fortes fortuna juvat

By dickson, in 'Latin to English Translation', Feb 24, 2011.

  1. dickson New Member

    I have read through all the posts on the site and believe I have come to a conclusion on what I am looking for. favours&start=40 was the main post I was looking at, but i just had a few questions.

    A little background is that I was doing some research on the Dickson family name and where it originally came from. I have always wanted a tattoo with something like "never give up" but that just never hit home enough to get it done.

    When I was reading on the original Dickson Clan from Scotland their family motto appears to have been "fortes fortuna juvat" or Fortune Favours the Brave/strong. This really hit home for me and I am very interested in getting a tattoo of this phrase. this is just an example of one of several references I saw for the motto. I am not just basing this off one source.

    My question is A: is using a j an acceptable way to say juvat? This is the only way I find it written as the family motto, but iuvat seems to be more popular as the proper way to write it. I have also read that the use of the j is more "medieval" and the i is more classical.

    If thats the case and I was going for a more medieval type of latin, what would be the proper punctuation? Should there be any medial periods or macrons used? "fort[e-short:e0x8odmq][/e-short:e0x8odmq]s fort[u-long:e0x8odmq][/u-long:e0x8odmq]na j[u-long:e0x8odmq][/u-long:e0x8odmq]vat"? Or would it be more modern to exclude the macrons and just write "fortes fortuna juvat?"

    Thank you very much for any assistance or feedback.

  2. Nikolaos schmikolaos

    • Censor
    First off - the e in fortes is long: "fort─ôs".

    Macrons are used almost exclusively by beginners and teachers. They are useful when starting out because they tell the reader both which vowels are long (which is helpful in distinguishing words and grammatical cases) and which syllable is stressed.

    However, the Romans themselves rarely marked long vowels, and when they did they never used macrons - this is only a teaching convention. Almost everything we know about which vowels are long comes from scanning poetry.

    In Latin, the letter I can be either a vowel or consonant. As a vowel, it ranges from the I in "hit" and the ea in "eat". As a consonant, it is always pronounced like Y.

    At some point in time, the letter J came to represent the consonant, and I the vowel. I don't know at which point in time this happened, but I think that it was closer to our era than the Romans'. Today, J is no longer in common use by Latinists, but it is still acceptable.

    A similar thing happened with the letter V. In classical Latin, V could be either a vowel or a consonant - when it was a vowel, it ranged roughly from the U in "push" to the U in "lute". When it was a consonant, it was pronounced like an English W. Unlike J, both V and U are still in common use, although some don't use V at all in the lower-case and likewise don't use U when capitalized.

    To illustrate the above information, "juvat" is pronounced (roughly) "yoo-waht".

    Ecclesiastical (church) Latin still pronounces the J as Y, but the V is changed to our modern V.
  3. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
  4. dickson New Member

    Thank you both very much for your responses. Very helpful information. I did read through the punctuation topic but I must not have been following well. Nikolaos you really helped clear things up. Thanks!

    I think I will most likely go for with fortes fortuna juvat since I am guessing that is most likely how it was written during their time.

    This is the first I have looked indepth at the Latin language. It is very interesting.
  5. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    Only if their time was in about the last 300 years.
  6. Jrumley New Member

    I have heard different things about this so I want to settle it. In a phrase like "fortis fortuna adiuvat" would it translate to something like, "Fortune favors (me) the brave" or maybe "fortune favors the brave ones"? It seems like this would be more of a personal statement. And for "fortes fortuna adiuvat" would it translate to "fortune favors (you all) the brave" like you are talking to a general group? I know fortis is singular and fortes is plural but the way they address "the brave" is unclear in how that translates. Can someone clarify?
    Last edited by Jrumley, May 5, 2017
  7. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    They're the same (-is being an alternative for -es).

    "Fortune favors brave people."
  8. Jrumley New Member

    Ok, that is what I was thinking at first but I read too many things online and made it complicated.
  9. stardust New Member

    I have only just registered on here and saw your request about the Dickson family motto. The motto used by James Dickson, MP for Broughton and Peebles, and who became a Baron in the latter half of the 17th century, is spelled slightly differently as far as the first word is concerned. His official motto was "Fortis Fortuna Juvat" (please note the first word is spelled with an "I" and not an "e". I have a copy of his crest, which was used as a bookplate for his brother's family record and drawings book. His official title was James Dickson Esq., of Ednam and Sydenham in the county of Roxburgh

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