Ancient Greek: Love conquers all

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by lexi42, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. lexi42 New Member

    USA English
    Hi. I really would like to know the translation of "Love conquers all" in ancient greek because I am getting a tattoo of Aphrodite and she is the Goddess of Love so it only makes sense. Thank you very much for all the help.
  2. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    Hi lexi, welcome to WRF. :)

    Before answering your question, I'd like to draw your attention to something. The English "Love conquers all" is actually just a translation of the Latin written by Vergil in his Eclogues. Unless you specifically want it in Greek for some reason (maybe you think Greek looks prettier?), why not just go with the original Latin? The Aphrodite argument could just be turned around by saying, well, Venus (the Romans' Aphrodite) is the Goddess of Love, so it only makes sense! :D Should you agree with me, the Latin would be:

    Omnia vincit amor.


    P.S. As for the Greek, it'd be something like "philos panta krateei" or "philos panta kratei" depending on accents and circumflexes and things that I can't do because I'm not on my own computer! :)
  3. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD

    I would probably go for " Ἔρως ἀνίκατε μάχαν" (Love, invincible in batlle) since not only it has more or less the same meaning, it also comes from Sophocles' Antigone. If however you want a direct translation of "love conquers all" well, there are many alternatives. One that seems good to me is "Ἔρως πάντων κρατεῖ " but I think it's better if we both wait for other members' opinions :)

    Edit: Just saw Brian's post. I think the Latin original looks just perfect (but then it's not my tatoo we are talking about :D)
  4. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    Hello ireney! I guess it depends on what kind of love we're talking about, eh? I chose "philos" in the sense of general love toward general things, maybe life, as opposed to "eros," which would be "love" in the passionate, human-to-human sense of love, yes? Then there's "agape," in the sense of charity, love for human nature. My my...

    I was also trying to decide whether have "krateo" take accusative or genitive. In the end I chose accusative, thinking that "love" actually conquers all (more accusative-sounding), more than just surpassing it (genetive-sounding).
  5. lexi42 New Member

    USA English
    Hi. Yes, I know that "Love conquers all" is translated from Latin but I'd like it in Greek much more because of the style of writting. Also because I love ancient greek history and would like to have it tattooed on me. Thanks for your help!
  6. jaxlarus

    jaxlarus Senior Member

    Limassol (Λέμε...SOS)
    Greek, Gibreiga (el-CY)
    Hi there Lexi!

    I don't exactly know how 'Love conquers all' is translated in classical Greek but I have in mind a passage originally written in Koine, actually considered a hymn to love. Here it is:
    Ἑὰν ταῖς γλώσσαις τῶν ἀνθώπων λαλῶ καὶ τῶν ἀγγέλων, ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, γέγονα χαλκὸς ἠχῶν ἢ κύμβαλον ἀλαλάζον. Κἂν ἔχω προφητείαν καὶ εἰδῶ τὰ μυστήρια πάντα καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γνῶσιν, κἂν ἔχω πᾶσαν τὴν πίστιν ὥστε ὄρη μεθιστάνειν, ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, οὐθέν εἰμι. Κἂν ψωμίσω πάντα τὰ ὑπάρχοντά μου, κἂν παραδῶ τὸ σῶμά μου, ἳνα καυχήσωμαι, ἀγαπην δε μη εχω, ουδεν ωφελουμαι.

    Ἡ ἀγάπη μακροθυμεῖ, χρηστεύεται, ἡ ἀγάπη οὐ ζηλοῖ, οὐ περπερεύεται, οὐ φυσιοῦται, οὐκ ἀσχημονεῖ, οὐ ζητεῖ τὰ ἑαυτῆς, οὐ παροξύνεται, οὐ λογίζεται τὸ κακόν, οὐ χαίρει ἐπὶ τῇ ἀδικίᾳ, συνχαίρει δὲ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ· πάντα στέγει, πάντα πιστεύει, πάντα ἐλπίζει, πάντα ὑπομένει.

    Ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε πίπτει. […] Νυνὶ δὲ μένει πίστις, ἐλπίς, ἀγάπη· τὰ τρία ταῦτα, μείζων δὲ τούτων ἡ ἀγάπη.
    1η Επιστολή Παύλου προς Κορινθίους, κεφ. 13:1-8.13
    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a sounding [piece of] brass or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophesying and am acquainted with all the sacred secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all the faith so as to transplant mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my belongings to feed others, and if I hand over my body, that I may boast, but do not have love, I am not profited at all.

    Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    Love never falls. […] Now, however, there remain faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
    Paul's 1st Letter to Corinthians, ch. 13:1-8,13
    There are lots of phrases you could use in there. I have marked in bold red some I propose. Give it a thought and tell me what you think.
  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Does Greek distinguish between Romantic love and the love for one's fellow man?
  8. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I guess Romantic love is like ἔρος, whereas the love to a fellow man could be φιλία. Therefore, I'd choose the latter for a direct translation:

    Πάντων κρᾰτέει φιλία.
    Pántôn krătéei philía.
  9. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I believe éros is more like sexual attraction than romantic love (i.e., what we modernly call "love").
    Love for one's fellow man in the Christian sense is agape, I presume...
  10. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I think I haven't myself expressed very clearly. So, again:

    éros = sexual love
    agắpē = charity
    philía = friendship

    I'd use éros for "romantic love", too, because I have no idea of another love word.
  11. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    The New Testament passage that Jaxlarus quoted has agápe...
  12. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Yes, but it uses agắpē all the time. Brian has suggested philía, Ireney wanted érōs, and the text uses agắpē. I'd agree with Brian's suggested, if it should mean Friendship conquers all, with Ireney, if it is Sexual love conquers all (which I'd doubt, though), and with the text, if you think Charity conquers all.

