death before dishonor

By oabb, in 'English to Latin Translation', Apr 1, 2007.

  1. oabb New Member

    Ok Im drawing a tattoo for a very good friend. Im sure you get this all the time sorry for any redudance. It includes the phrase "death before dishonor' but in latin. We've worked on some translations but am not sure which would be right. Can anyone please help? These are what we came up with.

    Letum prius ignominia
    Letum ante ignominia
    Letum antea ignominia
    Letum per antea ignominia
    Or the same translations except switch "Letum" for " Mors mortis"

    An online latin translator gave me this: "Nex pro inhonesto"

    I also found this on a latin quotation website: "Potius mori quam foedari "
    which stated it ment...death before dishonor

    All these different translations really have us confused. Being this is permanent we must get it right the first time around.

    Thanks for any help, Sean
  2. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    Mors mortis is the dictionary's way of showing you the word mors, the fact that it is in the third declension, and the way that it is declined outside of the nominative singular. The word itself is mors. I would do:
    Mors ante ignominiam.
    Exitum ante ignominiam.

    As you might imagine, exitum is used as death in the sense of exiting from the world.

    I'm not very fond of letum, esp. because I haven't seen it in print (i.e. in classical literature), whereas I have seen both mors and exitum in print.

    Your Latin quote is roughly:
    It is better to die than to be made filthy.

    I am rather fond of the quote, actually; did the site provide a citation?
  3. oabb New Member

    I am also pretty found of the quote. No unfortunately the site did not provide any citation. Thanks for your input.
  4. oabb New Member

    Why Ignominiam instead of Ignominia? Just curious.
    Also is there a big difference between the words I listed for..before?
  5. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    Latin is an inflected language, meaning that its grammar is based around endings added to words rather than around syntax (although there a few aspects where syntax is grammatically important.) The rules of prepositions are no different. All Latin prepositions take either the accusative or the ablative case. Most of them take the accusative, but the very common ones mostly take the ablative. In the case of ante, it takes the accusative. Ignominia is a first declension word. The first declension forms its accusative singular ending as -am, therefore if ante is put in front of ignominia, it has to be changed to ignominiam.

    Sorry, this is a synopsis of a topic that generally takes quite a few months to cover in a Latin class.

    As for the other quotes:
    Prius simply doesn't make much sense; it's adverbial. Although a Roman wouldn't use this (he'd use the pluperfect) this is an example: "Before I walked to the merchant, I picked up my denarii (a common Roman currency)." In basic (i.e. with mostly English syntax) Latin, using prius:
    "Prius ambulavi ad mercatorem, sustuli denarios meos." (One would actually use priusquam, but I digress.) (Latinists: I just saw that prius can be adjectival, but let's not confuse our visitors anymore than we need to!)
    Ante I explained.
    Antea is also adverbial; in fact it's very similar to prius.
    Per Antea simply makes no sense at all; a preposition can't go in front of an adverb. It can't in English either.
    Nex pro inhonesto I find somewhat funny in this context. It means "murder for the sake of dishonor."
    Letum you could actually use if you wanted to. It's a somewhat violent term, however. I would go with the more vague mors or exitum.
  6. oabb New Member

    Cool, although I havent studied latin yet, I do understand what you are saying. Funny the dam online translators first offer was Nex pro inhonesto, I guess that explains how great that thing is lol. Again thanks for your explanation.
  7. Andy Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Urbs Panamae
    The thing is 'pro' in a very limited sense can mean 'before', but in the sense of being before something, or infront of.

    Translators are not human, hence they interpret without context. At least it got the ablative construction right...
  8. jmh New Member

    I have a quick question... Is "death before dishonor" correctly translated to Latin as "Morte prima di disonore"

    I have seen so many diff trans of just "death"... nex, mortalitas, mors mortis, letum, plecto aliquem capite, excessum, decessus

    Just want to get it right
  9. Interficio Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, USA
    "Mors ante infamiam" is my attempt
  10. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    ...No, it's not. That looks more like Italian than Latin.

    I think interficio's suggestion is good. A less literal proposal is:
    Moriar antea (quam?) dedecorabor.
    "I will die before I will be dishonored."

    I mainly propose this because, in general terms, Latin is less fond of abstract nouns than English is; put differently, I'd think it more likely for a Roman to say the above than interficio's suggestion. That doesn't make interficio's suggestion any less valid, however.

    Latinists: is that how you say "before" in a temporal sense with verbs, with antea and quam? If not, how is it done?
  11. Interficio Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, USA
    lol you always embarass me :( lol

    Thats wha i get for being a n00b I guess
  12. jmh New Member

    I thought "infamiam" implies fame

    would "Potius mori quam foedari"
    "Malo mori quam foedar"

    be more correct or is it just a variation of the same expression?
  13. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    First off: interficio, I supported your proposal and offered one of my own. Neither is really "better", they're just different.

    Moving on...infamiam is more or less the opposite of fame; it's cognate (sort of) with the English word infamy.

    The former construction doesn't quite make sense to me. "To die is more powerful than to be polluted/corrupted." (That is the literal meaning of the verb foedare; dishonor is a metaphorical usage of it.) That doesn't quite seem to work.

    The latter, if an "i" is added on the end of the last word, becomes "I would rather die than be polluted/corrupted." That's not bad; I might change foedari to dedecorari, mainly because foedari could very easily be confused in this context; for instance "malo mori quam foedari" could very easily be interpreted as "I would rather die than be raped."
  14. jmh New Member

    well that too but i think i'd rather stay with the dishonoured meaning..

    would "mortalitas pro inhonesto"
    be the most literal? or is it so literal it would never have been used.
  15. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    Mortality for the sake of dishonesty? No, that doesn't make sense.
  16. jmh New Member

    "Malo mori quam inhonesto"

    would that be I would rather die than be dishonored

    The more I try to understand this simple phrase the more I get conflicting advice... look under "Potius"
  17. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    Err...cripes, made a mistake with potius. That (the potius statement) does actually make sense, and it's actually a classical citation (as you can see there) from Livy, a major Roman historian. I had interpreted it as the comparative of the archaic word potis, which it probably was originally but took on a different meaning over time.

    I still think using foedari has a risk of implying a sense of rape.

    As for "malo mori quam inhonesto"...the verb inhonestare is a fairly rare one anyway, and if it were to be used you would need to use inhonestari here.
  18. jmh New Member

    I just want to thank you for all your help...

    I saw another post you made in Apr. 07 in which you commented on the phrase "Letum (exitum) ante ignominiam"

    would combining them work

    using "Potius mori quam ignominiam" or would the original be the better bet??
  19. jmh New Member

    Ok i think I know where I want to go with this just need to make sure the grammar is right

    Potius letum ante ignominiam

    or would the ending be ignominia in this instance?

  20. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    You would use quam, not ante, and the form in question would be ignominia. An interesting construction, though, to say the least. "Letum" is a sort of a violent death, and is often used metaphorically for "ruin."

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