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Golden thoughts of Romans

For centuries words have been spoken or written and stayed in history permanently. Similarly, in the case of ancient Rome, in whose history there were great personalities of outstanding knowledge or of great importance for the ancient world.
Among the authors of famous thoughts there will be characters who have become famous for their life arguments, their words were of great importance for the course of history, had a great emotional value or presented those times in an interesting way.

Since the sentences are constantly updated, I count on help in completing or pointing out important information that I should take into account. For this purpose, please contact me.

TIP: The correct person can be found through the browser search engine: CTRL + F. Enter first names, surnames or nicknames. The characters are sorted by year of birth (from the oldest to the youngest).

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

(Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, V century BCE) – Roman consul, dictator:

  • “Sometimes a tiny moment decides about great things”
    • source: Livy, Ab Urbe condita, III, 26

Marcus Furius Camillus

(Marcus Furius Camillus, c. 446 – 364 BCE) – Roman commander, 6-time military tribune:

  • “Nie złotem, lecz żelazem odkupimy ojczyznę!”
    • latin: [Non auro, sed ferro, recuperanda est patria]
    • description: sprzeciwiając się zapłaceniu okupu celtyckim wojskom pod wodzą Brennusa.


(Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, IV/V century BCE) – Roman writer:

  • “The crow will not beak the other crow’s eye” [own translation]
    • latin: [Cornix cornici oculum non effodit]
    • source: Macrobius, Saturnalia, 7, 5

Appius Claudius Caecus

(Appius Claudius Caecus, c. 340 – 273 BCE) – politician and statesman:

  • “Every man is the artisan of his own fortune”
    • latin: [Faber est suae quisque fortunae]
    • description: words also attributed to Julius Caesar.
    • source: Sallust, Speech to Caesar on the State
  • “When you see a friend you forget your sorrows”
    • latin: [Amicum cum vides, obliviscere miserias]
  • “Control yourself so that uncontrollability does not cause some deception and shame”
    • latin: [Compotem esse, ne quid fraudis stuoprive ferocia paret]
    • source: Grammatici Latini


(Titus Maccius Plautus, c. 250 – c. 184 BCE) – Roman comedian, one of the oldest Roman writers:

  • “He whom the gods love dies young”
    • latin: [Quem di diligunt, adolescens moritur]
    • source: Plautus, Bacchides



(Quintus Ennius, 239 – 169 BCE) – poet, considered the father of Roman poetry:

  • “Good deeds misplaced, methinks, are evil deeds”
    • latin: [Bene facta male locata male facta arbitror]
    • description: quoting Ennius.
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis
  • “The victor is not victorious if the vanquished does not consider himself so”
    • latin: [Qui vincit non est victor nisi victus fatetur]
    • source: Ennius, Annales, XXXI, 493
  • “For to fight out a quarrel by force – it is a thing of boorish boars beloved”
    • source: Ennius, Annales
  • “A man who, to one astray, graciously points out the way does it as one lights a torch from his own torch. No less light does it shed for him when he has lit the other’s”
  • “All mortals desire themselves to be praised”
    • latin: [Omnes mortales sese laudarier optant]
    • source: Augustine of Hippo, De Trinitate, XIII, III
  • “No one regards what is before his feet; we all gaze at the stars”
    • latin: [Quod est ante pedes nemo spectat, caeli scrutantur plagas]
    • source: Cicero, De Divinatione, II, XIII
  • “The idle mind knows not what it wants”
    • latin: [Otioso in otio animus nescit quid velit]
    • source: Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, XIX, X
  • “The mind wanders unsure, except in that life is lived”
    • latin: [Incerte errat animus; praeterpropter vitam vivitur]
    • source: Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, XIX, X
  • “Fortune is given to brave men”
    • latin: [Fortibus est fortuna viris data]
    • source: Macrobius, Saturnalia VI, I
  • “Not chaffering war but waging war, not with gold but with iron—thus let us of both sides make trial for our lives”
    • latin: [Nec cauponantes bellum sed belligerantes; ferro non auro vitam cernamus utrique]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, I, XII
  • “Where the Gauls stealthily, at the time of night when sleep falls on men, attacked the high citadel and of a sudden stained with blood walls and watchers”
    • latin: [Qua Galli furtim noctu summa arcis adorti, moenia concubia vigilesque repente cruentant]
    • source: Macrobius, Saturnalia I, IV
  • “Whom none could overcome with iron or gold”
    • latin: [Quem nemo ferro potuit superare nec auro]
    • source: Cicero, De Re Publica, III, IV
  • “Neither you nor any man alive shall do this unpunished: no, you shall give recompense to me with your life-blood”
    • latin: [Nec pol homo quisquam faciet inpune animatus,hoc nec tu; nam mi calido dabis sanguine poenas]
    • source: Macrobius, Saturnalia VI, I
  • “And earth who herself bestowed the body takes it back and wastes not a whit”
    • latin: [Terram corpus quae dederit, ipsam, capere neque dispendi facere hilum]
    • source: Varro, De Lingua Latina V
  • “Open your eyelids, will you all, and let your brains leave sleep behind”
    • latin: [Pandite sultis genas et corde relinquite somnum]
    • source: Festus, De verborum significatione
  • “No sooner said than done—so acts your man of worth”
    • latin: [Dictum factumque facit frux]
    • source: Priscianus, Ars Prisciani, VI
  • “The Roman state survives by its ancient customs and its manhood”
    • latin: [Moribus antiquis res stat Romana virisque]
    • source: Ennius, Annals, V
  • “One man, by delaying, restored the state to us. He valued safety more than mob’s applause; Hence now his glory more resplendent grows”
    • latin: [Unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem. Noenum rumores ponebat ante salutem; Ergo plusque magisque viri nunc gloria claret]
    • source: Cicero, De Senectute, IV
  • “The ape, vilest of beasts, how like to us!”
    • latin: [Simia quam similis turpissima bestia nobis!]
    • source: Cicero, Natura Deorum, I, XXXV
  • “As a strong horse that has often won on the last lap at Olympia is now resting, tired out by old age”
    • latin: [Sicut fortis equus, spatio qui saepe supremo; Vicit Olympia, nunc senio confectus quiescit]
    • description: Ennius refers here to himself and his work Annals, sensing its ending.
    • source: Cicero, De Senectute, V
  • “Whom they fear, they hate. And whom one hates, one hopes to see him dead”
    • latin: [Quem metuunt oderunt; quem quisque odit, perisse expetit]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, II, 23
  • “Let no one pay me honor with tears, nor celebrate my funeral rites with weeping. Why? I fly, living, through the mouths of men”
    • latin: [Nemo me lacrumis decoret neque funera fletu faxit. Cur? volito vivos per ora virum]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, I, XV

