The word proverb comes from Latin proverbium and it is a term used for the description of short saying with metaphorical meaning which is widely known and used often by the people who want to say something of general validity, usually in the situation to which a proverb refers. Many proverbs have the origin at famous quotes or citation of some well known written text. For example, the Bible contain three to five hundred of citations that are commonly used as proverbs in the Western civilizational area. Many of proverbs used extensively in our time have the origin in an era of the ancient civilizations. Ancient Rome is no exception. There are many Roman proverbs still used by all of us every day. For some of them, the Latin original is in common knowledge as well. In the following list, we picked up few of famous Roman proverbs which, despite being thousands of years old, have the deeply true meaning for us in the 21st century.
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10. Adversus Solem ne Loquitor
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In English, this one of Roman proverbs means that you should not argue about the sun. In other words, something like the fact that there is the sun on the sky is so obvious that it makes no sense to argue with that.
9. Ignis Aurum Probat
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This is truly one of the incredible Roman quotes. It says that the gold is tested by fire. Of course, it points to the fact that person´s character is truly tested by the critical situations in which one have to risk and stakes are high. It´s very, very true.
8. Aquila Non Capit Muscas
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Another of the Roman proverbs sounds like this in translation: eagles do not catch flies. The majestic bird who don´t care about tiny, unimportant flies is a metaphor for the situations in which you are paying an attention to the triviality of some while you should ignore it and pay attention to something important.
7. Hic Abundant Leones
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This Roman quote is very famous and still widely used. Hic Abundant Leones or here are the lions is the text which was being used on maps to tell that this area is still unknown and nobody knows what is there. You can hardly find an adventure movie in which the main character has the map without this special one among famous Roman proverbs.
6. Auribus Teneo Lupum
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Imagine the confrontation with the wolf. If you will do nothing, the wolf will probably kill and eat you. If you will take the initiative and grab wolf´s ears, you will probably end the same way.
In other words, it is a dead-end situation and this quote describes it – to grab wolf´s ears.
5. In Cauda Venenum
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The bite of a scorpion´s sting is not deadly itself, it is a poison in it which is so dangerous. That´s why Romans used it as a metaphor for the situation which looks to be easy and no problem but turns to the deadly one. This is among famous Roman proverbs which are widely known but used not so often.
4. Una Hirundo Non Facit Ver
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To understand the context of this proverb one need to know that a swallow was considered to be a lucky bird in the Rome. Therefore, if this proverb says that seeing one swallow is not enough to say that the summer is here, it wants to warn you that one outcome of some situation is not a trend and you have no guarantee of another success. We do have some incredible Roman quotes here, don´t you think?
3. Duo lepores qui insequitur, neutrum capit
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This is one of the most famous Roman proverbs (in fact, i tis sometimes attributed to Chinese and sometimes to Confucius himself). It is widely used and everybody knows it. Simply, if you want to chase two rabbits at once, you will probably end with empty hands. The conclusion is equally simple, focus on one problem and solve it, then start with another one.
2. Ductus exemplo
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This quote says that the best leaders lead their way by an example which others follow. It is not surprising that it became a logo for certain military units and other fellowships. It is perfect proverb – short but strikes.
1. Gutta cavat lapidem non vi, sed saepe cadendo
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The top of our list is occupied by a proverb which is very true and it worth to remember its meaning. It´s not one drop which will break the stone but the fact that there are many. It´s a metaphor that we all have to take a part in some problem, even if it looks unbeatable. Our strength is in the group.
We hope that our list of pickups of the famous Roman proverbs inspired you. If you are still in the mood for history, why not to switch Rome for Athens and read our list of Top 10 Ancient Greek Politicians.