A question about the word "Mori"

Wind

New Member
Hi :)
First, thanks for letting me join this forum

I have a question about the word "Mori".
The sentence "Memento Mori" have been a part of me for many years. I like the meaning behind it and keeps me remembering, that i shall live while it is possible :)
So, here´s the real question. Maybe it´s a stupid question, but rather safe than sorry.
Can you use the word "Mori" just as it is, or does it only make sence along with other words like "memento"? And if it can be used as a single word, does it then mean "dying/to die"?

Have a nice day
Wind
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
It's an infinitive form, a bit like in English "to die".

As an utterance by itself, no, it doesn't make sense, any more than one could begin a conversation by saying,

- 'To die.'

But obviously there are some (highly artificial) contexts where you could use it by itself, eg.

- ignosce, optime, sed oblītus es alicuiius.
- cuiius igitur oblītus sum?
- morī.

- 'I'm sorry, my good man, but you have forgotten something.'
- 'And what have I forgotten?'
- 'To die.'
 

Wind

New Member
Hi láson
Thanks for a quick reply.

I have thought about using the word for a band. The music and lyrics a dark, gloomy and focused about death.
Would that be possible, or is it simply just a no-go?
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
To my knowledge there weren't such things as bands in ancient Rome, and thus no conventions over what could and could not be used for their names, and in any case I'm not aware of any modern convention over the name of bands preventing them from using any particular grammatical forms in English. So I don't see why not.
 

Notascooby

Active Member
It's an infinitive but also used like a gerund meaning dying, and specifically the act of dying.

Though I may be wrong
 

Notascooby

Active Member
In fact memento Mori literally means "remember the act of dying."

Wait for someone else to assess my comments before you do anything with them though
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Quite literally, it's "remember to die".
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
In fact memento Mori literally means "remember the act of dying."
Not according to Lewis and Short:
So impers. memento with inf., remember to, i. e. be sure to, do not fail to: memento ergo dimidium mihi istinc de praeda dare, Plaut. Ps. 4, 7, 66: ei et hoc memento (sc. dicere), id. Merc. 2, 2, 11: dextram cohibere memento, Juv. 5, 71.
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
It's an infinitive but also used like a gerund meaning dying, and specifically the act of dying.
The infinitive in Latin sometimes corresponds to the -ing noun form in English.
eg. (famously) dulce et decōrum est prō patriā morī 'dying for one's country is pleasurable and right'

But sometimes the -ing noun form in English is used in contexts where a Latin infinitive would not be used.
eg. 'I'm writing about dying' ~ scrībō dē moriendō (NOT *scrībō dē morī)
 

Notascooby

Active Member
The infinitive in Latin sometimes corresponds to the -ing noun form in English.
eg. (famously) dulce et decōrum est prō patriā morī 'dying for one's country is pleasurable and right'

But sometimes the -ing noun form in English is used in contexts where a Latin infinitive would not be used.
eg. 'I'm writing about dying' ~ scrībō dē moriendō (NOT *scrībō dē morī)
The present infinitive corresponds to the nominative and accusative of the gerund. De requires the ablative as you say.

Memento Mori meaning "remember to die" seems odd to me. Mori being used as an accusative after memento makes more sense to me thus meaning " "remember the act of dying".
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Memento Mori meaning "remember to die" seems odd to me.
The phrase memento mori itself has always felt like odd Latin to me. By usual classical standards it would indeed mean "remember to die", as if one could just forget and fail to die. Now the intended meaning is "remember that you will die", which in classical Latin would require an acc.-inf. with future infinitive, for instance moriturum te esse memento; or "remember the act of dying", as you say, which in classical Latin would likely be memento mortem. Thus far I haven't come across any classical example where memento + present infinitive is used this way, so I've always chalked this memento mori phrase up to some medieval slight distortion of the language or poetic liberty or something like that. If anyone knows of a classical parallel, I'd like to see it.
 