Scipio Africanus the Elder

Scipio Africanus Major

(Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Maior, 236 – 184 BCE) – commander during the Second Punic War:

  • “[…] prepare for war, since you have been unable to endure a peace”
    • latin: [bellum parate, quoniam pacem pati non potuistis]
    • description: words addressed to Hannibal before the battle of Zama in 202 BCE.
    • source: Livy, Ab Urbe Condita XXX, 31
  • “Thankless country, thou shalt not possess even my bones!”
    • latin: [Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem habebis]
    • source: Valerius Maximus, Factorvm et dictorvm memorabilivm libri Novem, V, III
  • “The end of the war and hardship was at hand, the spoils of Carthage within reach, and the return home to their native city, to parents, children, wives and household gods”
    • latin: [Adesse finem belli ac laboris; in manibus esse praedam Carthaginis, reditum domum in patriam ad parentes liberos coniuges penatesque deos]
    • description: Scipio’s words to soldiers before the battle of Zama.
    • source: Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XXX, 32
  • “I would rather save the life of one citizen than kill a thousand enemies”
    • latin: [malle se unum civem servare quam mille hostes occidere]
    • source: Historia Augusta, Antoninus Pius, 9.10
  • “[…] never less at leisure than when at leisure, nor less lonely than when alone”
    • latin: [numquam se minus otiosum esse, quam cum otiosus; nec minus solum, quam cum solus esset]
    • description: according to Cato the Elder
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, III, I
  • “I am mindful of human weakness, and I reflect upon the might of Fortune and know that everything that we do is exposed to a thousand chances”
    • latin: [Quod ad me attinet, et humanae infirmitatis memini et uim fortunae reputo et omnia quaecumque agimus subiecta esse mille casibus scio]
    • description: words addressed to Hannibal before the battle of Zama in 202 BCE.
    • source: Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XXX, 31

Cato the Elder

Cato the Elder

Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato, 234 – 149 BCE) – speaker, politician, writer:

  • “Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed”
    • latin: [Ceterum censeo Karthaginem esse delendam]
    • description: Cato the Elder, an implacable enemy of Carthage, ended all speeches in the Roman Senate with such words.
    • source: Plutarch, Marcus Cato 27, 1
  • “Well done, for when shameful lust has swollen the veins, it is suitable that young men should come down here rather than fool around with other men’s wives”
    • description: spotting a young man coming out of a brothel.
    • source: Horace, Satirae
  • “To each his own”
    • latin: [Suum cuique]
    • description: words referring to the old Greek rule of law, which in Plato’s work “Republic”, are described as “justice is when everyone minds his own business”.
    • source: Cato the Elder, De Natura Deorum, III, 38
  • “When those folk [Greeks] give us their writings they will corrupt everything. All the more if they send their doctors here”
    • latin: [vincam nequissimum et indocile genus illorum, et hoc puta vatem dixisse: quandoque ista gens suas litteras dabit, omnia conrumpet, tum etiam magis, si medicos suos hoc mittet]
    • source: Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 29.14
  • “Between the mouth and the morsel”
    • latin: [Inter os atque offam (multa intervenire possunt)]
    • description: firstly quoted by Aristotle. In the Latin version, quoted by Gellius as a fragment of the speech of Cato the Elder.
    • source: Gellius, Noctes Atticae, XIII, 17, 1
  • “Beautiful woman is like a gilded pill – pleasing to the eyes, bitter to the lips”**
  • “Moreover, I consider that Carthage should be destroyed”
    • latin: [Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam]
    • description: words of Cato the Elder, with which he ended all of his speeches in the Roman senate. Often quotes also as “Carthago delenda est”.
    • source: Florus, Epitome of Roman History I, 31
  • “Grasp the subject, the words will follow.”
    • latin: [Rem tene, verba sequentur]
    • source: Gaius Julius Victor, Ars Rhetorica
  • “All mankind rules its women, and we rule all mankind, but our women rule us”
    • description: about prevalent domination of women; source is in greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Apophthegmata regum et imperatorum
  • “Thieves who have robbed private individuals spend their lives in prison and chains, and public thieves in gold and purple”
    • latin: [Fures privatorum furtorum in nervo atque in compedibus aetatem agunt, fures publici in auro atque in purpura]
    • source: Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae XI, 18, 18
  • “Buy not what you want, but what you have need of; what you do not want is dear at a farthing”
    • latin: [Emas non quod opus est, sed quod necesse est. Quod non opus est, asse carum est]
    • description: a farthing was a quarter of an old British penny, so Cato meant that if you buy something you don’t want, a farthing would be too much to pay for it.
    • source: Seneka the Younger, Epistles, 94
  • “Grasp the subject, the words will follow”
    • latin: [Rem tene, verba sequentur]
    • description: suggestions for orators.
    • source: Julius Victor, Art of Rhetoric
  • “I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one”
    • greek: [‘μᾶλλον γὰρ,’ ἔφη, ‘βούλομαι ζητεῖσθαι, διὰ τί μου ἀνδριὰς οὐ κεῖται ἢ διὰ τί κεῖται’]
    • source: Plutarch, Cato, 19:4
  • “Wise men are more dependent on fools than fools on wise men”
    • descritpion: words given in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Cato the Younger, 9



