Mater certa, pater incerto

By J.M, in 'Incorrect/Pseudo Latin Phrases', Apr 1, 2019.

  1. J.M Active Member

    Location:
    Koloszvar, Hungary
    Greetings again to all Latin D members,

    Today I would like to know the meaning of the phrase on the thread title and when it was used. I do not know for sure if the way I wrote it is grammatically correct, if not, be so kind as to let me know,

    Thank you as always,
    J.M
  2. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena
    The phrase is actually

    Mater certa, pater (semper) incertus (est): The mother is certain, the father is (always) uncertain.

    It is an aphorism that refers to the fact that for, well, simple biological reasons you can always be sure about the mother of a child, but (at least in times that predated DNA tests) you can never known if she was actually faithful to the person whom she claims to be the father.

    I suppose that's why people in Ancient Athens looked their wifes away in the first year after their marriage ... but you find some allusions that even such methods might not really have been 100% bulletproof :p
  3. J.M Active Member

    Location:
    Koloszvar, Hungary
    Thank you for your quick and great explanation of this matter,
    J.M
  4. Issacus Divus Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Gæmleflodland
    Shouldn't this stuff be in Latin-To-English?
  5. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I guess it should. I'll move it.

    I suppose the incerto means it should go to the "incorrect" section...
    J.M and Issacus Divus like this.
  6. J.M Active Member

    Location:
    Koloszvar, Hungary
    Oh yes, you are right!
    Excuse me for not having noticed,
    J.M
  7. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Varsovia
    Bitmap
    looked their wifes away?? Come on, dude, really?
    Sorry for being a grammar Nazi, which I am, but didn't you mean "locked their wives away?" :D
  8. Issacus Divus Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Gæmleflodland
    You're not being a grammar Nazi, though. Like, vocab Nazi or something.
  9. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena
    I can't edit it no more.
    Pacifica likes this.
  10. Issacus Divus Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Gæmleflodland
    You can't?
  11. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena
    No, I ain't allowed no longer.
    Pacifica likes this.
  12. Issacus Divus Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Gæmleflodland
    That's tough, 'man.

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