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Iáson

Cívis Illústris
The present infinitive corresponds to the nominative and accusative of the gerund. De requires the ablative as you say.
That's one way of putting it. However, note that it's fairly rare and perhaps non-classical to use the infinitive as an object (Kennedy gives an example from Persius, hoc rīdēre meum nūllā tibi vēndō Īliade). Mostly the instances where an infinitive is used in contexts where the accusative of a noun would be are with factitive verbs (eg. errāre putō esse malum). After prepositions that normally take the infinitive, a gerund is used instead (eg. ad moriendum).

I agree with Pacifica - mementō morī meaning 'remember death/the act of dying' is not idiomatic Latin. By Classical rules it ought to mean 'remember to die', even if this makes less sense.
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
To my knowledge there weren't such things as bands in ancient Rome, and thus no conventions over what could and could not be used for their names
Clodius and the Vappae ;)

Personally if I saw Mori standing alone, I would assume you had used Google Translate to come up with something nonsensical.
 

Laurentius

Civis Illustris
The phrase memento mori itself has always felt like odd Latin to me. By usual classical standards it would indeed mean "remember to die", as if one could just forget and fail to die.
Reminds me of when Wile E. Coyote would keep running airborne in the middle of a cliff until he'd notice that he had no ground under his feet.
 

Notascooby

Active Member
Could memento Mori just be understood as "remember that you are dying". Just because the translation is "remember that you will die" doesn't mean it is a correct translation and like Pacifica said it would require a future infinitive to mean that.The phrase "Remember that you will die" is just nonsense anyway. The phrase is an encouragement to act now where the meaning remember that "you are dying" is more of a call to action.
 

Wind

New Member
Thanks for all the feedback. It gave some clarification, but still leaves me in a grey zone

Personally if I saw Mori standing alone, I would assume you had used Google Translate to come up with something nonsensical.
[/QUOTE]
After i saw this, i will have a hard time naming a band "Mori"

The thing behind it all is, that my friend which i formed the band with, is literally dying and have maybe 3-5 years left. So i thought the band should have a straight connection and therefor i went for something related to "dying/to die"

Maybe i ask for too much now, but here it goes:
I´m looking for a single word in latin for the word "dying". (maybe two words, but preferably one word)
Pacifica wrote moriturum te esse memento; or "remember the act of dying" can "moriturum" be the word I´m looking for?
I am way out of my comfort zone here, so I hope some of you could give me a suggestion or two

Thank you in advance
Wind
 

Notascooby

Active Member
If you want dying/ to die then Mori is I think your best bet. Though wait for confirmation from someone else on this. Don't use moriturum though, that is definitely wrong for your purposes
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
If you do a search on "memento mori" in this forum you will see that this has come up many, many times. And we still don't know where the phrase originated, or why it has this peculiar form. The internet will tell you about the slave that was supposed to walk behind the emperor, but A) there is no real reason to think this ever happened, and B) the late Christian authors who claim it did don't use the phrase. Someone thought that it might have been the end of a pentameter, which it can't be.
 
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Iáson

Cívis Illústris
I don't think there's any attestation in an ancient author, and the earliest modern example I can find is in this 15th century book: https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Cordiale_quatuor_nouissimoruz/eJpKAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq="memento+mori"&pg=PP24&printsec=frontcover

I haven't done any medieval Latin palaeography in a while (and I can't remember all the abbreviations, so if someone more versed in such things could check), but it looks to me like this is attributed to Seneca.

'unde ait seneca: nihil aequē tibi proficiet ad temperantiam omnium rērum temperālium ?et contemptum sīcut frequēns brevis ??? et huius temporis ?? certī meditātiō. igitur dīlecte mī dum vīvis: memorī mente mementō morī'

Unless Igitur starts a new section, I suppose. At any rate, I can't find anything like this in Seneca and 'temperālis' doesn't seem to be Classical Latin (or post- or ante-classical) so I guess it's been made up in the medieval period.
 
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