Nec Aspera Terrent

By Anglicus, in 'Latin to English Translation', Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Anglicus New Member

    This is a motto of several regiments or groups in different countries, including England, America and Germany, that i know of. However every different group seems to have a different translation for it. The US 27th infantry translate it as "No Fear on Earth". The British Duke of Lancaster Regiment translate it as "Difficulties be Damned". I've also seen another translation of it which runs "They don't terrify the rough ones". I quickly ran it through google translate and the closest one seemed to be the last one, but all three translations are very different from each other. Which one would be the closest to a correct translation?
  2. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    It means "Nor do hardships terrify" (Sc. "us").
  3. Anglicus New Member

    Thanks. That translation is different to all three of the other ones i've heard. It's things like this that make me wary of ever getting a tattoo in a foreign language.

  4. Manus Correctrix QVAE CORRIGIT

    • Civis Illustris
    A strange choice. The chance similarity with the word terra (‘earth’) makes me suspect someone got the wrong end of the stick.

    That’s reasonable. It seems to convey the sentiment of the phrase.

    That’s definitely someone getting the wrong end of the stick, probably by looking up individual words in a dictionary without having any real understanding of Latin. That’s what each of the words means, but they don’t fit together like that.

    Please don’t do that.

    Why don’t you want to know what it means, rather than which of these dodgy translations is closest?

    The subject is ‘they’, as expressed by the -nt ending on the verb. Aspera is a neuter plural adjective meaning ‘rough’, ‘crude’, rugged’, ‘jagged’. Its grammar indicates that it is supposed to refer to ‘things’. It’s found in actual Latin proverbs, where it essentially refers to ‘adversity’, ‘hardship’, etc. It could be the subject or object of the sentence grammatically, but logic requires that it be the former (because you can’t scare ‘rough things’).

    So, it’s ‘the rough’ (with the implication of ‘rough times’, ‘tough challenges’ or whatever) and then a verb meaning ‘frighten’ or ‘scare off’ or whatever.

    The nec at the beginning is a fusion of a word for ‘and’ and a word for ‘not’. So, it means ‘and not even...’ or ‘nor do...’, etc.

    You could phrase the whole thing as ‘and the rough doesn’t deter’, or ‘and the tough stuff doesn’t scare [us] off’, ‘not even the rough times frighten’, or ‘nor do the hard times deter [us]’, ‘and adversities do not frighten’, etc. You get the idea.
  5. Eric84 New Member

    This image was taken from our family display cabinet which has been in our family for hundreds of years. Its origin is from Hanover, Germany. We have yet to have it dated, but know that it has been in the family since the 18th c. Please let me know if anyone can translate the meanings of the designs... any info would be helpful. Thanks.

    Attached Files:

  6. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo

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