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Cruci Dum Spiro Fido

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by linguist786, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    Cruci Dum Spiro Fido

    Can somebody tell me what the above Latin phrase means?

    I would appreciate the literal meaning (word for word) and also the idiomatic meaning. Maybe someone has heard this before?

    Thanks
     
  2. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    Indiana
    English, USA
    "While I breath, I trust in the cross."

    Fido- "I trust" takes the dative or ablative.
    Cruci- "[in the] cross" in the ablative.
    Dum- "While"
    Spiro- "I breath"

    The ablative case is a prepositional case, which can be translated into English (without a specific Latin preposition to suggest a clearer idea) as "in/in/with/by/from/out of/down from/etc."

    Thus, the literal transcription is "On the cross while I breath, I trust," but unless this is referring to Christ on the cross (in which case it means literally "while I am breathing [and hanging] on the cross, I trust [in God]"), it is more likely to be "While I breath, I trust in the cross" and a statement of religious faith.
    If it is referring to Christ on the cross, then the idea seems oddly limited in that he only trusts in God while he's on the cross. Thus, I prefer the more generic version: at least in the absence of further context.
     
  3. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Judkinc's translation and explanation are excellent, but cruci is dative, not ablative. Dative is required by the verb fido/fidere.
     
  4. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    Indiana
    English, USA
    "Fido" can take either the dative or the ablative, according to my dictionary. I had assumed it was dative at first, but then I realized the potential for the secondary meaning and placed it into the ablative to allow it. The dative and ablative for the adjective "crux, crucis" have the same form.
    The ablative here allows the double meaning of "to trust in/[to hang] on" the cross that I explained above.

    If taken to mean only "While I breath, I trust in the cross" then the dative is by far the better solution.
     
  5. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Nope, dative and ablative of crux are different:
    nominative - crux
    vocative - crux
    accusative - crucem
    genitive - crucis
    dative - cruci
    ablative - cruce

    You must be confusing it with third declension neuter nouns in e, al and ar, which indeed have the same form for dative and ablative.

    Fidere followed by ablative makes no sense. The ablative is only sometimes possible with deponent verbs. Latin verbs have either accusative (most of them) or dative as their object.
     
  6. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    Indiana
    English, USA
    Hrmm, yes. I was actually thinking of the rules for the third declension, single-ending adjectives in "x", rather than the nouns. "Audax, audacis" for instance.

    My dictionary still gives ablative as a possibility for "fido, fidere," but dative is the usual, yes.

    The meaning stands as "While I breath, I trust in the cross." then.
     
  7. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    A big THANKS to all who replied! :)

    I have read your "discussion" and it's very interesting.
     

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