is impossible not to become what others believe you are”
  • “What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also”
    • latin: [Quae volumus, ea credimus libenter, at quae sentimus ipsi, reliquos sentire speramus]
    • source: Gaius Julius Caesar, Commentarii belli civilis II, 27.2
  • “You carry Caesar and Caesar’s fortune”
    • latin: [Caesarem vehis, Caesarisque fortunam]
    • description: words to captain of the boat.
    • source: Plutarch, Caesar 38, 3
  • “I would rather be the first man here than the second man in Rome”
    • description: about a small Alpine town. Written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Caesar, 11
  • “I love treason but hate a traitor”
    • description: written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Romulus, 17

Quotes of Julius Caesar

Cornelius Nepos

(Cornelius Nepos, 100 – 24 BCE) – Roman historian and biographer:

  • “The mother of a cautious person is not accustomed to weep”
    • latin: [Neque sine causa dici matrem timidi flere non solere]
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Thrasybulus, 2
  • “No government is safe unless fortified by goodwill”
    • latin: [Nullum imperium tutum, nisi benevolentia munitum]
    • description: about death of Titus Pomponius Atticus.
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Dion, 5
  • “So that he seemed to depart not from life, but from one home to another”
    • latin: [Ut non ex vita, sed ex domo in domum videretur migrare]
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, 22
  • “Peace is obtained by war”
    • latin: [Nam paritur pax bello]
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Epaminondas, 5
  • “Hateful is the power, and pitiable is the life, of those who wish to be feared rather than loved”
    • latin: [Quam invisa sit singularis potentia et miseranda vita qui se metui quam amari malunt]
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Dion, 9



(Titus Lucretius Carus, 99 – 55 BCE) – poet and philosopher:

  • “Life isn’t given to anyone, but just given on loan to everyone”
    • latin: [Vitaque mancipio nulli datur, omnibus usu]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III, 971
  • “For just as children tremble and fear all
    In the viewless dark, so even we at times
    Dread in the light so many things that be
    No whit more fearsome than what children feign,
    Shuddering, will be upon them in the dark.”

    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III
  • “Nothing arises from nothing”
    • latin: [Ex nihilo nihil fit]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, I
  • “Some nations rise, others diminish […] and like runners carry on the torch of life”
    • latin: [Augescunt aliae gentes aliae minuuntur […] et quasi cursores vitai lampada tradunt]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, II, 77/79
  • “From the bottom of the chest”
    • latin: [Ab imo pectore]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, 1.148–156
  • “Nothing comes from nothing”
    • latin: [De nihilo nihil]
    • description: the maxim attributed to the Greek philosopher Parmenides. A reference to cosmology that existence is eternal, has no beginning and no end, and is the only one.
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, 3.57
  • “Golden sayings”
    • latin: [Aurea dicta]
    • description: this is how the poet describes his teacher’s words.
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III, 12

Quotes of Lucretius

Cato the Younger

(Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis, 95 – 46 BCE) – Roman politician and stoic philosopher, living in accordance with integrity:

  • “Now, I am master of myself”
    • description: before suicide. Senator Cato the Younger, after the siege of Carthage by Caesar, committed suicide, sticking the dagger in the chest and tearing the wound with his own hands. Apparently, Cato did not want to witness the fall of the republic. The words were given in the source, written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Cato the Younger, 70
  • “If you live properly, don’t worry about what the evil ones say”
    • latin: [Cum recte vivis, ne cures verba malorum]
  • “I would not be beholden to a tyrant, for his acts of tyranny. For it is but usurpation in him to save, as their rightful lord, the lives of men over whom he has no title to reign”
    • descritpion: instructing Lucius Caesar, after the defeat at Tapsus. Words given in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Cato the Younger, 66
  • “I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid”
    • descritpion: Cato’s response to the accusation that he did not present his speeches to others at a young age. Words given in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Cato the Elder, 4

Quotes of Cato the Younger



Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus, 86 – 35 BCE) – historian and writer:

  • “Small communities grow great through harmony, great ones fall to pieces through discord”
  • “Necessity makes even the timid brave”
    • latin: [Necessitas etiam timidos fortes facit]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 52
  • “[People] hold one thing hidden in the heart, and the opposite thing at the tip of one’s tongue”
    • latin: [Aliud clausum in pectore, aliud in lingua promptum habent]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 10
  • “Such proceedings [Citizens’ disagreement] have often ruined powerful states”
    • latin: [Discordia civium plerumque magnas civitates pessumdedit]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Jugurthinum, 42
  • “To like and dislike the same things, this is what makes a solid friendship”
    • latin: [Nam idem velle atque idem nolle, ea demum firma amicitia est]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 20
  • “Covetous of the property of others and prodigal of his own”
    • latin: [Alieni appetens, sui profusus]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 5
  • “Plenty of eloquence, not enough wisdom”
    • latin: [Satis eloquentiae, sapientiae parum]
    • description: about Catiline
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 5
  • “For the fame of riches and beauty is fickle and frail, while virtue is eternally excellent”
    • latin: [Nam divitiarum et formae gloria fluxa atque fragilis est, virtus clara aeternaque habetur]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 1
  • “All our power lies in both mind and body; we employ the mind to rule, the body rather to serve; the one we have in common with the Gods, the other with the brutes”
    • latin: [Sed nostra omnis vis in animo et corpore sita est; animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur; alterum nobis cum dis, alterum cum beluis commune est]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 1
  • “But when sloth has introduced itself in the place of industry, and covetousness and pride in that of moderation and equity, the condition of a state is altered together with its morals; and thus authority is always transferred from the less to the more deserving”
    • latin: [Verum ubi pro labore desidia, pro continentia et aequitate libido atque superbia invasere, fortuna simul cum moribus immutatur. Ita imperium semper ad optimum quemque a minus bono transfertur]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 2

Quotes of Sallust

Marcus Junius Brutus

Marcus Junius Brutus

(Marcus Iunius Brutus, 85 – 42 BCE) – politician:

  • “Thus always to tyrants”
    • latin: [Sic semper tyrannis!]
    • descriiption: it is often believed that these words were first spoken by Marcus Junius Brutus after the murder of Julius Caesar. According to Plutarch Brutus was not able to say anything, as after the assassination senators ran away from the Senate.
  • “The Xanthians, suspecting my kindness, have made their country the grave of their despair; the Patareans, trusting themselves to me, enjoy in all points their former liberty; it is in your power to choose the judgment of the Patareans or the fortune of the Xanthians”
    • description: words in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Brutus, 2



(Gaius Valerius Catullus, 84 – 54 BCE) – poet:

  • “Thus the virgin, as long as she remains intact, so long she is dear to her people”
    • latin: [Sic virgo, dum intacta manet, dum cara suis est]
    • source: Catullus, Poem 62
  • “Nothing is more silly than a silly smile”
    • latin: [Risu inepto res ineptior nulla est]
    • source: Catullus, Poem 39
  • “I hate, I love”
    • latin: [Odi et amo]
    • source: Catullus, Poem 85
  • “Hail and farewell”
    • latin: [Ave atque vale]
    • source: Catullus, Poem 101



(Publius Vergilius Maro, 70 – 19 BCE) – poet:

  • “Woman is ever a fickle and changeable thing”
    • latin: [Varium et mutabile semper femina]
    • source: Virgil, Aeneid, IV, 569-570
  • “Time flies”
    • latin: [Tempus fugit]
    • source: Virgil, Georgics, III, 284
  • “The one safety for the vanquished is to abandon hope of safety”
    • latin: [Una salus victis, nullam sperare salutem]
    • source: Virgil, Aeneid, II 354
  • “Everyone is dragged on by their favorite pleasure”
    • latin: [Trahit sua quemque voluptas]
    • source: Virgil, Eclogue II 65
  • “Love is the same in all”
    • latin: [Amor omnibus idem]
    • source: Virgil, Georgics, III
  • “Love conquers all things”
    • latin: [Amor vincit omnia]
    • source: Virgil, Eclogue, X
  • “May you arise (as) an avenger from our bones!”
    • latin: [Exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor]
    • source: Virgil, Aeneid, IV, 625
  • “Spare the vanquished and subdue the proud”
    • latin: [Parcere subiectis et debellare superbos]
    • source: Virgil, Aeneid, VI, 847-853
  • “Rumor grows as it goes (Virgil)”
    • latin: [Fama crescit eundo]
    • source: Virgil, Aeneid, IV, 175
  • “Work conquers all”
    • latin: [Labor omnia vincit]
    • source: Virgil, Georgics, I, 145-146
  • “Fortunate is he, who is able to know the causes of things”
    • latin: [Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas]
    • source: Virgil, Georgics, II, 5.490
  • “You, O Roman, govern the nations with your power- remember this! These will be your arts – to impose the ways of peace, To show mercy to the conquered and to subdue the proud”
    • latin: [Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento; hae tibi erunt artes; pacisque imponere morem, parcere subiectis, et debellare superbos]
    • source: Virgil, Aeneid, 851–853
  • “Trust in one experienced”
    • latin: [Experto credite]
    • source: Virgil, Aeneid, XI.283

Quotes of Virgil

Publilius Syrus

(Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE) – Roman mime and writer:

  • “Money is put to good use when it is used wisely**”
    • latin: [Bona imperante animo bono est pecunia]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A good reputation keeps also in dark times its own gloss”
    • latin: [Bona fama in tenebris proprium splendorem tenet]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “There is good shipping that connects honest people**”
    • latin: [Bona est bonos quem iungit navigatio]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The one has compassion is well protected**”
    • latin: [Bona comparat praesidia misericordia]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Whoever is right is not afraid of any judge**”
    • latin: [Bona causa nullum iudicem verebitur]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “With allure – not on command – sweet Love arises**”
    • latin: [Blanditia non imperio fit dulcis Venus]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “He conquers twice who conquers himself in victory”
    • latin: [Bis vincit qui se vincit in victoria]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “You wander twice when you submit to the erring one**”
    • latin: [Bis peccas, cum peccanti obsequium commodas]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “He is doubly destroyed who perishes by his own arms”
    • latin: [Bis interimitur, qui suis armis perit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Twice miserable is the one who was happy before”
    • latin: [Bis ille miser est ante qui felix fuit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Gratitude will be doubled if you voluntarily offered**”
    • latin: [Bis fiet gratum, quod opus est, ultro si offeras]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “To die at someone else’s wish is to die twice**”
    • latin: [Bis emori est alterius arbitrio mori]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The kind man even questions his own motive for giving”
    • latin: [Benignus etiam causam dandi cogitat]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The relationship of kind souls is the best relationship**”
    • latin: [Benevoli coniunctio animi maxima est cognatio]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “To often do favors teaches others how to return them”
    • latin: [Beneficium saepe dare, docere est, reddere]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Someone who doesn’t know how to do a favor shouldn’t ask for one”
    • latin: [Beneficium qui nescit dare, iniuste petit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The one who says he has done a favor is seeking one”
    • latin: [Beneficium qui dedisse se dicit, petit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The one who gives quickly gives a double benefit to the needy”
    • latin: [Beneficium egendi bis dat qui dat celeriter]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “If you are blessing worthy people, you are committing the whole world to gratitude**”
    • latin: [Beneficium dignis ubi des omnes obliges]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Whoever does good to a worthy man does good to himself**”
    • latin: [Beneficium dando accepit qui digno dedit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “To accept a favor is to sell one’s freedom”
    • latin: [Beneficium accipere libertatem est vendere]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “He receives the most favors who knows how to return them”
    • latin: [Beneficia plura recipit, qui scit reddere]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Only bad or foolish people consider a boon as a gift**”
    • latin: [Beneficia donari aut mali aut stulti putant]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A benefit received quickly is never forgotten**”
    • latin: [Benefici numquam cito dati obliviscere]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “This well lived who could die when he wanted to**”
    • latin: [Bene vixit is qui potuit cum voluit mori]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The culprit, by bribing the judge, rightly loses money**”
    • latin: [Bene perdit nummos, iudici cum dat nocens]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “It is good when the pain disappears with the loss of joy**”
    • latin: [Bene perdis gaudium ubi dolor pariter perit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “We approach the gods the fastest by noble deeds**”
    • latin: [Bene factis proximae ad deos accedimus]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “He sleeps well who is not conscious that he sleeps ill”
    • latin: [Bene dormit, qui non sentit quam male dormiat]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Good ideas, even when they escape our attention, do not disappear**”
    • latin: [Bene cogitata si excidunt, non occidunt]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Well thought-out things can often turn wrong**”
    • latin: [Bene cogitata saepe ceciderunt male]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “To have a good name is a second patrimony”
    • latin: [Bene (vulgo) audire alterum patrimonium est]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “No one ought to be mean, especially not the old”
    • latin: [Avidum esse oportet neminem, minime senem]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A miser does nothing right except when he dies”
    • latin: [Avarus nisi cum moritur, nil recte facit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The miser is himself the cause of his misery”
    • latin: [Avarus ipse miseriae causa est suae]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “It’s the miser, not the wise man, whom a loss pains”
    • latin: [Avarus damno potius quam sapiens dolet]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A greedy mind is satisfied with no amount of gain”
    • latin: [Avarus animus nullo satiatur lucro]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Money excites greed, it does not satisfy”
    • latin: [Avarum irritat, non satiat pecunia]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “You will easily discover the miser when you are not the one**”
    • latin: [Avarum facile capias, ubi non sis item]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Can we wish a miser anything worse than a long life?**”
    • latin: [Avaro quid mali optes nisi vivat diu?]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The miser has no life save death delayed”
    • latin: [Avaro non est vita, sed mors, longior]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “For the miser, his own nature is a bitter punishment”
    • latin: [Avaro acerba poena natura est sua]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “For the humiliated, help is an insult**”
    • latin: [Auxilium profligatis contumelia est]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Union gives strength to the humble”
    • latin: [Auxilia humilia firma consensus facit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A woman either hates or loves: there is nothing in between”
    • latin: [Aut amat aut odit mulier, nil est tertium]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “When gold argues the cause eloquence is impotent”
    • latin: [Auro suadente nihil potest oratio]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Audacity augments courage; hesitation fear”
    • latin: [Audendo virtus crescit, tardando timor]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Whoever is afraid of himself suffers constant torment**”
    • latin: [Assidua ei sunt tormenta qui se ipsum timet]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Be careful what you can lose**”
    • latin: [Aspicere oportet, quidquid possis perdere]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Talent is not needed where success is achieved by chance**”
    • latin: [Ars non ea est quae casu ad effectum venit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “When a woman is openly bad, she then is at the best”
    • latin: [Aperte mala cum est mulier, tum demum est bona]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “An old woman when she sports makes a sweetheart of herself to death”
    • latin: [Anus cum ludit, morti delicias facit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The stupid old man did not live long, but he was long**”
    • latin: [Annosus stultus non diu vixit diu fuit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A soul that knows fear will find a safe way out**”
    • latin: [Animus vereri qui scit, scit tuta ingredi]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Virtuous women choose their husbands with their hearts, not with their eyes**”
    • latin: [Animo virum pudicae, non oculo eligunt]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Whoever wants to be a noble person should have control over the heart and stomach”
    • latin: [Animo ventrique imperare debet qui frugi esse vult]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Keep your feelings under control, so that your feelings do not control you”
    • latin: [Animo imperato ne tibi animus imperet]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “When mind rules, money is also a good**”
    • latin: [Animo imperante fit bonum pecunia]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A wise man will be master of his mind. A fool will be its slave”
    • latin: [Animo imperabit sapiens, stultus serviet]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “One must not trust at all a mind in pain”
    • latin: [Animo dolenti nil oportet credere]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Small table makes food safer**”
    • latin: [Angusta capitur tutior mensa cibus]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Everyone inquires if he is rich, no one asks if he is good”
    • latin: [An dives omnes quaerimus, nemo an bonus]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The wounds of love can only be healed by the one who made them”
    • latin: [Amoris vulnus idem, qui sanat, facit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “It is time, not the mind, that puts an end to love”
    • latin: [Amori finem tempus, non animus facit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Love, like a tear, rises from the eye, sets upon the breast”
    • latin: [Amor, ut lacrima, ab oculo oritur, in pectus cadit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Love to inaction can cause inner anxiety”
    • latin: [Amor otiosae causa sollicitudinis]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Love cannot be mixed with fear”
    • latin: [Amor misceri cum timore non potest]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Love can’t be wrested from one, but may slip away”
    • latin: [Amor extorqueri non pote, elabi potest]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “We choose to love, we do not choose to stop loving”
    • latin: [Amor animi arbitrio sumitur, non ponitur]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The loss that is unknown is no loss at all”
    • latin: [Amissum quod nescitur non amittitur]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Losing a friend is the greatest of losses”
    • latin: [Amicum perdere est damnorum maximum]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A friend must not be injured, even in jest”
    • latin: [Amicum laedere ne joco quidem licet]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Misfortune shows whether you have a true friend or a friend by name only**”
    • latin: [Amicum an nomen habeas, aperit calamitas]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Nothing can be got better than a faithful friend**”
    • latin: [Amico firmo nihil emi melius potest]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Trust is the only bond of friendship**”
    • latin: [Amicitiae coagulum unicum est fides]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Friendship always benefits, love sometimes injures”
    • latin: [Amicitia semper prodest amor et nocet]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Friendship could also become a source of harm to oneself”
    • latin: [Amicis ita prodesto, ne noceas tibi]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “If you should endure the vices of your friend, you would make (them) yours”
    • latin: [Amici vitia si feras, facias tua]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Know well, but take no offense at the manners of a friend”
    • latin: [Amici mores noveris, non oderis]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Love your father, if he is just; if he is otherwise, bear with him”
    • latin: [Ames parentem, si aequus est: si aliter, feras]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Love is a sweet fruit to youth, but a crime for an old man”
    • latin: [Amare iuveni fructus est, crimen seni]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Even a god finds it hard to love and be wise at the same time”
    • latin: [Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The anger of lovers is what brings love together”
    • latin: [Amantium ira amoris integratio est]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The oath of love carries no punishment with it”
    • latin: [Amantis ius iurandum poenam non habet]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A lover is like a torch – blazes the more he’s moved”
    • latin: [Amans, sicut fax, agitando ardescit magis]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Those in love, troubled by suspicions, resembles a daydreaming person**”
    • latin: [Amans quod suspicatur, vigilans somniat]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Those in love know with certainty what they’re after but are blind to anything sensible”
    • latin: [Amans quid cupiat scit, quid sapiat non vidit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “An angry lover tells himself many lies”
    • latin: [Amans iratus multa mentitur sibi]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “What we obtain merely by asking is not really our own”
    • latin: [Alienum est omne, quicquid optant evenit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Debt is bitter servitude to a free man”
    • latin: [Alienum aes homini ingenuo acerba est servitus]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Whoever defends someone else’s cause is as if in the role of an accomplice”
    • latin: [Alienam qui orat causam, se culpat reum]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Whoever defends someone else’s cause is as if in the role of an accomplice”
    • latin: [Alienam qui orat causam, se culpat reum]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Other people’s things are more pleasing to us, and ours to other people”
    • latin: [Aliena nobis, nostra plus aliis placent]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The better a gambler is in his art, the worse he is”
    • latin: [Aleator quanto in arte est melior, tanto est nequior]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Cleverness conceals the sodomite, but his age reveals him”
    • latin: [Aetas cinaedum celat, aetas indicat]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The man whose luck is fair enough gives ruin a wide berth”
    • latin: [Affatim aequa cui Fortuna est interitum longe effugit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “There are some remedies worse than the disease”
  • “You die every time you lose someone who is dear to you”
    • latin: [Homo totiens moritur, quotiens amittit suos]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Good for man is death when it ends life’s miseries”
    • latin: [Bona mors est homini, vitae quae exstinguit mala]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae, 67
  • “Good courage in a bad circumstance is half of the evil overcome”
    • latin: [Bonus animus in re mala dimidium est mali]
    • description: assigned also to Plautus.
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “He gives twice who quickly gives”
    • latin: [Bis dat, qui cito dat]
    • description: help given quickly is much more important.
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae, CCXXXV
  • “Fate had different plans”
    • latin: [Dis aliter visum est]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “When you love, you are not wise, and when you are wise, you don’t love”
    • latin: [Cum ames, non sapias, cum sapias, non ames]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Fortune makes a fool of him whom she favors too much”
    • latin: [Stultum facit fortuna, quem perdere vult]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A small debt produces a debtor, a large one, an enemy”
    • latin: [Leve æs alienum debitorem facit, grave inimicum]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Each day succeeding is the student of the one preceding”
    • latin: [Discipulus est prioris posterior dies]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “The eyes are blind when the mind works on other things”
    • latin: [Caeci sunt oculi, cum animus alias res agit]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “A friendship that can end never really began”
  • “We lose things certain in pursuing things uncertain”
    • latin: [Certa amittimus, dum incerta petimus]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “It is only the ignorant who despise education”
  • “Money alone is the ruling principle of all things”
    • latin: [Pecunia una regimen est rerum omnium]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Admonish your friends secretly, but praise them openly”
    • latin: [Amicos secreto admone, palam lauda]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “With the good man anger is quick to die”
    • latin: [Bonum ad virum cito moritur iracundia]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “In quarreling, the truth is always lost”
  • “The man whom many people fear must fear many people”
    • latin: [Multos timere debet, quem multi timent]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “He conquers twice who conquers himself when he is victorious”
    • latin: [Bis vincit, qui se vincit in victoria]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “Our life is short but is made longer by misfortunes”
    • latin: [Brevis ipsa vita est, sed malis fit longior]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae
  • “An angry man is again angry with himself when he returns to reason”
    • latin: [Iratus, cum ad se rediit, sibi tum irascitur]
    • source: Publilius Syrus, Sententiae

Quotes of Publilius Syrus



(Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65 – 8 BCE) – poet:

  • “He who is greedy is always in want”
  • “Even if you cast out nature with pitchforks, it will always return”
    • latin: [Nature expellas furca, tamen usque recurret]
    • source: Horace, Epistles I.X.24
  • “Seize the day”
    • latin: [Carpe diem]
    • source: Horace, Carmina, 1, 11, 8
  • “They change their sky, not their soul, who rush across the sea”
    • latin: [Coelum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt]
    • source: Horace, Epistula XI.9
  • “Nothing is impossible for humankind”
    • latin: [Nil mortalibus ardui est]
    • source: Horace, Odes, I 3
  • “In our foolishness, we assail heaven itself”
    • latin: [Caelum ipsum petimus stuititia]
    • source: Horace, Odes, I 38
  • “Anger is a brief madness”
    • latin: [ira furor brevis est]
    • source: Horace, Epistles 1.2.62
  • “Remember in difficult matters to keep a level mind”
    • latin: [Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem]
    • source: Horace, Odes 2.3.1
  • “When a person envies another’s lot, it is natural for him to be discontented with his own”
    • latin: [Cui placet alterius, sua nimirum est odio sors]
    • source: Horace, Epistles, XIV
  • “He who attacks an absent friend, or who does not defend him when spoken ill of by another; that man is a dark character; you, Romans, beware of him”
    • latin: [Absentem, quo rodit amicum, qui non defendit alio culpante, solutos qui capiat risus hominum famamque dicacis, fingere qui non visa potest, comissa tacere qui nequit, hic niger est, hunc tu, Romane caveto!]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I, 4, 81
  • “The one who saves a man against his will does the same as if he killed him”
    • latin: [invitum qui servat, idem facit occidenti]
    • source: Horace, De Arte Poetica, 453
  • “Dare to know”
    • latin: [Sapere aude]
    • source: Horace, Epistles, I
  • “Shall for the fire its thorns and thistles yield”
    • latin: [Neglectis urenda filix innascitur agris]
    • source: Horace, Satires, 1.3
  • “The naked truth”
    • latin: [Nuda veritas]
    • description: a fact containing the essential content
    • source: Horace, Odes
  • “Marvel at nothing”
    • latin: [Nil admirari]
    • description: in meaning “to be surprised by nothing”
    • source: Horace, Epistulae, 1,6,1
  • “Never despair…”
    • latin: [Nil desperandum]
    • source: Horace, Odes, I, VII, 27
  • “I do not hate the man, but his vices”
    • latin: [Hominem non odi, sed eius vitia]
    • description: assigned also to Martial
  • “It does not sink despite the opposite fortunes”
    • latin: [Adversis rerum immersabilis undis]
    • description: own translation from Polish.
    • source: Horace, Epistles
  • “Not all of me will die”
    • latin: [Non omnis moriar]
    • source: Horace, Carmina 3/30:6
  • “I hate the common masses and avoid them”
    • latin: [Odi profanum vulgus et arceo]
    • source: Horace, Odes, III. 1
  • “It is wretched to be found out”
    • latin: [Deprendi miserum est]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I
  • “A dog will never be driven away from a greasy hide”
    • latin: [Canis a corio nunquam absterrebitur uncto]
    • source: Horace, Satires 2.5.83
  • “Why do you laugh? Change only the name and this story is about you”
    • latin: [Quid rides? Mutato nomine et de te fabula narrator]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I, 1, 69
  • “From the egg right to the apples”
    • latin: [Ab ovo usque ad mala]
    • description: from start to finish. Romans started dining with eggs and finish feasts with apples.
    • source: Horace, Satires, 1.3
  • “Control your temper”
    • latin: [Compesce mentem]
    • source: Horace, Odes, 1.16
  • “I hate the common masses and avoid them”
    • latin: [Odi profanum vulgus et arceo]
    • source: Horace, Odes, 3.1
  • “He who has begun is half done: dare to know!”
    • latin: [Dimiduim facti, qui coepit habet]
    • source: Horace, Epistulae 1,2
  • “Know well, but take no offense at the manners of a friend”
    • latin: [Amici mores noveris, non oderis]
    • source: Horace, Satires, 1.3.32
  • “Prawego, niezachwianego męża nie zwiedzie żaden tyran w przemocy ani tłum w gwałtach bezprawia”
  • “We are dust and shadows”
    • latin: [Pulvis et umbra sumus]
    • source: Horace, Odes, IV 7
  • “You are in vain in wine or in a dream to escape”
    • latin: [Jam vino quaerens, jam somno fallere curam]
    • description: own translation from Polish
    • source: Horace, Satires, VIII.114
  • “The useful with the agreeable”
    • latin: [Utile dulci miscere]
    • source: Horace, Ars Poetica
  • “To swear by anyone’s precepts”
    • latin: [Iurare in verba magistri]
    • source: Horace, Epistulae, I, 1,14
  • “Sen tłumi miłosne zapały”
  • “Słowo dowcipne lepiej wiele rzeczy rozstrzyga niż poważne”
  • “Słowo raz wypowiedziane nie powraca”
  • “It is fair for someone asking for pardon for sins to forgive in return”
    • latin: [Aequum est peccatis veniam poscentem reddere rursus]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I, 3.75
  • “The miser is ever in want”
    • latin: [Semper avarus eget]
    • source: Horace, Epistulae I, 2, 56
  • “It is sweet and fitting to die for the homeland”
    • latin: [Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori]
    • source: Horace, Odes III.2.13
  • “Stara miłość nie rdzewieje”
    • source: Leksykon złotych myśli, wyboru dokonał Krzystof Nowak, Warsawa 1998
  • “He gains everyone’s approval who mixes the pleasant with the useful”
    • latin: [Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci]
    • source: Horace, Ars Poetica, 343
  • “Now is the time for drinking”
    • latin: [Nunc est bibendum]
    • source: Horace, Odes, I.37
  • “Men do not, in short, all admire or love the same things”
    • latin: [Denique non omnes eadem mirantur amantque]
    • source: Horace, Epistulae II.58
  • “The wolf attacks with his fang, the bull with his horn”
    • latin: [Dente lupus, cornu taurus petit]
    • source: Horace, Satires, II, I.52
  • “There is a limit in things”
    • latin: [Est modus in rebus]
    • source: Horace, Satires, 1, 1 106
  • “With a disdainful tooth”
    • latin: [Dente superbo]
    • description: with disregard
    • source: Horace, Sermonum , 2,87
  • “A man can speak the truth with a smile”
    • latin: [Ridentem dicere verum]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I.i.24-25
  • “For any madness of their kings, it is the Greeks who take the beating”
    • latin: [Quidquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi]
    • description: literally “what kings in mercy do focuses on the Greeks”; about Agamemnon and Achilles.
    • source: Horace, Epistulae 1, 2, 14
  • “I have erected a monument more lasting than bronze”
    • latin: [Exegi monumentum aere perennius]
    • source: Horace, Carmina III 30, 1

