Expressing Importance

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by rajahbeloof, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. rajahbeloof Senior Member

    English
    How would one express importance in Latin in such a way as to say "what is...to..."?

    Example:
    English: What is a soldier to an army?
    L: Exercitui quid est miles?

    Is this construction, namely, dat. + esse, appropriate in order to express importance in this way?

    Note: The question is actually a rhetorical device to express arrogance: "Pshh! What's a soldier to an army?!"
     
  2. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    What exactly does this mean?

    Does it mean (a) 'What is the significance of a soldier in comparison to an army?'
    i.e. 'What good is one man against an army?'

    Or (b) 'How much value does an army place on a single soldier?'
    i.e. 'How much does one man matter to an army?'
     
  3. rajahbeloof Senior Member

    English
    It means, "What is the significance of a soldier in comparison to an army?". Indeed, it is a rhetorical question to which the response would be "nothing".
     
  4. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Significance to whom? Sorry to press it, but to be clear about it, does it mean the soldier is considered to be an insignificant part of the army or an insignificant opponent to the army?
     
  5. linguos

    linguos Senior Member

    I believe that rajahbeloof is looking rather for the latter meaning, anyway if anyone here does possess such a broad knowledge of Latin, it'd be most appreciated by us, humble readers of this wonderful forum, if that person were so kind as to share with us their knowledge on both of these expressions ;)

    So, are there any Latin equivalents of (a) and (b) as put by wandle?
     
  6. XiaoRoel

    XiaoRoel Senior Member

    Vigo (Galiza)
    galego, español
    Ubi miles melior quam arma?, Ubi miles arma superior?
     
  7. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    It is important to find out the meaning intended by the questioner, since a translation based on a supposition may deliver a meaning the questioner does not want.
    In that case, someone with a logo or a tattoo may find out too late that they have an expression which is correct Latin, but which means something different from what they had intended.

    That said, for the meaning 'What good is one man against an army?'
    I would suggest: Contra exercitum quid singulus valet miles?

    For the meaning 'What good is one man to an army?':
    Exercitui quid unus prodest miles?

    For the meaning 'What is the value of a soldier compared to an army?':
    Quanti habendus est miles cum exercitu comparatus?
     

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