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Help with a latin motto

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Help with a latin motto

Postby kearneyb » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:15 pm

I'm looking for help in trying to determine the most grammatically correct version of a motto used in a 16th Century Scottish coat of arms and the most appropriate translation.

Three forms of the motto exist:
Obdurandum adversus urgentia
Obduram adversus urgentia
and
Obdura adversus urgentia.

The original seems to have been the first version and appears to have been taken from Alciato's "Book of Emblems," published in 1531. This is the version carved in stone on Bishop Adam Bothwell's memorial plaque at Holyroodhouse Abbey, where he was interned in the Chapel Royale in 1593. The other two versions appear in various blazons published in books in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, including Burke's "Genealogical History of the Dormant, Aberant, Forfeited and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire."

According to Glasgow University's Emblems project, the translation of the motto in Alciato's book is: "One must persist against oppressions." Other translations given by various sources include "Not yielding to provocations" and "Resolute against oppression."

Appreciate any help in determining which version of the motto, and which translation, is most appropriate and/or grammatically correct. Thanks.
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Re: Help with a latin motto

Postby Imber Ranae » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:26 pm

The first one does indeed mean "One must persist against oppressions".

The second one is a statement that "I will persist against oppressions," while the third is a command: "persist against oppressions!"
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Help with a latin motto

Postby furrykef » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:02 pm

They are, however, all equally grammatically correct, so just choose the one that reflects the desired meaning. :)
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Re: Help with a latin motto

Postby kearneyb » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:34 am

Thank you all. It would appear that for use as a motto, the imperative would be the most appropriate.
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Re: Help with a latin motto

Postby kearneyb » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:44 am

P.S., would it be OK to use "Resolute against oppression" in place of "Persist against oppressions"?
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Re: Help with a latin motto

Postby calvinist » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:56 pm

"Resolute against oppression" is really a shortened form of "Be resolute against oppression" or "We/I are/will be resolute..." Either way, "Persist against oppression" is semantically identical, and in my opinion more idiomatic Latin than using a construction of "esse + adjective".
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Re: Help with a latin motto

Postby kearneyb » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:43 am

Thanks. That was pretty much my conclusion, but I wanted a second opinion just in case I missed something.
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