(Publius Terentius Afer, 190 – 159 BCE) – playwright:

  • “I am human, I consider nothing human alien to me”
    • latin: [Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto]
    • source: Terence, Heauton timorumenos I, I, 25
  • “If two do the same thing, it is not the same”
    • latin: [Si duo faciunt idem, non est idem]
    • source: Terence, The Brothers V, 3, 37
  • “As many men, so as many opinions”
    • latin: [Quot homines tot sententiae: suo’ quoique mos]
    • source: Terence, Phormio 454
  • “I’m Davus, not Oedipus”
    • latin: [Davus sum, non Oedipus]
    • description: words of slave, once he was asked to solve the problem.
    • source: Terence, Andria 1.2
  • “Lovers’ quarrels are the renewal of love”
    • latin: [Amantium irae amoris integratio est]
    • source: Terence, Andria 555
  • “He who is first in time is first in right”
    • latin: [Potior est, qui prior est]
    • source: Terence, Phormio II, 3
  • “Do not do what is done”
    • latin: [Actum ne agas]
    • source: Terence, Phormio II, III, 72
  • “Said and done”
    • latin: [Dictum, factum]
    • source: Terence, Andria 2, 3, 7
  • “(the) strong (ones), Fortune helps”
    • latin: [Fortis fortuna adiuvat]
    • source: Terence, Phormio, I, 4
  • “Strictest law means greatest hardship”
    • latin: [Ius summum saepe summast malitia]
    • source: Terence, Heauton Timorumenos, 796
  • “These days flattery wins friends, truth begets hatred”
    • latin: [Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit]
    • source: Terence, Andria 68
  • “The wolf in the story”
    • latin: [Lupus in fabula!]
    • source: Terence, Adelphoe
  • “Alas! three whole days to wait!”
    • latin: [Heu! universum triduum!]
    • source: Terence, Eunuchus II, I, 17
  • “Lovers are lunatics”
    • latin: [Amantes amentes]
    • source: Terence, Andria
  • “Of my friends I am the only one left”
  • “I know the nature of women; when you will they won’t, when you won’t they long for it”
    • latin: [Novi ingenium mulierum: nolunt ubi velis, ubi nolis cupiunt ultro]
    • source: Terence, Eunuchus IV
  • “It is with human life as with a game of dice: if the throw you with for happens not to come up, that which does come up by chance, you must correct by art”
    • latin: [Ita uitast hominum, quasi quom ludas tesseris:si illud quod maxume opus est iactu non cadit, illud quod cecidit forte, id arte ut corrigas.]
    • source: Terence, Brothers IV

Scipio Africanus the Younger

(Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Minor, 185 – 129 BCE) – Roman commander from the Third Punic War:

  • “How can I, who have so many times heard the battle shout of the enemy without feeling fear, be disturbed by the shouts of men like you, to whom Italy is only a stepmother”
    • latin: [Et cum omnis contio adclamasset, hostium, inquit, armatorum totiens clamore non territus, qui possum vestro moveri, quorum noverca est Italia?]
    • source: Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, II, 4


(Lucius Accius, 170 – 85 BCE) – poeta:

  • “Let them hate, so long as they fear”
    • latin: [Oderint, dum metuant]
    • description: words of Caligula about Romans.
    • source: Accius, Atreus

Lucius Cornelius Sulla

(Lucius Cornelius Sulla, 138 – 78 BCE) – Roman dictator, representative of optimates:

  • “Have your way and take him; only bear in mind that the man you are so eager to save will one day deal the death blow to the cause of the aristocracy, which you have joined with me in upholding; for in this Caesar there is more than one Marius”
    • latin: [vincerent ac sibi haberent, dum modo scirent eum, quem incolumem tanto opere cuperent, quandoque optimatium partibus, quas secum simul defendissent, exitio futurum; nam Caesari multos Marios inesse]
    • description: Sulla’s words about Julius Caesar, in the face of politicians’ pleas to spare Caesar’s life. Caesar had family ties with Gaius Mariuss – Sulla’s rival.
    • source: Suetonius, Gaius Julius Caesar, 1

Lucius Cassius Longinus

(2nd – 1st century BCE) – Roman judge and politician:

  • “To whom might it be for a benefit?”
    • latin: [Cui bono fuerit?]
    • description: recommended question – regarding the identification of suspected crime, which should be asked during the trial. It expresses the view that crimes are oftentimes committed to benefit their perpetrators, especially financially.
    • source: Cicero, Pro Roscio Amerino, 84, 86

Marcus Terentius Varro

(Marcus Terentius Varro, 116 – 27 BCE)Roman writer and scholar, legate and commander:

  • “The Roman conquers by sitting still”
    • latin: [Romanus sedendo vincit]
    • description: a reference to the virtues of the Romans who succeed through diligence and patience.
    • source: Varro, De re rustica, ks. 2, rozdz. II

Pompeius the Great

(Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, 106 – 48 BCE)Roman politician and military commander; optimates supporter:

  • “We are contending for liberty and country”
    • description: words taken from Pompey’s speech, addressed to the army, before the battle of Pharsalus in 48 BCE.
    • source: Appian of Alexandria, The Civil Wars, II, 72
  • “We have to sail, we do not have to live”
    • latin: [Navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse]
    • description: when Rome was experiencing a food crisis, Pompey became the head of the grain supply to Rome. When he tried to bounce off the shore with delivery, a storm broke out at sea. The crew was so scared that they were afraid to sail out into the wide sea. At that time Pompey was to prove his dedication to saving the starving Roman masses with these words.
    • source: Plutarch, Pompey, 50



(Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106 – 43 BCE) – speaker, politician and philosopher:

  • “But certainly there is nothing better, or more excellent, or more beautiful than the world”
    • latin: [Atqui certe nihil omnium rerum melius est mundo, nihil praestantius, nihil pulchrius, nec solum nihil est]
    • source: Cicero, De natura deorum, II
  • “Problem requiring an Archimedes”
    • latin: [πρόβλημα Ἀρχιμήδειον est]
    • description: problem difficult to solve
    • source: Cicero, Ad Atticum, 12, 4
  • “Arguments to be weighed, not counted”
    • latin: [Argumenta non numeranda, sed ponderanda sunt]
    • source: Cicero, De oratore, II, 76
  • “We are slaves of the law so that we may be able to be free”
    • latin: [Legum servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Cluentio, 53.146
  • “For not only is Fortune blind herself, but as a rule she even blinds those whom she has embraced”
    • latin: [Non enim solum ipsa fortuna caeca est, sed eos etiam plerumque efficit caecos, quos complexa est]
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia, 54
  • “The whole life of philosophers is the meditation of death”
    • latin: [Tota philosophorum vita commentatio mortis est]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestiones, II.30
  • “Virtue is perfected reason”
    • latin: [virtus est perfecta ratio]
    • source: Cicero, De legibus, I, 16, 45
  • “To conceal is one thing; to be silent is another thing”
    • latin: [Aliud est celare, aliud tacere]
    • source: Cicero, De officiis, III, 14
  • “What he sees frequently causes him no astonishment even though he does not know how it happened. If something happens which he never saw before he considers it a portent”
    • latin: [Quod crebro videt non miratur, etiamsi cur fiat nescit. Quod ante non vidit, id si evenerit, ostentum esse censet]
    • source: Cicero, De Divinatione, II. 22
  • “Nothing can possibly seem expedient that is not morally right”
    • latin: [Quod honestum non est, id ne utile quidem]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, 78
  • “A man’s own manner and character is what most becomes him”
  • “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”
    • latin: [Equi donati dentes non inspiciuntur]
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, 15, 17
  • “The greatest theater for virtue is conscience”
    • latin: [Nullum theatrum virtuti conscientia maiorest]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanarum disputationum omnes, I.64
  • “The health of the people should be the supreme law”
    • latin: [Salus populi suprema lex]
    • source: Cicero, De Legibus, III, III, VIII
  • “Nothing is good, except what is honorable, nothing evil, except what is disgraceful”
    • latin: [Nihil bonum nisi quod honestum, nihil malum nisi quod turpe]
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, 10.4.4
  • “Good men would prosper and bad men come to grief”
    • latin: [Bene bonis, male malis]
    • source: Cicero, De Natura Deorum, III, 32, 80
  • “Use is the best master”
    • latin: [Usus magister est optimus]
    • source: Cicero, De Oratore, III
  • “Parents are dear, children dear, relations, friends. But our country alone has embraced all the dearest ties of all”
    • latin: [Cari sunt parentes, cari liberi, propinqui, familiares, sed omnium caritates patria una complexa est]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, I, XVII
  • “Other I”
    • latin: [Alter ego]
    • description: Cicero described this way a friend, who in his opinion is “the greatest of all the gifts from the gods”.
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia
  • “To commit the same error twice”
    • latin: [Bis ad eundem lapidem offendere]
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, 10, 20, 2
  • “Philosophy is the art of life”
    • latin: [Ars est philosophia vitae]
    • source: Cicero, De finibus, III, 4
  • “Philosophy is the cultivation of the soul”
    • latin: [Cultura animi philosophia est]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, II, 5
  • “When to an excellent and admirable natural disposition there is added a certain system and training of education, then from that combination arises an extraordinary perfection of character”
    • latin: [Cum ad naturam eximiam et illustrem accessit ratio quaedam conformatioque doctrinae, tum illud nescio quid praeclarum ac singulare existere]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Archia, 15
  • “When they remain quiet, they actually approve of my conduct”
    • latin: [Cum quiescunt, probant]
    • description: słowa Cycerona przeciw Katylinie o zgromadzonych senatorach.
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, I 21
  • “The roots of stupidity are very deep”
  • “Hunger is the best cook”
    • latin: [Fames est optimus coquus]
  • “Hannibal at the gates”
    • latin: [Hannibal ad portas!]
    • source: Cicero, Philippicae 1, 5, 11
  • “History is life’s teacher”
    • latin: [Historia magistra vitae est]
    • source: Cyceron, De Oratore, II, 36
  • “By what other voice, too, than that of the orator, is history, the witness of time, the light of truth, the life of memory, the directress of life, the herald of antiquity, committed to immortality?”
    • latin: [Historia vero testis temporum, lux veritatis, vita memoriae, magistra vitae, nuntia vetustatis, qua voce alia nisi oratoris immortalitati commendatur?]
    • source: Cicero, De Oratore, II, 36
  • “Names are hateful”
    • latin: [Nomina sunt odiosa]
    • description: names should not be mentioned.
  • “For it is not the written but natural law, that it is lawful to repel force with force”
    • latin: [Est enim ea non scripta, sed nata lex, quod vim vi repellere licet]
  • “When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now? Do not the nightly guards placed on the Palatine Hill—do not the watches posted throughout the city—does not the alarm of the people, and the union of all good men—does not the precaution taken of assembling the senate in this most defensible place—do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present, have any effect upon you? Do you not feel that your plans are detected? Do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge which every one here possesses of it? What is there that you did last night, what the night before— where is it that you were—who was there that you summoned to meet you—what design was there which was adopted by you, with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted? Shame on the age and on its principles!”
    • latin: [Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia? Nihilne te nocturnum praesidium Palati, nihil urbis vigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil concursus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum ora voltusque moverunt? Patere tua consilia non sentis, constrictam iam horum omnium scientia teneri coniurationem tuam non vides? Quid proxima, quid superiore nocte egeris, ubi fueris, quos convocaveris, quid consilii ceperis, quem nostrum ignorare arbitraris? O tempora, o mores!]
    • description: first speech in the Roman Senate on October 8, 63 BCE.
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, I, 1
  • “It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others, and to forget his own”
    • latin: [Est proprium stultitiæ aliorum vitia cernere, oblivisci suorum]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, III.30
  • “I am Roman citizen”
    • latin: [Civis Romanus sum]
    • description: by saying these words, a Roman citizen evaded the trial outside his home country.
    • source: Cicero, In Verrem 5, 57, 147
  • “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”
    • latin: [Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?]
    • source: Cicero, Orator, 120
  • “Any man is liable to a mistake; but no one but a downright fool will persist in error”
    • latin: [Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare]
    • source: Cicero, The Twelfth Philippic, II
  • “Excess of liberty either in nations or in individuals turns into an excess of servitude”
    • latin: [Nimiaque illa libertas et populis et privatis in nimiam servitutem cadit]
    • source: Cicero, De Re Publica, I 68
  • “For even if the allotted space of life be short, it is long enough in which to live honourably and well”
    • latin: [Breve tempus aetis satis longum est ad bene honestumque vivendum]
    • source: Cicero, Cato Maior De Senectute, 70
  • “The one who suffers has a memory”
  • “When they remain silent, they cry out”
    • latin: [Cum tacent, clamant]
    • description: silence is more eloquent than speech.
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, I, 3
