Fidelitas in Parvis

BenjF

New Member
Hi, my query is on the accuracy of my old school's motto. I found my old Latin GCSE textbooks the other day and that reminded me of an argument I had with my teacher about our motto, to which I never found a definitive answer. Also, in case you're wondering, the Latin teacher didn't work at the school, it was an optional course for which she wrote the textbooks and gave us Skype lessons from her university (so I didn't have the chance to ask her about it directly).

The motto is simply "Fidelitas in Parvis" and the school gives the translation of "Care over little things". I've never agreed with this and I think that an accurate translation would be something like "Faith/truth in children" or "Faith from children" or "Faith from the few" or even "Faith/truth in little things". I know that parvus means little/small, but I assumed in this context that the plural parvis would be the rough equivalent of calling children "little ones" in English.

I'm struggling to remember all the cases and grammatical rules of Latin now, so I would be grateful if you could also explain to me why it's read how it's supposed to be read (however that is, haha).

Thanks!
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I'd say 'care over little things' seems right ...

- parvus can mean 'little one' in the sense of 'children', that's right.
- What would deter me from the translation 'faith in children' is that 'faith in children' sounds like putting faith into children. For this sentiment, you'd need in + accusative or (probably more likely) erga + accusative.
- 'Faith from' would more likely be rendered with e(x)
- You could argue against 'little things' that this would normally be rendered as 'parvis rebus' because 'parvis' cannot clearly be identified as the ablative of the neuter plural and that a normal reader would expect a masculine noun there first. This is true, but if the context is right, you also find shortened version like this one, especially in slogans.
 

BenjF

New Member
Ahh, thanks for clearing that up! I have always hated that school, so I guess I must have a subconscious bias against even their motto, haha.

I agree with all of your explanation, except I'm confused as to how 'care' would come from fidelitas? I assumed that it was the direct translation of fidelity, and so could be used to mean truth or faith.

Also, for future reference, would you translate "care over little things" into Latin in the same manner as this, or is there a more straightforward way that you would use?

Thanks again!
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I agree with all of your explanation, except I'm confused as to how 'care' would come from fidelitas? I assumed that it was the direct translation of fidelity, and so could be used to mean truth or faith.
fidelitas is a bit of complex/philosophical word ... it refers to your fidelity/faithfulness and your care/diligence in fulfilling your duties and obligations.

Also, for future reference, would you translate "care over little things" into Latin in the same manner as this, or is there a more straightforward way that you would use?

Thanks again!

I don't know ... there are different ways of translating 'care' ... You could go with cura or diligentia for example. I think fidelitas is a little more loaded. It suggests that you know what your righteous duty is and that you fulfill it with faith and diligence – in the context of the school motto, even in 'small, i.e. seemingly less meaningful, matters'.
 

BenjF

New Member
Thanks once again for your quick and concise responses! That makes sense to me, even more so because it's actually very in-character for my old school to use a loaded term like that, haha.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I'm glad it helps!

I was wondering if it was a quote taken from an ancient text (as many school/university slogans do that), but a google search on that phrase reveals pretty much only one school that uses that motto.
 

BenjF

New Member
Thanks, it did!

Yeah, I googled it too before I posted the question, so I know that you've definitely found my old school, haha.
 
Top