Mater certa, pater incerto

J.M

Active Member
Greetings again to all Latin D members,

Today I would like to know the meaning of the phrase on the thread title and when it was used. I do not know for sure if the way I wrote it is grammatically correct, if not, be so kind as to let me know,

Thank you as always,
J.M
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
The phrase is actually

Mater certa, pater (semper) incertus (est): The mother is certain, the father is (always) uncertain.

It is an aphorism that refers to the fact that for, well, simple biological reasons you can always be sure about the mother of a child, but (at least in times that predated DNA tests) you can never known if she was actually faithful to the person whom she claims to be the father.

I suppose that's why people in Ancient Athens looked their wifes away in the first year after their marriage ... but you find some allusions that even such methods might not really have been 100% bulletproof :p
 

J.M

Active Member
Thank you for your quick and great explanation of this matter,
J.M
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
Shouldn't this stuff be in Latin-To-English?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Shouldn't this stuff be in Latin-To-English?
I guess it should. I'll move it.

I suppose the incerto means it should go to the "incorrect" section...
 

J.M

Active Member
Oh yes, you are right!
Excuse me for not having noticed,
J.M
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Bitmap
looked their wifes away?? Come on, dude, really?
Sorry for being a grammar Nazi, which I am, but didn't you mean "locked their wives away?" :D
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
Bitmap
looked their wifes away?? Come on, dude, really?
Sorry for being a grammar Nazi, which I am, but didn't you mean "locked their wives away?" :D
You're not being a grammar Nazi, though. Like, vocab Nazi or something.
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
You can't?
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
That's tough, 'man.
 
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