Quotes of Horace

Marcus Agrippa

(Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, 63 – 12 BCE) – great general and politician:

  • “Nobody can bury their mistakes as solidly as a doctor”

Octavian Augustus

Octavian Augustus

(Gaius Octavius, 63 BCE – 14 n.e.) – Roman emperor in the years 27 BCE – 14 CE:

  • “Have I have played my part well in the comedy of life?”
    • description: one of the words spoken on his deathbed
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 99
  • “That is done quickly enough which is done well enough”
    • latin: [Sat celeriter fieri quidquid fiat satis bene]
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 25
  • “Live mindful of our wedlock, Livia, and farewell!”
    • latin: [Livia, nostri coniugii memor vive, ac vale!]
    • description: according to Suetonius, Augustus died with these words on his lips, embracing Livia
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 99
  • “On the Greek Kalends”
    • latin: [Ad calendas Graecas]
    • description: in the Greek calendar (which, incidentally, was very different depending on the polis), there were no characteristic Roman specifications: Kalends, Nones and Ides. August, when he doubted that the debtor would pay off his debt, used to say that he would pay for the Greek calendars, so “for Holy Never” – there were no calendars in the Greek calendar.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 87
  • “May it be my privilege to establish the State in a firm and secure position, and reap from that act the fruit that I desire; but only if I may be called the author of the best possible government, and bear with me the hope when I die that the foundations which I have laid for the State will remain unshaken”
    • latin: [Ita mihi salvam ac sospitem rem p. sistere in sua sede liceat atque eius rei fructum percipere, quem peto, ut optimi status auctor dicar et moriens ut feram mecum spem, mansura in vestigio suo fundamenta rei p. quae iecero]
    • description: the words of Augustus said in one of the proclamations that characterized his rule
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 28
  • “Having attained my highest hopes, Fathers of the Senate, what more have I to ask of the immortal gods than that I may retain this same unanimous approval of yours to the very end of my life”
    • latin: [Compos factus votorum meorum, p. c., quid habeo aliud deos immortales precari, quam ut hunc consensum vestrum ad ultimum finem vitae mihi perferre liceat?]
    • description: Augustus’ response to the name received from the Senate “Father of the Country”.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 58
  • “The noisomeness of far-fetched words”
    • latin: [Reconditorum verborum]
    • description: a scornful term for outdated expressions which Augustus detested.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 86
  • “More haste, less speed”
    • latin: [Festina lente]
    • description: Augustus spoke those words in Greek, believing that it was not fitting for a leader to make hasty and ill-considered decisions
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 25
  • “The play is over”
    • latin: [Acta est fabula]
    • description: the words ending a theater play in ancient Rome. These words were said to have been uttered by Octavian on his deathbed. In the work of Suetonius, however, we find “Since well I’ve played my part, all clap your hands” (Augustus, 99)
  • “Quicker than you can cook asparagus”
    • latin: [Velocius quam asparagi conquantur]
    • description: Octavian used to say those words to illustrate the smooth performance
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 87
  • “You must die”
    • latin: [Moriendum esse]
    • description: words spoken by Augustus in response to opponents’ pleas for favor after the capture of Perusia
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 15
  • “Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!”
    • latin: [Vare, redde mihi legiones!]
    • description: words spoken after the defeat in the Teutoburg Forest (9 CE), in which Publius Varus lost three legions. This defeat shook Augustus strongly,; he did not shave or but hair for several months, and he celebrated each anniversary in mourning.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 23
  • “Present a petition with as much hesitation as he would a penny to an elephant”
    • latin: [Quod sic sibi libellum porrigere dubitaret, quasi elephanto stipem]
    • description: playfully rebuked the petitioners who approached him with fear
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 53
  • “Those who slew my father I drove into exile, punishing their deed by due process of law, and afterwards when they waged war upon the republic I twice defeated them in battle”
    • latin: [Qui parentem meum interfecerunt, eos in exilium expuli iudiciis legi timis ultus eorum facinus, et postea bellum inferentis rei publicae vici bis acie]
    • source: Res Gestae divi Augusti, 2
  • “Found it built of brick and left it in marble”
    • latin: [Marmoream se relinquere, quam latericiam accepisse]
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 28
  • “My wish was to see a king, not corpses”
    • latin: [Regem voluisse videre, non mortuos]
    • description: after defeating Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BCE, Octavian gained power in Egypt. During his stay in Alexandria, he decided to visit the tomb of Alexander the Great. The future emperor, as a sign of respect, was to put a crown on the head of the Macedonian king and general and shower him with flowers. Then he was asked whether he also wanted to visit the Ptolemaic tomb; Augustus was to answer with the words just mentioned.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 18
  • “I have contrived this to lead the citizens to require​ me, while I live, and the rulers of later times as well, to attain the standard set by those worthies of old”
    • latin: [Commentum id se, ut ad illorum vitam​25 velut ad exemplar et ipse, dum viveret, et insequentium aetatium principes exigerentur a civibus]
    • description: Augustus ordered that the original inscriptions aas well as the statues of the initiators of the buildings, will be preserved when the renovation was completed.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 31
  • “You surely did not kill your father, did you?”
    • latin: [Certe patrem tuum non occidisti?]
    • description: During his reign, Augustus had personal control over court sentences. For the patricide in ancient Rome, the condemned man was beaten to the blood with rods (virgis sanguineis), then he was sewed into a sack together with a monkey, a dog, a rooster and a snake, and thrown into the river. However, for the punishment to be fulfilled, the accused had to plead guilty. Octavian, in order to dispel all doubts, asked such a question.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 33
  • “My son-in‑law Agrippa has taken good care, by building several aqueducts, that men shall not go thirsty”
    • latin: [Satis provisum a genero suo Agrippa perductis pluribus aquis, ne homines sitirent]
    • description: when the people complained about the lack of or expensive wine.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 42
  • “I would rather have been Phoebe’s father”
    • latin: [Maluisse se ait Phoebes​ patrem fuisse]
    • description: reaction to the news that the freedwoman Phoebe​, a friend of Julia, Augustus’ daughter, had hanged herself. Julia brought disgrace to August with her promiscuous way of life.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 65
  • “The birds will soon settle that question”
    • latin: [Iam istam volucrum fore potestatem]
    • description: when the captives from Philippi asked him for a dignified burial after their execution.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus, 13

Quotes of Augustus

Titus Livy

Titus Livy

(Titus Livius, 59 BCE – 17 CE) – historian:

  • “Woe to the vanquished”
    • latin: [Vae victis]
    • description: words to be said by the leader of the Gauls in 390 BCE during the siege of Rome. The Romans decided to pay the ransom; however, when they noticed that the weights were forged and too heavy, Brennus drew his sword, dropped it on the scale, and exclaimed, “Vae victis!”.
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, V 48
  • “Rich enemy was the prize of the victor, however poor.”
    • latin: [Ditem hostem quamvis pauperis victoris praemium esse]
    • description: words to be spoken by Roman military commanders during the war with the Samnites, who were to be characterized by beautiful and ornate armor.
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, IX 40
  • “Experience the teacher of fools”
    • latin: [Stultorum iste magister est]
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XXII 39
  • “Hannibal before the gates”
    • latin: [Hannibal ante portas!]
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 23,16,2
  • “He who scorns false glory shall possess the true”
    • latin: [Vanam gloriam qui spreverit veram habebit]
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XXII.39
  • “Better late than never”
    • latin: [Potius sero quam numquam]
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 4.2
  • “There is danger in delay”
    • latin: [Periculum in mora]
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita
  • “From the Founding of the City”
    • latin: [Ab urbe condita]
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita
  • “Words instruct, examples lead”
    • latin: [Verba docent, exempla trahunt]
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita
  • “Because a necessary war is a just war and where there is hope only in arms, those arms necessary war is a just war and where there is hope only in arms, those arms are holy”
    • latin: [Iustum enim est bellum quibus necessarium, et pia arma, ubi nulla nisi in armis spes est]
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita IX, 1
  • “You, Hannibal, know how to gain a victory; you do not know how to use it”
    • latin: [Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis]
    • description: Maharbal was to say full sentence, “Assuredly, no one man has been blessed with all God’s gifts. You, Hannibal, know how to gain a victory; you do not know how to use it”.
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XXII, 51
  • “In grave difficulties, and with little hope, the boldest measures are the safest”
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita
  • “Friendships should be immortal, enmities mortal”
    • latin: [Amicitiæ immortales, mortales inimicitias debere esse]
    • source: Titus Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XL.46

Quotes of Titus Livy

Livia Drusilla

Livia Drusilla

(Livia Drusilla, 58 BCE – 29 CE) – empress of Rome in the years 27 BCE – 14 CE and the wife of Octavian Augustus:

  • “Scrupulously chaste herself, doing gladly whatever pleased him, not meddling with any of his affairs, and, in particular, by pretending neither to hear nor to notice the favourites of his passion”
    • description: when asked how she influenced Octavian.
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman history, 58.2
  • “To a chaste woman such men are in no way different from statues”
    • description: keeping Octavian from getting angry when they once saw naked men on a walk.
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman history, 58.2

Seneca the Elder

Seneca the Elder

Rhetor (Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 55 BCE – 40 CE) – rhetorician and writer:

  • “To err is human”
    • latin: [Errare humanum est]
    • source: Seneca the Elder, Controversiae IV, 3
  • “People’s voice is sacred”
    • latin: [Sacra populi lingua est]
    • source: Seneca the Elder, Controversiae I, 1
  • “He who receives a benefit with gratitude repays the first installment on his debt”
    • latin: [Qui grate beneficium accipit, primam eius pensionem solvit]
    • source: Seneca the Elder, On Benefits II.22
  • “Nothing is infinite”
    • latin: [Nihil infinitum est]
    • source: Seneca the Elder, Suasoriae 1, 3
  • “Some medications are more dangerous than the disease”**
    • latin: [Quaedam remedia graviora ipsis peniculis sunt]
    • source: Seneca the Elder, Controversiae VI, 7


(Sextus Propertius, 50 – 15 BCE) – Roman elegiac poet:

  • “Never change when love has found its home”
    • latin: [Neque assueto mutet amore torum]
    • source: Propertius, Elegies I, i, 36
  • “Love is naked, and loves not beauty gained by artifice”
    • latin: [Nudus Amor formam non amat artificem]
    • source: Propertius, Elegies I, ii, 8
  • “Let each man pass his days in that wherein his skill is greatest”
    • latin: [Qua pote quisque, in ea conterat arte diem]
    • source: Propertius, Elegies II, i, 46
  • “In great things, it is enough even to have willed”
    • latin: [In magnis et voluisse sat est]
    • source: Propertius, Elegies II, 10, 6
  • “Let no one be willing to speak ill of the absent”
    • latin: [Absenti nemo non nocuisse velit]
    • source: Propertius, Elegies II, XIX, 32
  • “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”
    • latin: [Semper in absentes felicior aestus amantes]
    • source: Propertius, Elegies II, xxxiii, 43



(Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BCE – 17 lub 18 CE) – poet:

  • “Time, devourer of everything”
    • latin: [Tempus edax rerum]
    • source: Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.234-6
  • “Times are changed, we also are changed with them”
    • latin: [Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis]
    • source: Ovid, Fasti, VI
  • “Whether they give or refuse, it delights women just the same to have been asked”
  • “You can learn from anyone even your enemy”
    • latin: [Fas est et ab hoste doceri]
    • source: Ovid, Metamorphoses, IV.428
  • “If you want to be loved, be lovable”
    • latin: [Ut ameris, amabilis esto]
    • source: Ovid, Art of Love
  • “The end crowns the work”
    • latin: [Finis coronat opus]
    • description: the phrase appears literally in Herodian’s “Roman History” (2.85) – “Exitus acta probat”. Probably the “finis coronat opus” is a medieval version.
  • “A water drop hollows a stone not by force, but by falling often”
    • latin: [Gutta cavat lapidem non vi, sed saepe cadendo]
    • source: Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto, IV, 10
  • “Love is a kind of military service”
    • latin: [Militiae species amor es]
    • source: Ovid, Ars Amatoria
  • “Abundance makes me poor”
    • latin: [Inopem me copia fecit]
    • source: Ovid, Metamorphoses, III, 466
  • “Forbidden fruit always tastes the best”
  • “Sooner would the birds be silent in spring, the grasshoppers in summer, sooner would the Mænalian dog turn its back upon the hare, than the fair, attentively courted, would resist the youth”
    • latin: [Vere prius volucres taceant, aestate cicadae, Maenalius lepori det sua terga canis, femina quam iuveni blande temptata repugnet]
    • source: Ovid, Ars Amatoria, I.745
  • “True art is to conceal art”
    • latin: [Ars est celare artem]
    • source: Ovid, Ars Amatoria
  • “Here I am the barbarian, and I’m understood by no one, and the stupid Getae make fun of the Latin words which I speak”
    • latin: [Barbarus hic ego sum, qui non intellegor ulli et vident stolidi verba latine Getae]
    • description: Ovid’s reflection in exile in Tomis on the Black Sea. In not entirely clear circumstances, Augustus sentenced the poet to a life-long compulsory stay in a town in the borderlands inhabited by the Getae.
    • source: Ovid, Tristia, V.10.37
  • “I see and approve of the better, but I follow the worse”
    • latin: [Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor]
    • source: Ovid, Metamorphoses, VII.20-1
  • “Resist the beginnings (and consider the end)”
    • latin: [Principiis obsta]
    • source: Ovid, Remedia Amoris, 91
  • “One who is allowed to sin, sins less”
    • latin: [Cui peccare licet, peccat minus]
    • source: Ovid, Amores, III.4

Quotes of Ovid



(Tiberius Claudius Nero , 42 BCE – 37 CE) – emperor in the years 14 – 37 CE:

  • “It is of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not to flay them”
    • latin: [Boni pastoris est tondere pecus, non deglubere]
    • source: Suetonius, Tiberius, 32
  • “What to write to you, Conscript Fathers, or how to write, or what not to write at this time, may all the gods and goddesses pour upon my head a more terrible vengeance than that under which I feel myself daily sinking, if I can tell”
    • latin: [Quid scribam vobis, p[atres]. c[onscripti]., aut quo modo scribam, aut quid omnino non scribam hoc tempore, dii me deaeque peius perdant quam cotidie perire sentio, si scio]
    • source: Suetonius, Tiberius, 67
  • “A great number of flies came about the sore places of a man that had been wounded; upon which one of the standers-by pitied the man’s misfortune, and thinking he was not able to drive those flies away himself, was going to drive them away for him; but he prayed him to let them alone: the other, by way of reply, asked him the reason of such a preposterous proceeding, in preventing relief from his present misery; to which he answered, “If thou drivest these flies away, thou wilt hurt me worse; for as these are already full of my blood, they do not crowd about me, nor pain me so much as before, but are somewhat more remiss, while the fresh ones that come almost famished, and find me quite tired down already, will be my destruction. For this cause, therefore, it is that I am myself careful not to send such new governors perpetually to those my subjects, who are already sufficiently harassed by many oppressions, as may, like these flies, further distress them; and so, besides their natural desire of gain, may have this additional incitement to it, that they expect to be suddenly deprived of that pleasure which they take in it”
    • description: in response to the accusation that the same provincial governors have been held for too long.
    • source: Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII, VI, 5
  • “I say now and have often said before, Fathers of the Senate, that a well-disposed and helpful prince, to whom you have given such great and unrestrained power, ought to be the servant of the senate, often of the citizens as a whole, and sometimes even of individuals. I do not regret my words, but I have looked upon you as kind, just, and indulgent masters, and still so regard you”
    • latin: [Dixi et nunc et saepe alias, p[atres]. c[onscripti]., bonum et salutarem principem, quem vos tanta et tam libera potestate instruxistis, senatui servire debere et universis civibus saepe et plerumque etiam singulis; neque id dixisse me paenitet, et bono et aequos et faventes vos habui dominos et adhuc habeo]
    • source: Suetonius, Tiberius, 29
  • “I am holding a wolf by the ears”
    • latin: [Lupum se auribus tenere diceret]
    • description: Tiberius during his reign feared a rebellion or a coup d’état. He believed that having the title of emperor he only asked for “trouble”.
    • source: Suetonius, Tiberius, 25
  • “In a free country there should be free speech and free thought”
    • latin: [In civitate libera linguam mentemque liberas esse debere]
    • source: Suetonius, Tiberius, 28
  • “We have not enough spare time to warrant involving ourselves in more affairs; if you open this loophole you will find no time for any other business; it will be an excuse for laying everybody’s quarrels before you”
    • latin: [Non tantum, otii habemus, ut implicare nos pluribus negotiis debeamus; si hanc fenestram aperueritis, nihil aliud agi sinetis; omnium inimicitiae hoc praetexto ad vos deferentur]
    • opis: Tiberius’ reaction to the senate’s demand to bring a lawsuit against someone who spoke badly of the emperor.
    • source: Suetonius, Tiberius, 28
  • “If so and so criticizes me I shall take care to render an account of my acts and words; if he persists, our enmity will be mutual”
    • latin: [Siquidem locutus aliter fuerit, dabo operam ut rationem factorum meorum dictorumque reddam; si perseveraverit, in vicem eum odero]
    • source: Suetonius, Tiberius, 28
  • “I say now and have often said before, Fathers of the Senate, that a well-disposed and helpful prince, to whom you have given such great and unrestrained power, ought to be the servant of the senate, often of the citizens as a whole, and sometimes even of individuals. I do not regret my words, but I have looked upon you as kind, just, and indulgent masters,​ and still so regard you”
    • latin: [Dixi et nunc et saepe alias, p. c., bonum et salutarem principem, quem vos tanta et tam libera potestate instruxistis, senatui servire debere et universis civibus saepe et plerumque etiam singulis; neque id dixisse me paenitet, et bonos et aequos et faventes vos habui dominos et adhuc habeo]
    • source: Suetonius, Tiberius, 29

Quotes of Tiberius



(Aulus Cornelius Celsus, c. 25 BCE – c. 50 CE) – Roman philosopher and scientist:

  • “Just as agriculture promises nourishment to healthy bodies, so does the Art of Medicine promise health to the sick”
    • latin: [Ut alimenta sanis corporibus agricultura, sic sanitatem aegris Medicina promittit]
    • source: Celsus, De Medicina, 1
  • “The best medicament too is rest;”
    • latin: [Optimum etiam medicamentum quies estt]
    • source: Celsus, De Medicina, V.26.28

Velleius Paterculus

(Marcus Velleius Paterculus, 10 BCE – 31 CE) – historian:

  • “It follows that the greatest obstacle in the way of perfection in any work is our fickle way of passing on at frequent intervals to something else”
    • latin: [Sequiturque ut frequens ac mobilis transitus maximum perfecti operis impedimentum sit]
    • source: Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, I 17
  • “So common a failing is it for mankind to overlook every irregularity in their own case, but to make no concessions to others”
    • latin: [Adeo familiariter est hominibus omnia sibi ignoscere, nihil aliis remittere]
    • source: Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, II 30
  • “Who can adequately express his astonishment at the changes of fortune, and the mysterious vicissitudes in human affairs? Who can refrain from hoping for a lot different from that which he now has, or from dreading the one that is the opposite of what he expects?”
    • latin: [Quis fortunae mutationes, quis dubios rerum humanarum casus satis mirari queat? Quis non diversa praesentibus contrariaque expectatis aut speret aut timeat?]
    • source: Paterculus, Roman History, II 75



(Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, 19 BCE – 54 CE) – emperor in the years 41 – 54 CE:

  • “So, I’m Emperor, am I? What nonsense!”
    • description: words spoken by the main character of Robert Graves’ book “I, Claudius” after he was proclaimed emperor. Fictional words.
  • “Say not always what you know, but always know what”
  • “Now, pray, who can live without a snack”
    • latin: [Rogo vos, qui potest sine offula vivere?]
    • description: words he said when a debate was going on about the butchers and vintners
    • source: Suetonius, Claudius, 40
  • “Inasmuch as mymarriages did not turn out well, I would remain a widower, and if I did not keep my word, I would not refuse death at your hands”
    • latin: [Quatenus sibi matrimonia male cederent, permansurum se in caelibatu, ac nisi permansisset, non recusaturum confodi manibus ipsorum]
    • description: Claudius’ words to the praetorians when he learned in 48 CE when his wife Messalina had married Gaius Silius. The emperor did not believe the rumors of his wife’s promiscuity for a long time. Before that, he had been in unsuccessful relationships with Plautia Urgulanilla and Aelia Paetina.
    • source: Suetonius, Claudius, 26
  • “It had been my destiny also to have wives who were all unchaste, but not unpunished”
    • latin: [Sibi quoque in fatis esse iactavit omnia impudica, sed non impunita matrimonia]
    • description: response to freedmen’s congratulations on the conviction of the accused of adultery.
    • source: Suetonius, Claudius, 43


(Gaius Iulius Phaedrus, 15 BCE – 50 CE) – Roman fabulist:

  • “Because my name is Lion”
    • latin: [Quia nominor leo]
    • description: that was the reason the lion gave, why he owes the main part of the booty. Previousversion found in Aesop in the expression: lion’s share
    • source: Phaedrus, Fables, 1, 5
  • “Things are not always what they seem”
    • latin: [Non semper ea sunt quae videntur]
    • source: Phaedrus, Fables, IV.10.1


(Servius Sulpicius Galba, 3 BCE – 69 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 68 – 69 CE:

  • “Do your work, if this is better for the Roman people”
    • description: last words, before execution
    • source: Plutarch, Life of Galba, 27
  • “Very likely, when a mule has a foal”
    • latin: [Sane, cum mula pepererit]
    • description: when his grandfather once was doing a sacrafice because of a lightning, the eagle snatched the guts of his victim from his hands and carried it to an oak covered with acorns. At that time, the imperial authority was distinguished for the family from this behavior. Galba mockingly expressed that they would probably never receive power.
    • source: Suetonius, Life of Galba, 4
  • “No one could be forced to render an account for doing nothing”
    • latin: [Nemo rationem otii sui reddere cogeretur]
    • description: for part of Nero’s reign, Galba lived away from public offices in order not to bring the Emperor’s wrath upon himself.
    • source: Suetonius, Life of Galba, 9

