Nec tecum possum vivere, nec sine te. / Nec possum tecum vivere, nec sine te.

By Aurelius L, in 'Latin to English Translation', Dec 2, 2016.

  1. Aurelius L New Member

    Hello! I want to get a tatto with this phrase, but I'm in serious doubt about how it's written.

    I got the idea from a manga, in which the tatto is written like this "Nec possum tecum vivere, nec sine te."

    But doing some research, I found that this quote comes from Martial, Epigrams XII, 46, in which I find that the text is written like "Nec tecum possum vivere, nec sine te."

    When I enter these two phrases on Google translate, I get the first one that has Possum first like "And I can not live with you, nor without you." And the second, that has Tecum before Possum as "I can live neither with you, nor without you."

    So my question is, changing the order of one word changes the phrase? How is it written propperly? Is there any difference or is just Google Translate taking a prank on me? I really want to know because it is a tatto that I'm going after, I can't afford any mistakes or typos on something that is forever :confused:

    Thanks for your help :D
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Hi,

    Martial indeed wrote nec tecum possum vivere, nec sine te.

    The other version isn't terribly wrong, but it's a bit less well phrased, to my mind, and anyway it's better to take the authentic quote.

    Google Translate isn't anything to be taken seriously for Latin, but in this case it probably translated the Martial quote correctly because it's a well-known quote and it had it, along with an official translation, in its database.
    Aurelius L likes this.
  3. Aurelius L New Member


    Thank you! Now, what would be the translation of Nec possum tecum vivere, nec sine te? And again, thanks.
  4. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    I can live neither with you, nor without you. In this one case, Google Translate got it correct.
  5. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    He means the version with possum before tecum, lol, which GT translated differently.

    In fact it doesn't really translate any different from the other.
    Aurelius L likes this.
  6. Aurelius L New Member

    Yup xD That's it! Thank you soooo much for your help, I really appreciate it!
  7. Aurelius L New Member

    Hello! On my quest of making sure my tattoo is gonna be well written, I found that a lot of people say that this quote from Martial, which is written in greek, isn't right. So I was wondering if anyone who knows about greek alphabet and it's grammar may give me a hand :D

    Thank you!

    Attached Files:

  8. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    You were given the Martial quotation in Latin on this thread.

    What you have now posted is the same quotation in Latin, but transliterated into the Greek alphabet. I'm not sure why anyone would want to do this, but I learnt long ago not to ask that question.
  9. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    The transliterated version you gave there also isn't Martial's original quote. Martial's original has tecum before possum: nec tecum possum vivere, nec sine te.
  10. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    At least I didn't attribute it to Ovid, as I did here. And nobody called me on it. I was presumably thinking of sic ego nec sine te nec tecum vivere possum, but I'd totally forgotten that thread, as everyone else seems to have done.

    A mod might want to merge the threads.
  11. Aurelius L New Member

    I know, I would just have to change the order and make tecum before possum, but what I am wondering is if that is wrriten correctly in the greek alphabet. I don't wanna run into someone who knows the greek alphabet an suddenly asks me "Hey, what in the hell is that!?" you know? xD
  12. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    Why would you even want to write it in the Greek alphabet? The quote's in Latin.
  13. Aurelius L New Member

    Heyy thank you! I'm gonna check the that thread. I looked befor posting but nothing came up with the latin quotation so I opened this thread.

    I don't know, that's how it was in the manga and I guess I liked it. But then again, I don't know anything about latin or the greek alphabet, so that's why I'm seeking advice. But really liked it that way, I just don't want to have something that is written in the wrong way as a tattoo.
  14. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    Well, Latin does not use the Greek alphabet, so it would be a bit like saying, "Oh, I want a tattoo in English, but I want it written in the Russian alphabet". But I suppose that if it's a reference to a manga, it would be ok. I can't say though whether it's correctly written in the Greek alphabet though.
  15. Aurelius L New Member

    Yeah you could say it is. I got it from there, but the phrase acquired meaning to me due to recent experience in my life. You could say it's 50/50 but liked the greek writing I guess. But yeah I see your point in that example lol.
  16. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    If you want to you can use the Greek writing, but you need to wait for someone else to tell you whether it's correct or not.
  17. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I'm not quite sure how "v" should be transliterated into the Greek alphabet. Omega (the Greek letter used for "v" in your image) usually represents a quite different sound. On the other hand, classical Greek has no equivalent of the Latin "v" sound (which, in classical Latin, sounded like English "w"). I think the closest there ever was to it in Greek was the archaic letter digamma (ϝ), which disappeared early on. Romans sometimes transliterated Latin into the Greek alphabet (some inscriptions were preserved to us), but, when they did, I don't know what they used for "v". It would be interesting to know. Then the best to do here would simply be to imitate them. Does anyone know? If they didn't use digamma because it was obsolete and perhaps unknown to many, ypsilon seems possible...?
    Last edited by Pacifica, Dec 4, 2016
  18. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I managed to find back a Latin defixio written in the Greek alphabet that I had read a couple years back, to check whether there was any "v" in there. It turns out that there at least, it was transliterated as ου, in the word dissolvam (transliterated as δισσολουαμ).

    (If you want to see, it's in the bottom of page 130 of this PFD, and a re-transcription into the Latin alphabet is found on the next page.)
  19. Aurelius L New Member

    Jesus Pacifica thank you so much! I have to do some errands but as soon as I'm free I will check this and let you guys know if I find something else. But I really apreciate your help on this (all of you xD).

    Yep, that is what I'm crossing my fingers for lol.
  20. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Oh, ποσσυμ and τεχυμ should be ποσσουμ and τεχουμ (or possibly τεκουμ, τηκουμ... I'll come back to this later*), too (how didn't I catch this earlier?)

    (I guess it's only logical that v was tranliterated as ου, after all; since v and u were the same letter for the Romans, they would automatically transliterate it to the same even if the sound was different...)

    *Now, I'm in doubt concerning the transliterations of nec, tecum, and te. Since the e in te and tecum is long, one would think that it should be transliterated to η, but in the defixio, long e's are transliterated to ε... (Possibly reflecting a loss of vowel-length distinction in the period and place it was written...?) Similarly, the c in nec and tecum isn't supposed to be aspirate, so one would think it would be logical to transliterate it to κ rather than χ, but the usage in the defixio here seems rather random; c is transliterated sometimes to κ, sometimes to χ... so I don't know. A single inscription is an insufficient basis, too, I guess... But I haven't studied any others. So I don't know. Thoughts, anyone?

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