Mors ultima linea rerum

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by gred, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. gred Senior Member

    USA English
    Death and the Indecent Pair, a 1529 engraving by Hans Sebald Beham, has a Latin inscription on the left side:

    HO: MORS VLTIMA LINEA RERVM

    Someone on this web page with the image suggested that this Latin inscription would be "Death gets the last laugh." Another suggests it is "death is the final end of things," which seems closer. Google translate comes up with something like "Ho: death was the last boundary of things."

    Can someone tell me the correct English translation?
     
  2. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    Ho = Horace, the Latin poet.

    This is a line from Horace's Epistle 1.16.79.
    In that context it means that death is the final boundary of everything /death sets the limit to everything.
    It is a good stoic's response to a tyrant's threat to torment him: He can escape whenever he wishes by choosing to die.

    It is likely to have a somewhat different meaning in a Christian context.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  3. gred Senior Member

    USA English
    Thanks for the explanation - very interesting. And thanks for making the title of the thread more representative. I guess noone else has anything to add. Another of his engravings has a Latin inscription I am interested in, but I'll start a new thread - gred
     

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