You were the model of perfection

By forever young, in 'English to Latin Translation', Jun 22, 2007.

  1. forever young New Member

    hi! i'm getting a tattoo soon and the phrase i want is "You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty" can anyone translate this for me? i have looked everywhere and have not been able to translate it.
  2. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    Before I post a suggestion, may I say: OW. That's a lot of letters for a tattoo.
    Before I start, I am assuming you are a guy and are addressing a girl through your tattoo. If I am incorrect, do NOT put this on your body, as anyone with any Latin knowledge will raise an eyebrow at it.
    Exemplum perfectionis et plena sapientiae et perfecta pulchritudine eras

    It's actually quite literal and not bad in my opinion. Literally:
    You were the example of perfection and full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

    I especially like the last part, as "perfecta" literally means "thoroughly made", thus "perfecta pulchritudine" can also be "made thoroughly with beauty." If there are no macrons (you won't have macrons in a tattoo, trust me), it can ALSO be "with perfect beauty."

    But many body parts are you PUTTING this on? If it's legible that wouldn't even fit on my arm if I went from shoulder to wrist.
  3. forever young New Member

    haha, no, i'm a girl, and i want this phrase because it's a Scripture in the Bible, and it's one of my's going to start on my upper arm and spiral down my arm a little
  4. Marius Magnus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    If it's in the Bible, then give us the book, chapter, and verse numbers and we can look up the actual words in the Vulgate. Then you'll have the "official" Latin Bible verse rather than a paraphrase.

    Taking QMF's translation, though, I would slightly re-word it to be more poetic:

    Exemplum perfectionis eras, plenus sapientiae et pulchritudine perfectus.
  5. forever young New Member

    oh's Ezekiel 28:12
  6. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    It would appear that the English that you got is skewed for some reason. It may be taken directly from the Hebrew. In many cases this is not so, at least not fully; Latin is more similar to English than Hebrew (and in the NT, Greek), so English translators often consulted the well-known Vulgate to help them or even simply translated it in some points. You may simply have an odd translation. You may have not remembered it correctly. Something altogether different may have happened. Regardless, according to, Ezekiel 28: 12, with the wanted text bolded, is:
    I find "plenus sapientia" to be quite strange, as I believe plenus takes a genitive in classical literature. Anyway, if taken out of context, you almost have to add an "eras" somewhere in there. (The preceding clause in the Latin makes the eras clear enough that it can be implicit; without it, the implication is harder to understand.) The end is the most logical place, though technically you could put it anywhere.

    A few comments:
    Signaculum is more like "symbol"-it literally means "little thing which tends to signify" or perhaps "thing which tends to signify a little."
    Similitudinis-literally "similitude", "similarity", etc., if used as "beauty", could perhaps be a refernce to a similarity to God.
  7. curiosus New Member

    et factus est sermo Domini ad me dicens fili hominis leva planctum super regem Tyri, et dices ei haec dicit Dominus Deus tu signaculum similitudinis plenus sapientia et perfectus decore in deliciis paradisi Dei fuisti omnis lapis pretiosus operimentum tuum sardius topazius et iaspis chrysolitus et onyx et berillus sapphyrus et carbunculus et zmaragdus aurum opus decoris tui et foramina tua in die qua conditus es praeparata sunt
  8. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    Ah, now I see...there is no eras, instead they (i.e. the translators of Ezekiel's original) used fuisti which is in 18: 13. The whole bolded section of curiosus' post is:
    You were the symbol of similitude, full of knowledge and perfect in beauty in the pleasures of God's paradise.

    I suppose you could edit out "in deliciis paradisi Dei"...but then you're not flat-out quoting the Bible, and it's not quite as good, is it?
  9. Marius Magnus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    OK, here is the full verse:

    It means:

    And you say to him, "The Lord God says this: You [are] the seal of likeness, full of wisdom and perfect in grace

    "Seal of likeness" or "seal of resemblance" (literally, "seal of similitude") was probably a metaphor, which is why some translations say "perfect example". The verb "to be" is omitted; "tu signaculum similitudinis" rather than "tu signaculum similitudinis es". Or perhaps it's an appositive:

    "You, seal of likeness, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, you were in the garden of Eden...(etc.)"

    There would have been no punctuation in the original text, so whether verse 13 is a new sentence or not is not entirely clear.

    Anyway, the official translation you want is:

    Tu signaculum similitudinis,
    plenus sapientia, et perfectus decore.
  10. Marius Magnus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Wow, everyone jumped on this at once.

    I think sapientia is ablative, to parallel decore:

    full in wisdom and perfect in beauty

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