Do no harm, do know harm

Eckhart

New Member
Informal motto of military medics, "Do no harm, do know harm".

Based on the (misattributed) Hippocratic oath of "Primum non nocere"

I would like a translation to Latin that preserves the word play in the English phrase. Not necessarily the exact meaning of the English phrasing.

Something like "be amongst evil, be not evil" would be fine. Forgive my poor attempt at Latin, but something with the word play of "interesse malum, nihil esse malum" (apologies for bending one of the rules of posting)

The idea is 'be amongst evil/harm/pain/injury - don't be a source of evil/harm/pain/injury'.
Or 'to walk amongst evil, without being evil'

Would like to include a proper Latin phrasing on an informal unit patch, for the infantry medics
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
You've set us a rather steep task, as there's really no obvious way to preserve the wordplay.
 
I like your suggestion; I offer:

MALVM·INTERESSE · SED·NON·ESSE
 

Eckhart

New Member
Thank you both

"Malum interesse sed non esse" would translate to 'be amongst evil but not being [evil]'?

Perhaps with a humorous connotation of "I am among the bad (the friendly infantry I'm supporting), but I am not one of them"?

The humorous connotaion would be appropriate. Infantry do see themselves as masters of chaos & destruction, and look down on anyone POG (Persons Other than Grunts). But they do love their medics.
 

Eckhart

New Member
If "nex" means "violent death", and "nocere" means harm, is there a way to translate "amongst violent death, do no harm"?

Seems like it would preserve the original intent of "Do know harm, do no harm" , somewhat preserve the alliteration, and keep the reference to the Hippocratic Oath ("Primus non nocere")

Trying to make sure I don't end up with a nonsense Latin phrase on a military patch. Just wouldn't be right to have medics walking around with bad Latin on their patch/t-shirt, considering that so much of medical terminology has Latin roots.

(Horrible dog Latin) "interesse necum non nocere" translate to "amongst violent death, do no harm"?

It doesn't work grammatically
"Malum interesse sed non esse" doesn't work grammatically?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
No, it doesn't.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
With nice alliteration too, it seems to me.
 
What is the grammatical problem with malum interesse sed non esse?
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I suspect it's supposed to mean "to be among evil but not to be (so/evil)".
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
What would the above actually mean?
I suppose it could be an indirect speech clause saying something like "... that evil is present but doesn't exist".

As to why it doesn't work grammatically (for the meaning intended by IOHANNVSVERAX) is:

1) Interesse in the sense "to be present (at)", "take part in" is construed with the dative or with in + abl., not with the accusative.

2) The first "evil", in "to be among evil", is a substantive, whereas the second one in "not to be evil" is an adjective, therefore I don't think they can be both represented by only the first one.
 
Top