  • “We are slaves of the law so that we may be able to be free”
  • “Therefore, true friendships are very hard to find among those whose time is spent in office or in business of a public kind. For where can you find a man so high-minded as to prefer his friend’s advancement to his own?”
    • latin: [Amicitiae difficillimae reperiuntur in iis, qui in honoribus reque publica versantur. Ubi enim istum invenies, qui honorem amici anteponat suo?]
    • source: Cicero, Laelius de amicitia, 64
  • “Surely nothing is more vital than the clear realization that we are born for justice”
    • latin: [Nihil est profecto praestabilius, quam plane intellegi, nos ad iustitiam esse natos]
    • source: Cicero, De Legibus, I.28
  • “Nothing blooms forever; generation succeeds generation”
    • latin: [Nihil enim semper floret, aetas succedit aetati]
    • source: Cicero, Philippics, 11.39
  • “Not to be greedy is wealth”
  • “Therefore, we do not use the proverbial “fire and water” on more occasions than we use friendship”
    • latin: [Itaque non aqua, non igni, ut aiunt, locis pluribus utimur quam amicitia]
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia, VI.22
  • “There is nothing more unbearable than a fool who is prospering”
  • “For no part of life, neither public affairs nor private, neither in the forum notr at home, neither when acting on our own nor in dealings with another, can be free from duty”
    • latin: [Nulla enim vitae pars neque publicis neque privatis neque forensibus neque domesticis in rebus, neque si tecum agas quid, neque si cum altero contrahas]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, I.4
  • “I never yet heard of an old man that forgot where he had hid his treasure”
    • latin: [Nec vero quemquam senem audivi oblitum, quo loco thesaurum obruisset]
    • source: Cicero, De Senectute, 7
  • “There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it”
    • latin: [Nihil tam absurde dici potest quod non dicatur ab aliquo filosophorum]
    • source: Cicero, De Divinatione, II, 58.
  • “For not only is Fortune blind herself, but as a rule she even blinds those whom she has embraced”
    • latin: [Non enim solum ipsa Fortuna caeca est sed eos etiam plerumque efficit caecos quos complexa est]
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia, 54
  • “That no individual, or combination of individuals, should be allowed to become too powerful; that politics is a professon, not a pastime for dilettantes”
    • description: Cicero in book.
    • source: Robert Harris, Dictator
  • “Let arms yield to the toga, let the victor’s laurel yield to the orator’s tongue”
    • latin: [Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea laudi]
    • description: let there be a peace
    • source: Cicero, De officiis, I, 22.
  • “Let him drink or depart”
    • latin: [Aut bibat aut abeat!]
    • description: wording emphasizing the nature of Roman banquets.
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, V, 41
  • “Never less alone than when alone”
    • latin: [Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus]
    • source: Cicero, De Officiis, III.1
  • “No one is so old as to think that he cannot live one more year”
    • latin: [Nemo enim est tam senex qui se annum non putet posse vivere]
    • source: Cicero, Cato Maior de Senectute, 24
  • “Shame on the age and on its principles!”
    • latin: [O tempora! O mores!]
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, I, 1
  • “He has left, absconded, escaped and disappeared”
    • latin: [Abiit, evasit, excessit, erupit]
    • description: Cicero’s famous description of Catiline’s escape in the second Catiline oration.
    • source: Cicero, In Catilinam, II, 1, 1
  • “A friend in need is a friend indeed”
    • latin: [Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur]
    • description: quoting Ennius.
    • source: Cicero, Laelius de Amicitia, 17, 64
  • “The sinews of war, unlimited money”
    • latin: [Nervi belli, pecunia infinita]
    • source: Cicero, Philippics, V, II, 5
  • “Indeed, all rules respecting it are obvious to common view; for who is ignorant that it is the first law in writing history, that the historian must not dare to tell any falsehood, and the next, that he must be bold enough to tell the whole truth? Also, that there must be no suspicion of partiality in his writings, or of personal animosity?”
    • latin: [Nam quis nescit primam esse historiae legem, ne quid falsi dicere audeat? Deinde ne quid veri non audeat? Ne quae suspicio gratiae sit in scribendo? Ne quae simultatis?]
    • description: knows as: “The first law for the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice”.
    • source: Cicero, De Oratore, II.XV.62
  • “Good for whom?”
    • latin: [Cui bono (fuerit)?]
    • description: Roman judge Lucius Cassius Longinus recommended using this question when examining the cases.
    • source: Cicero, Pro Milone, 12
  • “Poets are born such, orators become such”
    • latin: [Poetae nascuntur, oratores fiunt]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Archia, 8
  • “A room without books is like a body without a soul”
    • latin: [Postea vero quam Tyrannio mihi libros disposuit, mens addita videtur meis aedibus]
    • description: the sentence is known as the modern interpretation of Cicero’s text to Atticus: “Moreover, since Tyrannio has arranged my books for me, my house seems to have had a soul added to it”.
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, 4.8
  • “A letter has no blushes”
    • latin: [Epistola (enim) non erubescit]
    • source: Cicero, Listy, 5, 12
  • “Work hardens one against pain”
  • “A friend is, as it were, a second self”
  • “Friend is a second self”
    • latin: [Amicus est tamquam alter ego]
    • source: Cicero, Epistulae ad familiares, 7,5.1
  • “I hear Socrates saying that the best seasoning for food is hunger; for drink, thirst”
    • latin: [Socratem audio dicentem, cibi condimentium essa famem, potionis sitim]
    • source: Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, II. 28
  • “Our country ought to be dearer to us than ourselves”
    • latin: [Decet cariorem esse patriam nobis quam nosmet ipsos]
    • source: Cicero, De Finibus, 3.64
  • “Habit is second nature”
    • latin: [Consuetudo (quasi) altera natura]
    • source: Cicero, De finibus, 5, 25, 74
  • “From things to be carried old age draws away”
    • latin: [A rebus gerendis senectus abstrahit]
    • source: Cicero, Cato Maior De senectute, VI
  • “Fear is not a long-term teacher of duty”
    • latin: [Timor, non diuturnus magister offici]
    • source: Cicero, Philippicae, 90.XXXVI
  • “Philosophy is the art of life”
    • latin: [Ars est philosophia vitae]
    • source: Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, III 7, 26
  • “Rich is the one who wishes no more than he has”
    • latin: [Dives est, cui tanta possesio est, ut nihil optet amplius]
    • source: Cicero, Paradoxa Stoicorum, 6
  • “In time of war the Muses fall silent”
    • latin: [Inter arma silent Musae]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Milone, IV.11
  • “W czasie wojny milczą prawa”
    • latin: [Inter arma enim silent leges]
    • description: later version of Cicero words.
    • source: Cicero, Pro Milone, IV.11
  • “I see the wolf”
    • latin: [Video lupum]
  • “With oars and sails”
    • latin: [Remis velisque]
    • description: with full speed.
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 3
  • “Choose who you love”
  • “Take the sun out of the universe when they deprive life of friendship, than which we have from the immortal gods no better, no more delightful boon”
    • latin: [Solem enim e mundo tollere videntur, qui amicitiam e vita tollunt, qua nihil a dis immortalibus melius habemus, nihil iucundius]
    • source: Cicero, De Amicitia, 47
  • “To kindle one fire by another”
    • latin: [Ab igne ignem]
    • source: Cicero, De officiis, 52
  • “Fight for altars and homes”
  • “The crux (or puzzle) of critics”
    • latin: [Crux criticorum]
    • source: Cicero, Pro milone, 12
  • “Life is brief, glory everlasting”
    • latin: [Vitae brevis cursus, gloriae sempiternus]
    • source: Cicero, Pro Sestius, 21.47
  • “To live is to think”
    • latin: [Vivere est cogitare]
    • source: Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 5.38.112
  • “They have lived”
    • latin: [Vixere]
    • description: with this word, Cicero decided on execution of the conspirators who were accused of participating in the famous conspiracy of Catiline. What is more, those words used superstitious Romans to prevent an unfortunate calling of death at meetings.
    • source: Plutarch, Cicero, 22.2