Seneca the Younger

Seneca the Younger

(Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 3 – 65 CE) – Roman rhetorician, poet, philosopher:

  • “The wise man will live as long as he ought, not as long as he can”
    • latin: [Sapiens vivet quatuni debet, non vuantum potest]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Letters, LXX
  • “Let us set our own conscience fully at rest, but make no efforts to gain credit for ourselves: so long as we deserve well, let us be satisfied, even if we should be ill spoken of”
    • latin: [Conscientiae satis fiat, nil in famam laboremus: sequatur vel mala, dum bene merentis]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Ira, III.41
  • “Prosperity is not only greedy, but it also lies exposed to the greed of others”
    • latin: [Et avida felicitas est et alienae aviditati exposita]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Letter XIX
  • “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor”
    • latin: [Non qui parum habet, sed qui plus cupit, pauper est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Letter 2
  • “The wise man will live as long as he ought, not as long as he can”
    • latin: [Sapiens vivet quatuni debet, non vuantum potest]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae Morales, LXX.4
  • “It is unbearable to lose one’s native land”
    • latin: [Carere patria intolerabile est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Consolatio ad Helvium, 12.6
  • “The path of virtue is closed to no one, it lies open to all”
    • latin: [Nulli praeclusa virtus est; omnibus patet, omnes admittit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De beneficiis, 3, 18, 2
  • “For every day a little of our life is taken from us; even when we are growing”
    • latin: [Cotidie morimur, cotidie enim demitur aliqua pars vitae]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, III.24.20
  • “You must expect to be treated by others as you yourself have treated them”
    • latin: [Ab alio exspectes, alteri quod feceris]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 94.43
  • “The vices of others we have before our eyes, our own are behind our backs”
    • latin: [Aliena vitia in oculis habemus, a tergo nostra sunt]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Ira, II, XXVIII, 8
  • “Shame may restrain what law does not prohibit”
  • “The person of affliction is sacred”
    • latin: [Res sacra miser]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epigrams
  • “Man is a social animal”
    • latin: [Homo-sociale animal]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De beneficiis
  • “Man is a sacred thing for man”
    • latin: [Homo homini res sacra]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 95.33
  • “A weary man is quarrelsome”
    • latin: [Vetus dictum est a lasso rixam quaeri]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Ira, III.9
  • “To the sick, honey sometimes seems bitter”
    • latin: [Sunt enim quidam quibus morbi vitio mel amarum videatur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CIX.7
  • “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful”
  • “Grief is gradually effaced by time”
    • latin: [Dolorem dies longa consumit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Consolatione ad Marciam, 8
  • “Good does not come from evil”
    • latin: [Bonum ex malo non fit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 87.22
  • “A good man differs only in time from God”
    • latin: [Bonus tempore tantum a deo differt]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Providentia, I
  • “While the Fates allow, live cheerfully”
    • latin: [Dum fata sinunt, vivite laeti]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Hercules furens, 178
  • “There is no easy way from the earth to the stars”
    • latin: [Non est ad astra mollis e terris via]
    • description: popular paraphrased: Through hardships to the stars – Per aspera ad astra
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Hercules furens, 437
  • “A plant that is moved too often can never grow”
    • latin: [Non convalescit planta quae saepe transfertur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Letters, 2.3
  • “The name of mother is too grand and mighty”
    • latin: [Matris superbum est nomen et nimium potens]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Phaedra, 565
  • “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable”
    • latin: [Ignoranti quem portum petat, nullus suus ventus est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 71.3
  • “Hunger is not ambitious”
    • latin: [Ambitiosa non est fames]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CXIX.14
  • If you wish to be loved, love
    • latin: [Si vis amari, ama]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, IX.6
  • “A man is as wretched as he has convinced himself that he is”
    • latin: [Tam miser est quisque quam credidit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 78.14
  • “Calamity is virtue’s opportunity”
    • latin: [Calamitas virtutis occasio est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Providentia, 4.6
  • “Women (…) now that they leave their homes in order to marry others, and marry only in order to be divorced”
    • latin: [Feminae (…) exeunt matrimonii causa, nubunt repudii]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Beneficiis, 3,16,2
  • “All men are slaves to fear”
    • latin: [Omnes timori]
    • description: in usage: “Who is not a slave. Some are slaves to greed, some to ambition, all to be feared” (Alius libidini servit, alius avaritiae, alius ambitioni, omnes timori).
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 47
  • “To be everywhere is to be nowhere”
    • latin: [Nusquam est, qui ubique est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, II.2
  • “There are a few men whom slavery holds fast, but there are many more who hold fast to slavery”
    • latin: [Paucos servitus, plures servitutem tenen]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 22.11
  • “You should live for another if you would live for yourself”
    • latin: [Alteri vivas oportet, si vis tibi vivere]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 48.2
  • “The best remedy for anger is delay”
    • latin: [Maximum remedium iræ mora est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Dialogues, 4.29.1
  • “The best possible man take him who is least bad”
    • latin: [Pro optimo sit minime malus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Peace of Mind, 7,4
  • “To rule yourself is the ultimate power”
    • latin: [Imperare sibi maximum est imperium]
    • description: to emperor Nero.
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 113.31
  • “The highest good is a mind which despises the accidents of fortune, and takes pleasure in virtue”
    • latin: [Summum bonum est animus fortuita despiciens, uirtute laetus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De vita beata, IV
  • “Men learn while they teach”
    • latin: [Homines dum docent discunt]
    • description: known also as “by teaching, we learn” (Docendo discimus).
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, I.7.8
  • “There is no great genius without a tincture of madness”
    • latin: [Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Tranquillitate Animi, 15
  • “We do not learn for school, but for life”
    • latin: [Non scholae, sed vitae discimus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CVI
  • “Nothing is so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes”
    • latin: [Nihil est nec miserius nec stultius quam praetimere]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XCVIII
  • “We neither know how to bestow or how to receive a benefit”
    • latin: [Beneficia nec dare scimus nec accipere]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De beneficiis, I.1
  • “No one will be happy if tormented by the thought of someone else who is happier”
  • “Nobody is good by accident”
    • latin: [Nemo est casu bonus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, IX.LXXVI
  • “Keen edge is dulled by heavy eating”
    • latin: [Copia ciborum subtilitas animi impeditur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XV.3
  • “It is from his fellow-man that a man’s everyday danger comes”
    • latin: [Ab homine homini cotidianum periculum]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CIII.1
  • “Men love their country, not because it is great, but because it is their own”
    • latin: [Nemo enim patriam quia magna est amat, sed quia sua]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, LXVI.26
  • “The fates lead the willing and drag the unwilling”
    • latin: [Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 107.11.5
  • “Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life”
    • latin: [Vivere et singulos dies singulas vitas puta]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 101.10
  • “True joy is a serious matter”
    • latin: [Verum gaudium res severa est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXIII.4
  • “One hand washes the other”
    • latin: [Manus manum lavat]
    • description: mutually helping one another.
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Apocolocyntosis, 9, 5
  • “Him who lies down the crowd trample on”
    • latin: [Calcat iacentem vulgus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Octavia, 455
  • “It is the mind which makes men rich”
    • latin: [Animus est, qui divites facit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Consolatione ad Helviam, XI.5
  • “The other side shall be heard as well”
    • latin: [Audiatur et altera pars]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Medea, 7.42
  • “By teaching, we learn”
    • latin: [Docendo discimus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, I.7.8
  • “Many animals surpass us gracefully**”
    • latin: [A multis animalibus decore vincimur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CXXIV
  • “Ashes (death) levels everything. We are born unequal; we die equal”
    • latin: [Aequat omnes cinis; impares nascimur, pares morimur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 91.16
  • “Life is like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters”
  • “Harmony makes small things grow; lack of harmony makes great things decay”
    • latin: [Concordia res parvae crescunt, discordia vel maximae dilabuntur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XCIV.46
  • “The conditions of life alternate”
    • latin: [Alternae sunt vices rerum]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Naturales quaestiones, III.7
  • “A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature”
    • latin: [Beata est vita conveniens naturae suae]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Vita Beata, III.3
  • “To live is to fight”
    • latin: [Vivere (…) militare est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 96.5
  • “So live with men as if God saw you and speak to God, as if men heard you”
    • latin: [Vive cum hominibus tamquam deus videat, sic loquere cum deo tamquam homines audiant]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, X.5

Quotes of Seneca the Younger


(Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, c. 7 – 67 CE) – Roman general:

  • “Happy the Roman generals before my time!”
    • description: words he spoke after the campaign against Chauci was cancelled. Corbulo thus envied the freedom of the leaders of the republican era.
    • source: Tacitus, Annales, XI.20



(Titus Flavius Vespasianus, 9 – 79 CE) – emperor in the years 69 – 79 CE:

  • “I thank you, my son, for permitting me to hold office and that you have not yet dethroned me”
    • description: in a letter to his son Domitian, who freely represented his rule in Rome in his absence.
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman History, 65.2.3
  • “It serves me right for being such a fool as to want a triumph in my old age, as if it were due to my ancestors or had ever been among my own ambitions”
    • latin: [Adeoque nihil ornamentorum extrinsecus cupide appetivit, ut triumphi die fatigatus tarditate et taedio pompae non reticuerit, merito se plecti, qui triumphum, quasi aut debitum maioribus suis aut speratum umquam sibi, tam inepte senex concupisset]
    • description: words said at the age of 61, after the triumphal parde in 71 CE, in which he had to spend the entire day standing in the chariot. Above in latin full context.
    • source: Suetonius, Vespasian, 12
  • “Woe’s me. Methinks I’m turning into a god”
    • latin: [Vae, puto deus fio]
    • description: words spoken to friends when he sensed imminent death.
    • source: Suetonius, Vespasian, 23:4
  • “The base is ready”
    • latin: [Et paratam basim dicens]
    • description: when delegates came to him with the information that a huge but expensive statue of Vespasian was to be built at the cost of the state. At this information, the emperor put an empty hand so that they could put money in it, and said these words.
    • source: Suetonius, Vespasian, 23
  • “Money does not stink”
    • latin: [Pecunia non olet]
    • description: interestingly, the popular words: Pecunia non olet, meaning “money does not stink” – words that Vespasian was to say as a reaction to criticism of his son cannot be confirmed. We do not find any confirmation for those words in ancient sources and they have certainly become simply a phrase intended to emphasize that money can be earned on any business. Istead of that we find such description of situation: “When Titus found fault with him for contriving a tax upon public conveniences, he held a piece of money from the first payment to his son’s nose, asking whether its odour was offensive to him. When Titus said “No,” he replied, “Yet it comes from urine””.
    • source: Suetonius, Vespasian 23
  • “An emperor ought to die standing”
    • latin: [Imperatorem ait stantem mori oportere]
    • description: on his deathbed, when he had severe diarrhea and was completely exhausted.
    • source: Suetonius, Vespasian 24
  • “I at least am a man”
    • latin: [Ego tamen vir sum]
    • description: this was how Vespasian reacted when he heard of the words of Licinius Mucian, who bragged that he handed over power in the empire to Vespasian. In this way, Vespasian was to show his composure and forbearance.
    • source: Suetonius, Vespasian 13
  • “I would rather you had smelt of garlic”
    • latin: [Maluissem allium oboluisses]
    • description: Vespasian’s words to a young officer, smelling of perfumes, whom he had appointed.
    • source: Suetonius, Vespasian 8
  • “It serves me right for being such a fool as to want a triumph in my old age, as if it were due to my ancestors or had ever been among my own ambitions”
    • latin: [Merito se plecti, qui triumphum, quasi aut debitum maioribus suis aut speratum umquam sibi, tam inepte senex concupisset. ]
    • description: in 71 CE, after crushing the rebellion in Judea, Vespasian and his son triumphed.
    • source: Suetonius, Vespasian, 12

Quotes of Vespasian



(Gaius Claudius Caesar, 12 – 41 CE) – cesarz w latach 37 – 41 CE:

  • “I live!”
    • latin: [Vivo!]
    • description: Caligula’s last words once he laid on the ground after the blow of tribune Cherea.
    • source: Suetonius, Caligula, 13
  • “Don’t take liberties with my wife”
    • latin: [Noli uxorem meam premere]
    • description: Suetonius says that Caligula honored the wedding of Livia Orestilla with Gaius Piso with his presence. Caligula was to utter these words while participating in the wedding feast; with these words was to admonish the Piso who rests in front of him. Then he immediately abducted Livia from the feast. The next day, he announced in a public announcement that “he had got himself a wife in the manner of Romulus and Augustus” – Romulus kidnapped Sabine, and August took Livia as his wife, who was already married.
    • source: Suetonius, Caligula, 25
  • “Let them hate me, so they but fear me”
    • latin: [Oderint, dum metuant]
    • source: Suetonius, Caligula, 30
  • “Sand without lime”
    • latin: [Harenam esse sine calce]
    • description: o the works of Seneca the Younger.
    • source: Suetonius, Caligula, 53
  • “Would that the Roman people had but one neck!”
    • latin: [Utinam p. R. unam cervicem haberet!]
    • description: when the audience favored another side.
    • source: Suetonius, Caligula, 30
  • “Strike so that he may feel that he is dying”
    • latin: [Ita feri ut se mori sentiat]
    • description: Caligula did not allow the condemned man to be killed immediately. In this way he emphasized his cruelty.
    • source: Suetonius, Caligula, 30
  • “A man ought either to be frugal or Caesar”
    • latin: [Aut frugi hominem esse oportere dictitans aut Caesarem]
    • description: the words of Caligula during the feasts, when bread and golden snacks were served.
    • source: Suetonius, Caligula, 37
  • “[…] draw the sword of his nightly labours”
    • latin: [(…) se lucubrationis suae telum minabatur]
    • description: according Suetonius he said such words in anger during a public speech.
    • source: Suetonius, Caligula, 53

Quotes of Caligula



(Aulus Vitellius, 15 – 69 CE) – cesarz rzymski w roku 69 CE:

  • “The odour of a dead enemy was sweet and that of a fellow-citizen sweeter still”
    • latin: [Optime olere occisum hostem et melius civem]
    • description: after the victory over the Po River, near Cremona (Bedriacum), where he beaten Otho’s army.
    • source: Suetonius, Vitellius, 10



Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Elder

(Caius Plinius Secundus, 23 – 79 CE) – Roman writer and scientist:

  • “Not a single day without a line”
    • latin: [Nulla dies sine linea]
    • description: words spoken by the Greek painter Apelles.
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Natural history, XXXV, 84
  • “There is nothing certain, and that there is nothing more proud or more wretched than man”
    • latin: [Quasi quidquam infelicius sit homine cui sua figmenta dominantur]
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Natural history II, 7
  • “[…] how happy, how truly delightful even would life be, if we were to desire nothing but what is to be found upon the face of the earth; in a word, nothing but what is provided ready to our hands!”
    • latin: [(…) quam beata, immo vero etiam delicata esset vita, si nihil aliunde quam supra terras concupisceret, breviterque, nisi quod secum est!]
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Natural history XXXIII, 1
  • “Meaningless thunderbol”
    • latin: [Brutum fulmen]
    • description: later used as “empty threat”.
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Natural history II.43
  • “In a nutshell”
    • latin: [In nuce]
    • description: a reference to the words of Cicero, who claimed that on a small piece of parchment the text of Homer’s “Iliad” could fit in a nut shell.
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Natural history VII.21
  • “Only a doctor can kill a man with impunity”
    • latin: [Medicoque tantum hominem occidisse inpunitas summa est]
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Natural history XXIX.8
  • “Out of Africa, always something new”
    • latin: [Ex Africa semper aliquid novi]
    • description: Greek saying used in antiquity, known in the “What’s new in Africa?” version. It emphasized the uniqueness of this area.
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Natural history II, 8, 42
  • “I died from having too many doctors”
    • latin: [Turba se medicorum perisse]
    • description: a tombstone inscription of an “unfortunate” patient. Pliny emphasizes that in his time doctors often differed as to the method of treatment, which was the main loss for the patient.
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Natural history XXIX, 5
  • “With a grain of salt”
    • latin: [Cum grano salis]
    • description: with the addition of skepticism.
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Natural history XXIII, 8, 149

Quotes of Pliny the Elder

Gaius Petronius

Gaius Petronius

Arbiter (Gaius Petronius, 27 – 66 CE) – writer, poet, philosopher and politician:

  • “Almost the whole world are actors”
    • latin: [Fere totus mundus exercet histrionem]
    • source: Gaius Petronius, Satyricon
  • “He’s gone to join the majority”
    • latin: [Abiit ad plures]
    • description: meaning the dead.
    • source: Gaius Petronius, Satyricon, Cena Trimalchionis, 42, 5
  • “But an old love pinches like a crab”
    • latin: [Antiquus amor cancer est]
    • description: in the sense of: “old love does not pass”.
    • source: Gaius Petronius, Satyricon, 42
  • “Fear first made gods in the world”
    • latin: [Primus in orbe deos fecit timor]
    • source: Gaius Petronius, Satyricon, 27, 1
  • “Beware of dog!”
    • latin: [Cave canem!]
    • description: an inscription that was located in front of the entrance to some Roman houses.
    • source: Gaius Petronius, Satyricon, 29, 1
  • “The love of creative genius never made anyone rich”
    • latin: [Amor ingenii neminem umquam divitem fecit]
    • source: Gaius Petronius, Satyricon, 83, 9
  • “To strive with the winds”
    • latin: [Cum ventis litigare]
    • source: Gaius Petronius, Satyricon, 83

Quotes of Gaius Petronius



(Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, 35 – 95 CE) – a famous rhetorician and teacher in the field of pronunciation theory. The first paid rhetoric teacher from the state budget:

  • “Things which are now old, were once new”
    • latin: [Quae vetera nunc sunt, fuerunt olim nova]
    • source: Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, VIII, 3, 34
  • “Where your friends are, there is your treasure”
    • latin: [Ubi amici, ibi opes]
    • source: Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, V, 40
  • “A liar should have a good memory”
    • latin: [Mendacem oportet esse memorem]
    • source: Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, IV.2.91
  • “To teach, to delight, to move”
    • latin: [Docere, delectare, movere]
    • source: Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 10, 59
  • “Memory has been called the treasure-house of eloquence”
    • latin: [(Memoria) neque inmerito thesaurus hic eloquentiae dicitur]
    • source: Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria XI.2.2
  • “They condemn what they do not understand”
    • latin: [Damnant quod non intellegunt]
    • source: Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria X, 1, 26
  • “Your conscience is a thousand witnesses”
    • latin: [Conscientia mille testes]
    • source: Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria V.11.41

Quotes of Quintilian



(Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, 37 – 68 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 54 – 68 CE:

  • “There is no other way of enjoying riches and money than by riotous extravagance, declaring that only stingy and niggardly fellows kept a correct account of what they spent”
    • latin: [Divitiarum et pecuniae fructum non alium putabat quam profusionem, sordidos ac deparcos esse quibus impensarum ratio constaret, praelautos vereque magnificos qui abuterentur ac perderent]
    • source: Suetonius, Nero 30
  • “How I wish I had never learned to write!”
    • latin: [Quam vellem nescire litteras]
    • description: by signing a death sentence at the beginning of his reign, previously refusing to do it.
    • source: Suetonius, Nero 10
  • “Unlike all others I am suffering the unheard of and unparalleled fate of losing the supreme power while I still live”
    • latin: [Accidisse memoranti, se vero praeter ceteros inaudita et incognita pati respondit, qui summum imperium vivus amitteret]
    • description: when Galba was proclaimed emperor in Spain and servants of Nero comforted him that other rulers had experienced a similar situation.
    • source: Suetonius, Nero 42
  • “However much it may be your advice and your wish that I should return speedily, yet you ought rather to counsel me and to hope that I may return worthy of Nero”
    • latin: [Quamvis nunc tuum consilium sit et votum celeriter reverti me, tamen suadere et optare potius debes, ut Nerone dignus revertar]
    • description: Nero’s response to the pressing pleas of one of his liberators for Nero to return from Olympia to Rome.
    • source: Suetonius, Nero 23
  • “What an artist the world loses in me”
    • latin: [Qualis artifex pereo!]
    • description: words attributed to him before he died.
    • source: Suetonius, Nero 49
  • “I am at last beginning to be housed like a human being”
    • latin: [Hactenus comprobavit, ut se diceret quasi hominem tandem habitare coepisse]
    • description: he said once he entered his new palace (Domus Aurea).
    • source: Suetonius, Nero 31
  • “Wait until I deserve them”
    • latin: [Cum meruero]
    • description: his words, when the senate passed a vote of thanks to him.
    • source: Suetonius, Nero 10

Quotes of Nero

Titus Flavius

Titus Flavius

(Titus Flavius Vespasianus, 39 – 81 CE) – cesarz w latach 79 – 81 CE:

  • “Friends, I have lost a day”
    • latin: [Amici, diem perdidi]
    • description: recalling that he had done nothing good to anyone all day.
    • source: Suetonius, Titus 8
  • “I swore that I would rather be killed than kill”
    • latin: [Sed periturum se potius quam perditurum adiurans]
    • description: Titus, taking the office of the high priest (pontifex maximus), decided that, on his orders or with his knowledge, no one would die.
    • source: Suetonius, Titus 9
  • “There was no act of my life of which I had cause to repent, save one only”
    • latin: [Neque enim exstare ullum suum factum paenitendum, excepto dum taxat uno]
    • description: Titus ruled briefly, but during his reign there were numerous disasters. In 79 CE the eruption of Mount Vesuvius took place, in turn in 80 CE a dangerous fire and plague broke out in Rome, causing rumours that Titus was hated by the gods. He himself died young from an attack of fever. As Suetonius says, he had nothing to complain about, except for one thing he did not reveal.
    • source: Suetonius, Titus 10

Sextus Julius Frontinus

(ok. 40 CE – 103 CE) – Roman soldier, politician, engineer and writer:

  • “A monument is an unnecessary expense; our memory will endure if we have earned it by our life”
    • latin: [Impensa monumenti supervacua est; memoria nostra durabit si vita meruimus]
    • source: Plinius the Younger, Letters, IX, 19

Neratius Priscus

(1st century CE) – prawnik:

  • “Three make a company”
    • latin: [Tres faciunt collegium]
    • description: a rule of Roman law which presupposes the validity of deliberations when three people are present.
    • source: Digesta Iustiniani, 50, 16,85


(Marcus Manilius, 1st century CE) – poet and astrologer:

  • “To pass beyond your understanding and make yourself master of the universe”
    • latin: [Transire suum pectus mundoque potiri]
    • source: Manilius, Astronomica 4.392



(Marcus Valerius Martialis, c. 40 – c. 102-104 CE) – poet:

  • “May the earth rest lightly on you”
    • latin: [Sit tibi terra levis]
    • source: Martial, Epigrammata, 9.29.11
  • “The night with sleep, the day without a quarrel”
    • latin: [Sit nox cum somno, sit sine lite dies]
    • source: Martial, Epigrammata, 2.11.90
  • “You take payment to stay quiet”
    • latin: [Accipis, ut taceas]
    • source: Martial, Epigrammata, 1, 95

Quotes of Martial



(Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, 39 – 65 CE) – poet:

  • “Virtue increases under ever oppression”
    • latin: [Crescit sub pondere virtus]
    • source: Lucan, Pharsalia
  • “The earth holds everything that she ever brought forth”
    • latin: [Capit omnia tellus, quae genuit]
    • source: Lucan, The Civil War, VII.818.24
  • “The guilt that is committed by many must pass unpunished”
    • latin: [Quicquid multis peccatur inultum]
    • source: Lucan, Pharsalia, V.260



(Marcus Ulpius Traianus, 53 – 117 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 98 – 117 CE:

  • “Roman people are kept in line by two things above all else – the grain dole and spectacles”
    • latin: [Populum Romanum duabus praecipue rebus, annona et spectaculis, tener]
    • source: Fronto, Principia historiae, 17
  • “Take this sword, in order that, if I rule well, you may use it for me, but if ill, against me”
    • description: the words spoken to Suburanus, who was appointed Praetorian Prefect.
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman history, LXVIII.16





(Publius Cornelius Tacitus, 55 – 120 CE) – historian:

  • “By a bizarre natural quirk, find peace hateful but cherish idleness”
    • latin: [Mira diversitate naturae, cum iidem homines sic ament inertiam et oderint quietem]
    • description: about Germans.
    • source: Tacitus, Germania, 15
  • “Without anger and passion”
    • latin: [Sine ira et studio]
    • description: about writing the history without the emotions.
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, 1.1
  • “Nature has willed that every man’s children and kindred should be his dearest objects”
    • latin: [Liberos cuique ac propinquos suos natura carissimos esse voluit]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 31
  • “It is human nature to hate the man whom you have injured”
    • latin: [Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 42
  • “But Brutus and Cassius shone brighter than all by the very fact that their portraits were unseen”
    • latin: [Sed praefulgebant Cassius atque Brutus eo ipso quod effigies eorum non visebantur]
    • description: describing the approach of Romans towards Brutus and Cassius monuments during the funerary of Junia Tertia, half-sister of Marcus Junius Brutus.
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, III.76
  • “Drugs kill slower than the illness”
    • latin: [Tardiora sunt remedia quam mala]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 3
  • “Judge of elegance”
    • latin: [Arbiter elegantiarum]
    • description: with those words Tacitus describes Petronius – Roman courtier during the reign of Nero.
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, XVI.18
  • “Even the bravest men are frightened by sudden terrors”
    • latin: [Etiam fortis viros subitis terreri]
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, XV.59
  • “Rulers are mortal – the state is eternal”
    • latin: [Principes mortales, res publica aeterna]
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, III.6,3
  • “It is part of human nature to hate a man you have hurt”
    • latin: [Proprium ingenii humani est odisse, quem laeseris]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 42
  • “Everything unknown is taken as grand”
    • latin: [Omne ignotum pro magnifico]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 1.30
  • “Honorable death is better than shameful life”
    • latin: [Honesta mors turpi vita potior]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 33
  • “When the state is most corrupt, then laws are most multiplied”
    • latin: [Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges]
    • source: Tacitus, Annales, III 27
  • “They make a wasteland, they call it peace”
    • latin: [Solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 30
  • “Zwykle niewinny nie sprosta nowej zawiści”
  • “Żadna z ludzkich spraw nie jest tak niestała i przemijająca jak rozgłos potęgi, która nie na własnej opiera się sile”
  • “Lust of power is the most flagrant of all the passions”
    • latin: [Cupido dominandi cunctis affectibus flagrantior est]
    • source: Tacitus, Annales, XV.53
  • “For, if the Romans are driven out — which Heaven forbid — what will follow except universal war among all peoples?”
    • latin: [Nam pulsis, quod di prohibeant, Romanis quid aliud quam bella omnium inter se gentium existent?]
    • description: words, according to Tacitus, of the Roman commander Quintus Petilius Cerealis in June 70 CE spoken after defeating the rebellious Gauls from Lugudunum (Lyon, France).
    • source: Tacitus, Histories, IV.74

Quotes of Tacitus



(c. 50 – c. 130 CE) – philosopher, stoic:

  • “Bear and forbear”
    • latin: [Sustine et abstine]
    • description: words attibuted to Epictetus, probably basing on Epictetus, Enchiridion
  • “If you wish to make progress, then be content to appear senseless and foolish in externals, do not make it your wish to give the appearance of knowing anything”
    • source: Epictetus, Enchiridion, 13
  • “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things”
    • source: Epictetus, Enchiridion, 5
  • “Think more often of God than you breathe”
    • source: unknown
  • “First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak”
  • “Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope”
    • source: Epictetus, Enchiridion, 89
  • “We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free”
    • source: Arrian, Discourses, 2
  • “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”
    • source: Epictetus, Enchiridion
  • “When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger”

Quotes of Epictetus



Domitianus (Titus Flavius Domitianus, 51 – 96 CE) – Roman empreror in the years 81 – 96 CE:

  • “So far, at any rate, you have approved my heart and my countenance”
    • latin: [Usque adhuc certe et animum meum probastis et vultum]
    • source: Suetonius, Domitian, 18
  • “No one believed them [conspiracy] unless they had been killed”
    • latin: [Quibus de coniuratione comperta non crederetur nisi occisis]
    • description: about conspiracies against the life of emperors.
    • source: Suetonius, Domitian, 21
  • “Emperor who does not punish informers hounds them on”
    • latin: [Princeps qui delatores non castigat, irritat]
    • source: Suetonius, Domitian, 9
  • “Not even a fly”
    • latin: [Ne muscam quidem]
    • description: Domitian was known to lock himself in his office in his spare time and do nothing else but catch flies and pierce them with a sharp stylus. When once asked if there was anyone with the emperor, Vibius Crispus, the famous orator replied with these words.
    • source: Suetonius, Domitian, 3



(Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, 60 – 127 CE) – satirical poet:

  • “The censor forgives the crows and harasses the doves”
    • latin: [Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas]
    • source: Juvenal, Satires, II, 63
  • “Bread and circuses”
    • latin: [Panem et circenses]
    • source: Juvenal, Satires, 10.77–81
  • “There’s no hope of harmony if your mother-in-law is alive”
    • latin: [Desperanda tibi salva Concordia socru]
    • source: Juvenal, Satires, VI, 232
  • “The love of money increases as wealth itself increases”
    • latin: [Crescit amor nummi, quantum ipsa pecunia crescit]
    • source: Juvenal, Satires, 14.139
  • “I will have this done, so I order it done; let my will replace reasoned judgement”
    • latin: [Hoc volo, sic iubeo; sit pro ratione voluntas]
    • description: mocking words spoken by a wife to a husband who refuses to crucify an innocent slave.
    • source: Juvenal, Satires, 6, l. 223
  • “They pretend to be virtuous and live in the festival of Bacchus”
    • latin: [Curias simulant, Bacchanalia vivunt]
    • source: Juvenal, Satires, 2, 1-35, 149-170
  • “A healthy mind in a healthy body”
    • latin: [Mens sana in corpore sano]
    • source: Juvenal, Satires, 10.356

Quotes of Juvenal

Pliny the Younger

(Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, 62 – 113 CE) – writer and politician:

  • “Not many things, but much”
    • latin: [Non multa sed multum]
    • opis: in the sense of: not much, but good. Better to be thorough.
    • source: Pliny the Younger, Letters, 7.9.15.
  • “Tanto magis ne invideris; nam qui invidet minor est”
    • latin: [Yet that would be all the more reason not to be envious, for the man who envies another shows his inferiority]
    • description: Pliny condemns the behavior of some people.
    • source: Pliny the Younger, To Restitutus, VI.17


(Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, 69 – 160 CE) – writer:

  • “Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you”
    • latin: [Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant]
    • description: greeting that was to be directed by the gladiators to the emperor before the fight began. In fact, this call only concerned a one-off event – naumachia – which was organized in 52 CE on the order of the emperor Claudius in the waters intended for the drainage of the Lake Fucinus. Ancient sources do not mention other games, where gladiators would address these words to the emperor.
    • source: Suetonius, Claudius 21


(Publius Aelius Hadrianus, 76 – 138 CE) – emperor in the years 117 – 138 CE:

  • “Little soul, you charming little wanderer”
    • latin: [Animula vagula blandula]
    • description: the beginning of the poem, the authorship of which is attributed to Hadrian.
    • source: Historia Augusta

Publius Juventius Celsus

(Publius Iuventius Celsus, II wiek n.e.) – Roman lawyer:

  • “No one is obligated beyond what he is able to do”
    • latin: [Ultra posse nemo obligatur]
    • source: Celsus, Digesta, 50.17.185

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

(Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, 121 – 180 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 161 – 180 CE:

  • “Death is a cessation from the impression of the senses, the tyranny of the passions, the errors of the mind, and the servitude of the body”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.28
  • “No one loses any other life than the one he now lives, nor does one live any other life than that which he will lose”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.14
  • “But he who values a rational soul, a soul universal and fitted for political life, regards nothing else except this; and above all things he keeps his soul in a condition and in an activity conformable to reason and social life, and he co-operates to this end with those who are of the same kind as himself”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI.14
  • “God give me patience, to reconcile with what I am not able to change. Give me strength to change what I can. And give me wisdom to distinguish one from another”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II,1
  • “What is not harmful to the city does not harm the citizen either”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, V.22
  • “That which is not good for the swarm, neither is it good for the bee”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI, 54
  • “The man of ambition thinks to find his good in the operations of others; the man of pleasure in his own sensations; but the man of understanding in his own actions”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI, 51
  • “Every man is worth just so much as the things about which he busies himself”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “For the stone that has been thrown up it is no evil to come down, nor indeed any good to have been carried up”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IX.17
  • “Look not round at the depraved morals of others, but run straight along the line without deviating from it”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.18
  • “As long as you live and while you can, become good now”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II.1
  • “You are a little soul carrying about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.41
  • “How quickly all things disappear, in the universe the bodies themselves, but in time the remembrance of them; what is the nature of all sensible things, and particularly those which attract with the bait of pleasure or terrify by pain, or are noised abroad by vapoury fame; how worthless, and contemptible, and sordid, and perishable, and dead they are—all this it is the part of the intellectual faculty to observe”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II.12
  • “For whatsoever either by myself or with another I can do, ought to be directed to this only, to that which is useful and well suited to society”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.5
  • “How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.5
  • “How easy it is to repel and to wipe away every impression which is troublesome or unsuitable, and immediately to be in all tranquility”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, V.2
  • “One universe made up all that is; and one God in it all, and one principle of being, and one law, the reason shared by all thinking creatures, and one truth”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “One thing here is worth a great deal, to pass thy life in truth and justice, with a benevolent disposition even to liars and unjust men”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI.47
  • “Kindness is invincible, but only when it’s sincere, with no hypocrisy or faking”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, XI.18
  • “Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Hour by hour resolve firmly to do what comes to hand with dignity, and with humanity, independence, and justice. Allow your mind freedom from all other considerations. This you can do, if you will approach each action as though it were your last, dismissing the desire to create an impression, the admiration of self, the discontent with your lot. See how little man needs to master, for his days to flow on in quietness and piety: he has but to observe these few counsels, and the gods will ask nothing more”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “All men are made one for another: either then teach them better or bear with them”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VIII.59
  • “And, to say all in a word, everything which belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and vapour, and life is a warfare and a stranger’s sojourn, and after-fame is oblivion”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II
  • “Our life is what our thoughts make it”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.3
  • “Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IX.3
  • “A good disposition is invincible, if it be genuine”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Not waste my time on writers of histories, or in the resolution of syllogisms, or occupy myself about the investigation of appearances in the heavens”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, I
  • “You need to avoid certain things in your train of thought: Everything random, everything irrelevant. And certainly, everything self-important or malicious. You need to get used to winnowing your thoughts, so that if someone says, ‘What are you thinking about?’ you can respond at once (and truthfully) that you are thinking this or thinking that”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.38
  • “A man should be upright, not be kept upright. Our life is what our thoughts make it. Nothing happens to anyone that he can’t endure”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Live not one’s life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as the last”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.17
  • “The mind, unconquered by violent passions, is a citadel”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VIII.48
  • “Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.3
  • “Soon, you will have forgotten everything. Soon, everybody will have forgotten you”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.21
  • “It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone”
    • description: in a sense, knowing the truth is not as opposed to being ignorant.
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI.21
  • “The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in so far as it stands ready against the accidental and the unforeseen, and is not apt to fall”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.61
  • “Death is such as generation is, a mystery of nature”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.5
  • “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Within ten days thou wilt seem a god to those to whom thou art now a beast and an ape, if thou wilt return to thy principles and the worship of reason”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.16
  • “Soon, you will have forgotten everything. Soon, everybody will have forgotten you”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.21
  • “All things are linked and knitted together, and the knot is sacre”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “I’m going to be meeting with people today who talk too much – people who are selfish, egotistical, ungrateful. But I won’t be surprised or disturbed, for I can’t imagine a world without such people”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Thou canst pass thy life in an equable flow of happiness, if thou canst go by the right way, and think and act in the right way. These two things are common both to the soul of God and to the soul of man, and to the soul of every rational being: not to be hindered by another; and to hold good to consist in the disposition to justice and the practice of it, and in this to let thy desire find its termination”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, V.34
  • “Always take the short cut; and that is the rational one. Therefore say and do everything according to soundest reason”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.51
  • “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, X.16
  • “A Man’s life is dyed the color of his imagination”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Quotes of Marcus Aurelius

Septimius Severus

Septimius Severus

(Lucius Septimius Severus, 146 – 211 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 193 – 211 CE:

  • “Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, and scorn all other men”
    • description: words of Septmius Severus before death to his sons: Caracalla and Geta.
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman history, LXXVII.15
  • “I was all things; all was worthless”
    • latin: [Omnia fui et nihil expedit]
    • description: on his deathbed
    • source: Historia Augusta, 71
  • “Thou shalt hold a man that the world could not hold”
    • description: words of Septimius Severus addressed to the urn in which his ashes were later placed
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman history, LXXVII.15

Cassius Dio

(Cassius Dio Cocceianus, 155 – 229 CE) – historian:

  • “Cesar has no power over grammarians”
    • latin: [Caesar non supra grammaticos]
    • source: Cassius Dio, Tiberius 57.17



(Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus, c. 150 – 240 CE) – theologian:

  • “What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians?”
    • description: Tertullian was radically dissociating from the ancient tradition.
    • source: Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics 7
  • “For what is there more unfair than to hate a thing of which you know nothing, even though it deserve to be hated?”
    • source: Tertullian, Apology, 1
  • “And the Son of God died; it is [utterly] credible, because it is unfitting; and he was buried and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible”
    • latin: [Et mortuus est Dei Filius, prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est. Et sepultus resurrexit; certum est, quia impossibile est]
    • source: Tertullian, De Carne Christi 5
  • “As far as I know, you are not inherently Christian. The soul can become Christian, but it is not born Christian”
    • source: Tertullian, On the Testimony of the Soul 1
  • “The curse God pronounced on your sex still weighs on the world. …You are the devil’s gateway… You are the first that deserted the divine laws. All too easily you destroyed the image of God, Adam. Because you deserved death, it was the son of God who had to die”
    • description: about women.
    • source: Tertullian, On Women’s Clothing, 1:1
  • “The blood of Christians is effective seed”
    • latin: [Semen est sanguis christianorum!]
    • source: Tertullian, Apologeticus, 50:13
  • “The testimony of the soul by nature Christian!”
    • latin: [O testimonium animae naturaliter Christianae!]
    • source: Tertullian, Apologeticus, XVII, 6
  • “Men more easily believe the evil that is false, than the good which is true”
    • source: Tertullian, Ad Nationes, I, VII
  • “[This] is certain because [it] is impossible”
    • latin: [Certum est, quia impossibile est]
    • description: regarding the resurrection of Jesus
    • source: Tertullian, De Carne Christi, V
  • “Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God”
    • source: Tertullian, On Prayer
  • “Surely it is obvious enough, if one looks at the whole world, that it is becoming daily better cultivated and more fully peopled than anciently. All places are now accessible, all are well known, all open to commerce; most pleasant farms have obliterated all traces of what were once dreary and dangerous wastes; cultivated fields have subdued forests; flocks and herds have expelled wild beasts; sandy deserts are sown; rocks are planted; marshes are drained; and where once were hardly solitary cottages, there are now large cities. No longer are (savage) islands dreaded, nor their rocky shores feared; everywhere are houses, and inhabitants, and settled government, and civilized life. What most frequently meets our view (and occasions complaint), is our teeming population: our numbers are burdensome to the world, which can hardly supply us from its natural elements; our wants grow more and more keen, and our complaints more bitter in all mouths, whilst Nature fails in affording us her usual sustenance. In very deed, pestilence, and famine, and wars, and earthquakes have to be regarded as a remedy for nations, as the means of pruning the luxuriance of the human race.”
    • source: Tertullian, On the Soul
  • “Blush for your vile ways before the Christians, who have not even the blood of animals at their meals of simple and natural food; who abstain from things strangled and that die a natural death, for no other reason than that they may not contract pollution…To clench the matter with a single example, you tempt Christians with sausages of blood, just because you are perfectly aware that the thing by which you thus try to get them to transgress they hold unlawful. And how unreasonable it is to believe that those, of whom you are convinced that they regard with horror the idea of tasting the blood of oxen, are eager after blood of men; unless, mayhap, you have tried it, and found it sweeter to the taste!”
    • source: Tertullian, Apologeticus, 9

Quotes of Tertullian



Macrinus (Marcus Opellius Macrinus, 165 – 218 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 217 – 218 CE:

  • “You can’t give them what they want, but you have to give them something”
    • description: a quote from a letter to the Senate, in which the emperor informs about the dismissal of soldiers who took part in the expedition against the Parthians.





Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Bassianus, 188 – 217 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 211 – 217 CE:

  • “Nobody in the world should have money but me; and want it to bestow upon the soldiers”
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman history, LXXVIII.10
  • “Be of good cheer, mother: for as long as we have this, we shall not run short of money”
    • description: when her mother scolded Caracalla for excesses and excessive spending, he was to utter these words and point to the sword.
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman History, 78.10




(Ulpianus Domitius, 2nd century – 228 CE) – one of the greatest and most famous artists and writers of the imperial era:

  • “To a willing person, injury is not done”
    • latin: [Volenti non fit iniuria]
    • source: Digesta Iustiniani 47,10,1,5
  • “The precepts of the law are the following: to live honourably, to injure no one, to give everyone his due”
    • latin: [Iuris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere]
    • source: Digesta Iustiniani 1, 1, 10, 1
  • “No penalty without law”
    • latin: [Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege]
    • source: Digesta Iustiniani 50,16,131
  • “Consent, not physical intercourse, constitutes marriage”
    • latin: [Nuptias non concubitus, sed consensus facit]
    • source: Ulpian, Ad Sabinum (Digesta Iustiniani,
  • “Nobody endures punishment for thought”
    • latin: [Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur]
    • source: Ulpian, Ad Edictum (Digesta Iustiniani, 48.19.18)
  • “The cause is in the past, the punishment is in the future”
    • latin: [Causa in praeteritum, poena in futurum confertur]
    • source: Digesta Iustiniani, 35.1.12
  • “The law is hard, but law”
    • latin: [Dura lex, sed lex]
    • description: Roman legal principle expressing the absolute supremacy of legal norms, according to which it is absolutely necessary to comply with the provisions of the act, regardless of their nuisance and consequences for the obligated person.
    • source: Digesta Iustiniani,



Elagabalus (Varius Avitus Bassianus, 204 – 222 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 218-222 CE:

  • “Call me not Lord, for I am a Lady”
    • description: a response to the greeting of the athlete Zoticus who was brought in for the Emperor’s perverse amusements.
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman history, LXXX.16.4
  • “Grant me this one man, whatever you may have been pleased to suspect about him, or else slay me”
    • description: Elagabalus during his reign dealt mainly with entertainment and orgies; practical power in the country was exercised by his mother and grandmother. His grandmother Julia Maesa was aware of his grandson’s low popularity and expected his downfall. She persuaded him to adopt his cousin Alexander Severus and recognize him as the heir to the throne. Soon, however, Elagabalus realized his mistake and realized that his grandmother wanted to deprive him of power and place Alexander on the throne. Then he decided to change his mind and kill his adopted son. However, when the rumor reached the ears of the praetorians, they rebelled against Elagabalus. Elagabalus managed to calm the rebellion for a while, begging for only his lover, Hierocles, to be left to him.
    • source: Cassius Dio, Roman history, LXXX.19.3


Trajan Decius


Trajan Decius (Caius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius, 201 – 251 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 249-251 CE:

  • “Let no one mourn; the death of one soldier is not a great loss to the republic”
    • description: on the news of the death of his son Herennius Decius in the battle of Abritus in 251 CE, who was shot by an arrow during the first clashes. The emperor later died in battle.
    • source: Jordanes, Getica, 103

Constantine the Great

Constantine the Great

(Gaius Flavius Valerius Constantinus, 272 – 337 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 306-337 CE:

  • “Whatever is comprehended under the sovereign laws of nature, seems to convey to all men an adequate idea of the forethought and intelligence of the divine order. Nor can any, whose minds are directed in the true path of knowledge to the attainment of that end, entertain a doubt that the just perceptions of sound l reason, as well as those of the natural vision itself, through the sole influence of genuine virtue, lead to the knowledge of God. Accordingly no wise man will ever be surprised when he sees the mass of mankind influenced by opposite sentiments. For the beauty of virtue would be useless and unperceived, did not vice display in contrast with it the course of perversity and folly. Hence it is that the one is crowned with reward, while the most high God is himself the administrator of judgment to the other”
    • source: Eusebius of Caesarea, Vita Constantini, XLVIII


Libanios of Antiochia (Libanios, 314 – 395 CE) – Greek rhetorician, Platonic philosopher of the Pergamon school, representative of the second sophistry:

  • “As the death of Hector heralded the end of Troy, so the death of Julian heralds the fall of Rome**”
    • description: regarding Julian I Apostate, who got his nickname due to his rejection of Christianity, in which he grew up as a child, later returning to traditional Roman cults. Julian was an outstanding commander and politician, and at the same time a lover of ancient culture, which was one of the reasons why he did not accept Christianity.
    • source: Krawczuk Aleksander, Kronika Rzymu i Cesarstwa Rzymskiego

Ammianus Marcellinus

(330 – 392 CE) – historian:

  • “(as the astronomers unanimously teach) the circuit of the whole earth, which to us seems endless, compared with the greatness of the universe has the likeness of a mere tiny point”
    • source: Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, XV.1
  • “Man does not seem less deceitful who knowingly passes over what has been done, than one who invents things that never happened, I do not deny”
    • source: Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, XXIX.1.15
  • “Death (if it comes) is attended with no sense of shame and brings with it at once an end of life and of suffering”
    • source: Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, XXVI, 10, 10

Julian the Apostate

Julian the Apostate

(Flavius Claudius Iulianus, 331 lub 332 – 363 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 361 – 363 CE:

  • “Some men have a passion for horses, others for birds, others, again, for wild beasts; but I, from childhood, have been penetrated by a passionate longing to acquire books”
    • source: Julian the Apostate, Letters, 23
  • “You have conquered, O Galilean”
    • latin: [Galilaee, vicisti!]
    • description: the last words of the emperor according to Christian writers; after the death of the emperor, Christianity began to dominate the Roman state.
    • source: Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History, III.20
  • “I am sensible of the sweet-tempered manner in which you reproach me, and that you achieve two things with equal success, for you do me honour by what you write and instruct me by your criticisms. And for my part, if I were conscious of even the least failure in the attention due to you, I should certainly try by making reasonable excuses to parry your criticism, or if I were in fault I should not hesitate to ask your forgiveness, especially as I know that you are not implacable towards your friends when they have involuntarily failed in some friendly office to you. But as it is — since it was not right either for you to be neglected or for me to be careless if we were to attain that which we ever seek after and desire — come, I will plead my case before you as though by the rules of a lawsuit, and I will prove that far from having neglected any of my duties towards you I have never even ventured to postpone them”
    • source: Julian the Apostate, Letters, 78
  • “I was ashamed to be less virtuous as a ruler than I had been as a private citizen, have unconsciously given you the benefit of my own boorishness, though there was no necessity”
    • source: Julian the Apostate, Mispogon

Theodosius I the Great

(Flavius Theodosius Augustus, 347-395 CE) – Roman emperor in the years 379-395 CE:

  • “It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our Clemency and Moderation, should continue to profess that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one deity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We order the followers of this law to embrace the name of Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since, in our judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give to their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of the divine condemnation and in the second the punishment of our authority which in accordance with the will of Heaven we shall decide to inflict.”
    • description: the edict was jointly issued by Theodosius I, emperor of the East, Gratian, emperor of the West, and Gratian’s junior co-ruler Valentinian II.
    • source: Edict of Thessalonica (380 CE)

Augustine of Hippo

(Aurelius Augustinus, 354-430 CE) – Christian philosopher, theologian:

  • “An unjust law is no law at all”
    • latin: [Lex iniusta non est lex]
    • source: Augustine of Hippo, De libero arbitrio


(Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, IV century CE) – writer in the field of military, author of the book Concerning Military Matters:

  • “If you want peace, prepare for war”
    • latin: [Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum, spotykane też jako Si vis pacem, para bellum]
    • source: Vegetius, De re militari
  • “First lay waste the land, then attack the enemy”
    • source: Vegetius, De re militari

Claudius Claudianus

(Claudius Claudianus, IV/V century CE) – court poet of Emperor Honorius, wrote panegyrics to minister Stilicho:

  • “Death makes all things equal”
    • latin: [Mors omnia aequat]
    • source: Claudius Claudianus, De raptu Proserpinae


(Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, c. 480–524 CE) – Roman philosopher and theologian. Called the last Roman:

  • “Why then do you mortal men seek after happiness outside yourselves, when it lies within you”
    • source: Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, II.4.63–64
  • “It is not the walls of your library, decked with ivory and glass, that I need, but ra ther the resting-place in your heart, wherein I have not stored books, but I have of old put that which gives value to books, a store of thoughts from books of mine”
    • source: Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, I.19.1
  • “If you had kept your silence, you would have stayed a philosopher”
    • latin: [Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses]
    • source: Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae
  • “If there is a God, whence proceed so many evils? If there is no God, whence cometh any good?”
  • “As thus she turns her wheel of chance with haughty hand, and presses on like the surge of Euripus’s tides, fortune now tramples fiercely on a fearsome king, and now deceives no less a conquered man by raising from the ground his humbled face. She hears no wretch’s cry, she heeds no tears, but wantonly she mocks the sorrow which her cruelty has made. This is her sport: thus she proves her power; if in the selfsame hour one man is raised to happiness, and cast down in despair, ’tis thus she shews her might”
    • source: Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae
  • “In all adversity of fortune, the most wretched kind is once to have been happy”
    • latin: [Nam in omni adversitate fortunae infelicissimum est genus infortunii fuisse felicem]
    • source: Boethius, Theological Tractates, II 4, 190–91
  • “The greatest misery in adverse fortune is once to have been happy”
    • source: Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae

** Own translation

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