The darkest hour is always before dawn


New Member
Hi, I am painting a painting and wanted to include the motto that is very important to me.

I was wondering if anyone could help me with translating this saying;
The darkest hour/ hours is/are always before dawn
The darkest time is always before dawn

Thank you so much

Caroline :hi:


There are a number of different ways one might express that idea. But I'll go out on a limb and suggest:

Hora spissisima semper sub auroram est.

We could be more straightforward both about the darkness (obscurissima or atrocissima) or about the dawn (sub primam lucem), but I think my first version better reproduces the flavor of the English, which is of course not usually meant to be taken literally.

Other views?


New Member
Thank you soo much for your help.

Do you know if there are other words for time, than hora?

Thanks againg,


Iynx's translation is excellent, in particular sub auroram; much more direct and impending than, say, ante primam lucem.

I personally would not have thought of the beautiful spissisima - "thickest, most dense", and might opt for aterrima - "blackest, gloomiest", but that is a small quibble.

Regarding hora, this is probably best. The word means much more than the English cognate "hour" (e.g. the seasons were often called Horae), and captures the idea of "a moment" much better than a word like tempus - "time (in the abstract)", . For students, the cognate momentum - "moment" is not appropriate here since this word does not mean "a moment in time" but rather "importance" (e.g. "a time of great moment").