Quotes of Cicero

Gaius Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar

(Gaius Iulius Caesar, 100-44 BCE) – politician, general, dictator and writer:

  • “Do you not think it is matter for sorrow that while Alexander, at my age, was already king of so many peoples, I have as yet achieved no brilliant success?”
    • description: written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Caesar, 11
  • “Gaul is a whole divided into three parts”
    • latin: [Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres]
    • source: Gaius Julius Caesar, Commentarii de bello Gallico
  • “Even you, Brutus?”
    • description: those words are Shakespeare’s invention. In fact, he was supposed to say, “You too, child?”
    • latin: [Et tu, Brute?]
    • source: William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, III, 1
  • “The die has been cast”
    • latin: [Alea iacta est]
    • description: Menander’s poem allegedly repeated by Caesar when crossing the Rubicon. Caesar was to say these words in Greek.
    • source: Suetonius, Julius Caesar, 32
  • “Robberies which are committed beyond the boundaries of each state bear no infamy, and they avow that these are committed for the purpose of disciplining their youth and of preventing sloth”
    • latin: [Latrocinia nullam habent infamiam, quae extra fines cuiusque civitatis fiunt, atque ea iuventutis exercendae ac desidiae minuendae causa fieri praedicant]
    • description: about Germans, emphasizing their bad nature.
    • source: Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico, VI.23
  • “I have you, Africa”
    • latin: [Teneo te, Africa]
    • description: Caesar’s words as he rolled over in front of his soldiers as he stepped off the ship off the coast of Africa.
    • source: Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar, 59
  • “My wife should be as much free from suspicion of a crime as she is from a crime itself”
    • latin: [Quoniam meos tam suspicione quam crimine iudico carere oportere]
    • description: in this way, Julius Caesar justified the dismissal of his wife, Pompeia. Caesar believed that she was compromised by Publius Clodius, who in disguise got to her house on the day of the Good Goddess, reserved only for women. Used also in form: “Because my family should not only be free from guilt, but even from the suspicion of it”.
    • source: Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar, 74
  • “I am not much in fear of these fat, long-haired fellows, but rather of those pale, thin ones”
    • description: about Cassius and Brutus plotting against him. Written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Caesar, 62
  • “From a common infirmity of human nature, that we are more flushed with confidence, or more vehemently alarmed at things unseen, concealed, and unknown, as was the case then”
    • latin: [Communi fit vitio naturae, ut invistatis atque incognitis magis confidamus vehementiusque exterreamur]
    • source: Gaius Julius Caesar, Commentarii belli civilis II, 2.4
  • “I came; I saw; I conquered”
    • latin: [Veni, vidi, vici!]
    • description: during his triumph over Pontus, he had an inscription bearing these words carried before him. In this way, Caesar referred to his rapid victory over the king of Pontus Farnaces at Zela.
    • source: Suetonius, Caesar 37
  • “In the end, it is impossible not to become what others believe you are”
  • “What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also”
    • latin: [Quae volumus, ea credimus libenter, at quae sentimus ipsi, reliquos sentire speramus]
    • source: Gaius Julius Caesar, Commentarii belli civilis II, 27.2
  • “You carry Caesar and Caesar’s fortune”
    • latin: [Caesarem vehis, Caesarisque fortunam]
    • description: words to captain of the boat.
    • source: Plutarch, Caesar 38, 3
  • “I would rather be the first man here than the second man in Rome”
    • description: about a small Alpine town. Written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Caesar, 11
  • “I love treason but hate a traitor”
    • description: written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Romulus, 17

Quotes of Julius Caesar

Cornelius Nepos

(Cornelius Nepos, 100 – 24 BCE) – Roman historian and biographer:

  • “The mother of a cautious person is not accustomed to weep”
    • latin: [Neque sine causa dici matrem timidi flere non solere]
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Thrasybulus, 2
  • “No government is safe unless fortified by goodwill”
    • latin: [Nullum imperium tutum, nisi benevolentia munitum]
    • description: about death of Titus Pomponius Atticus.
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Dion, 5
  • “So that he seemed to depart not from life, but from one home to another”
    • latin: [Ut non ex vita, sed ex domo in domum videretur migrare]
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, 22
  • “Peace is obtained by war”
    • latin: [Nam paritur pax bello]
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Epaminondas, 5
  • “Hateful is the power, and pitiable is the life, of those who wish to be feared rather than loved”
    • latin: [Quam invisa sit singularis potentia et miseranda vita qui se metui quam amari malunt]
    • source: Cornelius Nepos, Dion, 9



(Titus Lucretius Carus, 99 – 55 BCE) – poet and philosopher:

  • “Life isn’t given to anyone, but just given on loan to everyone”
    • latin: [Vitaque mancipio nulli datur, omnibus usu]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III, 971
  • “For just as children tremble and fear all
    In the viewless dark, so even we at times
    Dread in the light so many things that be
    No whit more fearsome than what children feign,
    Shuddering, will be upon them in the dark.”

