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Latin Phrase: Public Warning

by William
(Chicago, IL)

Dear Latin Teacher,

Would this Latin phrase read properly as a public warning? Relenquete spem totum quod ante te vaccus est.

Dear William,

I cannot interpret your Latin. If you write your public warning in English, I'll be glad to provide the corresponding Latin.

With a few changes to your words I get:

Relinque spem totam quod ante te vacuus est.

But this means leave all hope behind because before you it is empty.

Or I get:

Relinque spem totam quod ante te vacca est.

But this means leave all hope behind because before you there is a cow. With such a cow right before me, I may not need the public warning, especially in Latin.

Write again, if you would like to clarify what the public warning should say.



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In conclusion
by: Anonymous

My final couple of questions are:
1. Would this ever have been written using the English alphabet?
2. Greek perhaps?
3. And if Greek do you have any idea what it might look like?

Thanks for all of the help

Hi William,

Although I took some Greek along the way, I'm not expert enough to venture an answer to your question. In English alphabet? Not sure what you mean.

The original line about abandoning all hope comes from Dante, in Italian.


Latin Translation
by: John


Yes, it works for any gender. You need punctuation, though, as you now have two sentences.

Spes omnes relinquite! Quod ante vos stat vacuum est.

As for being poetic, it is not in meter. That is, it does not conform to the rules of structure for any form of poetry, such as dactylic hexameter. However, using the plural spes for the singular spem gives the line a little poetic flare, I think.



Public warning
by: William

So let me see if I am understanding. "spes omnes relinquite quod ante vos stat vacuum est" would be public (to all regardless of gender or age). And relatevly poetic? Yes?

Latin Translation
by: John

Hi William,

Now that I know exactly what you mean to say, my Latin translation follows:

spem omnem relinque, quod ante te stat vacuum est.

If you mean to address more than one person, use relinquite instead of relinque and vos instead of te. If you want to get poetic with the hope, turn it to the plural, i.e. spes omnes....

The Latin for empty must be neuter in gender to agree with the antecedent quod -- i.e. vacuum = empty.

Hope this helps, although I can't imagine why you want to say this in a public warning.


English Translation of warning
by: William

So the way this notice/warning would read in English would be "Abandon all hope that which stands before you is empty". That which is standing before you is describing anything e.g. a vase, a person, or even a cow. Whatever that object may be, even a person, what ever it is, it's empty. Hopefully this clarifies the context. It will be a very public display so I am double and triple checking the translation and flow.

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