    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III
  • “Nothing arises from nothing”
    • latin: [Ex nihilo nihil fit]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, I
  • “Some nations rise, others diminish […] and like runners carry on the torch of life”
    • latin: [Augescunt aliae gentes aliae minuuntur […] et quasi cursores vitai lampada tradunt]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, II, 77/79
  • “From the bottom of the chest”
    • latin: [Ab imo pectore]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, 1.148–156
  • “Nothing comes from nothing”
    • latin: [De nihilo nihil]
    • description: the maxim attributed to the Greek philosopher Parmenides. A reference to cosmology that existence is eternal, has no beginning and no end, and is the only one.
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, 3.57
  • “Golden sayings”
    • latin: [Aurea dicta]
    • description: this is how the poet describes his teacher’s words.
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III, 12

Cato the Younger

(Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis, 95 – 46 BCE) – Roman politician and stoic philosopher, living in accordance with integrity:

  • “Now, I am master of myself”
    • description: before suicide. Senator Cato the Younger, after the siege of Carthage by Caesar, committed suicide, sticking the dagger in the chest and tearing the wound with his own hands. Apparently, Cato did not want to witness the fall of the republic. The words were given in the source, written in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Cato the Younger, 70
  • “If you live properly, don’t worry about what the evil ones say”
    • latin: [Cum recte vivis, ne cures verba malorum]
  • “I would not be beholden to a tyrant, for his acts of tyranny. For it is but usurpation in him to save, as their rightful lord, the lives of men over whom he has no title to reign”
    • descritpion: instructing Lucius Caesar, after the defeat at Tapsus. Words given in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Cato the Younger, 66
  • “I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid”
    • descritpion: Cato’s response to the accusation that he did not present his speeches to others at a young age. Words given in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Cato the Elder, 4



Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus, 86 – 35 BCE) – historian and writer:

  • “Small communities grow great through harmony, great ones fall to pieces through discord”
  • “Necessity makes even the timid brave”
    • latin: [Necessitas etiam timidos fortes facit]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 52
  • “[People] hold one thing hidden in the heart, and the opposite thing at the tip of one’s tongue”
    • latin: [Aliud clausum in pectore, aliud in lingua promptum habent]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 10
  • “Such proceedings [Citizens’ disagreement] have often ruined powerful states”
    • latin: [Discordia civium plerumque magnas civitates pessumdedit]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Jugurthinum, 42
  • “To like and dislike the same things, this is what makes a solid friendship”
    • latin: [Nam idem velle atque idem nolle, ea demum firma amicitia est]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 20
  • “Covetous of the property of others and prodigal of his own”
    • latin: [Alieni appetens, sui profusus]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 5
  • “Plenty of eloquence, not enough wisdom”
    • latin: [Satis eloquentiae, sapientiae parum]
    • description: about Catiline
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 5
  • “For the fame of riches and beauty is fickle and frail, while virtue is eternally excellent”
    • latin: [Nam divitiarum et formae gloria fluxa atque fragilis est, virtus clara aeternaque habetur]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 1
  • “All our power lies in both mind and body; we employ the mind to rule, the body rather to serve; the one we have in common with the Gods, the other with the brutes”
    • latin: [Sed nostra omnis vis in animo et corpore sita est; animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur; alterum nobis cum dis, alterum cum beluis commune est]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 1
  • “But when sloth has introduced itself in the place of industry, and covetousness and pride in that of moderation and equity, the condition of a state is altered together with its morals; and thus authority is always transferred from the less to the more deserving”
    • latin: [Verum ubi pro labore desidia, pro continentia et aequitate libido atque superbia invasere, fortuna simul cum moribus immutatur. Ita imperium semper ad optimum quemque a minus bono transfertur]
    • source: Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 2

Marcus Junius Brutus

Marcus Junius Brutus

(Marcus Iunius Brutus, 85 – 42 BCE) – politician:

  • “Thus always to tyrants”
    • latin: [Sic semper tyrannis!]
    • descriiption: it is often believed that these words were first spoken by Marcus Junius Brutus after the murder of Julius Caesar. According to Plutarch Brutus was not able to say anything, as after the assassination senators ran away from the Senate.
  • “The Xanthians, suspecting my kindness, have made their country the grave of their despair; the Patareans, trusting themselves to me, enjoy in all points their former liberty; it is in your power to choose the judgment of the Patareans or the fortune of the Xanthians”
    • description: words in Greek.
    • source: Plutarch, Brutus, 2



(Gaius Valerius Catullus, 84 – 54 BCE) – poet:

  • “Thus the virgin, as long as she remains intact, so long she is dear to her people”
    • latin: [Sic virgo, dum intacta manet, dum cara suis est]
    • source: Catullus, Poem 62
  • “Nothing is more silly than a silly smile”
    • latin: [Risu inepto res ineptior nulla est]
    • source: Catullus, Poem 39
  • “I hate, I love”
    • latin: [Odi et amo]
    • source: Catullus, Poem 85
  • “Hail and farewell”
    • latin: [Ave atque vale]
    • source: Catullus, Poem 101

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