    I still think philía fits best here, but I'd like to see opinions from other native Greek speakers what they'd use.
  13. jaxlarus

    jaxlarus Senior Member

    Limassol (Λέμε...SOS)
    Greek, Gibreiga (el-CY)
    There are four words for 'love' in classical Greek. As for their use in the Greek Scriptures (New Testament):
    • The verb φιλέω meant "I feel affection, I'm fond of or I like", the way one could feel for a close friend or a fellow Christian. It is used very often in the Greek Scriptures.
    • The word στοργή denoted strong love between family members (2 Timothy 3:3)
    • Έρως is love with the sensual meaning. It is not used in the Greek Scriptures, although this kind of love is examined in the Bible (Proverbs 5:15-20)
    • Αγάπη is the word most used in the Greek Scriptures and according to a biblical dictionary, the one with the strongest meaning of the four. It's the kind of love governed by principles. It's more than a simple emotional expression towards another person. It has broader dimensions and is at core more thoughtful and of free will. Above all αγάπη is completely selfless. It includes warm personal affection.
  14. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Given those definitions, philéo seems to be the closest to the modern meaning.
  15. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    philéo is a verb. ;) The noun would be philía.
  16. modus.irrealis Senior Member

    English, Canada
    The idea that Greek had so many finely nuanced words for love is a very common theme, but I'm not sure it really holds up so well. For one thing, it depends on what period of Greek you're talking about, as ἀγάπη is primarily a post-classical word, and ἀγαπῶ had a fairly weak meaning (have regard for, etc.) in its earliest occurrences. And I've never really noticed a difference between ἀγαπῶ and φιλῶ in the New Testament -- it seems to me it's just that the former is the normal word for "love" but it's used in placed for the "wrong" kind of love (2 Tim 4:10), while φιλῶ, which is rare in the New Testament, is used for the love of the Father for the Son (John 5:20) and for the love of God for men and the love of men for the Son (John 16:27). Or to put it another way, I'd be very skeptical if someone were to try to make a theological point on the basis of whether ἀγαπῶ or φιλῶ occurs in a certain passage.

    And Plato did use ἔρως in the Symposium, in contexts where sexual love is definitely ruled out and there are other authors who use it where sexual love is unlikely, but it does seem to me to always have a sense of "desire for." As strange as it may seem, it might be that the Ancient Greeks simply didn't have anything like our modern concept of love, which has been influenced by the Bible and later developments, so ἀγάπη might be closest from that point of view, although I imagine a good case can be made for any of the main three.
  17. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I've been told that "love" in the modern Romeo-and-Juliet sense is a medieval invention. Even the New Testament's agápe, taken literally, seems too social-oriented and abstract to truly translate our idea of "love".
  18. jaxlarus

    jaxlarus Senior Member

    Limassol (Λέμε...SOS)
    Greek, Gibreiga (el-CY)
    That's true. Courtly love for example. But the Scriptures do counsel men to love their spouses, using αγαπάτε.
  19. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    On the other hand, to further muddy the waters, I've just noticed this in the original post: :eek: :eek:

    I think Aphrodite was definitely the goddess of éros... :D
  20. Nester New Member

    Greece - Greek
    Eros happened to be a God himself {you know that flying young man, with the arch...}, son of Aphrodite, so it's more correct to say that Aphrodite was the Godess of love.
    Also, the word "eros" doesn not include only the sexual desire toward somebody, as someone mentioned above, but all those emotions which make you say in English "I am in love with this woman/man".
  21. sheribaby73 New Member

    I found this post that PHILOS PANTA KRATEI which says it translates to Love Conquers All in English but can you tell me how to pronouce it in Greek?
  22. kbdada New Member

    I realize this person has probably already received their tatoo, but I felt this was relevant to the discussion going on.

    The saying love conquers all would beg to ask the question what type of love?

    EROS - erotic sensual love is fleeting and turns from one thing to another, this would be the wrong word.

    PHILEO - brotherly love is closer, but doesn't quite cut the mustard, some people actually turn against their brother

    AGAPE - unconditional love - doesn't care about what is in the way, or how things have changed, or what the circumstances are it loves anyway. If love conquers all, then this is the word you are looking for.
  23. artion Senior Member

    I propose that we stick to the word Eros, which also has non-sexual meanings. For instance, Plato is of the opinion that Eros is what attracts soul to everything beautiful (ωραίον) and explains that beautiful is not only a human body but also a work of art etc. Also, in Homer we find the eros as a desire for various entities, including a goddess, war, drink and food.

    A fellow previously suggested "Ερως πάντων κρατεί". It is fine, but I think would be more sophisticated this: " Έρως Παντοκράτωρ" (Omnipotent Love), without verb as many Gr. motos. Besides, the word Pantokrator is a well established religious term and thus connects Love with the divine.

    The latin verse mentioned above cannot be considered as original, as the latin authors massively copied the Greeks. The " Ερως ανίκατε μάχαν " is more ancient.
  24. germinal

    germinal Senior Member

    Bradford, England
    England English
    'Love conquers all' in its erotic sense should not be dismissed as without this primal urge none of us would be here to compare these nuances - sexual love has conquered all. :)

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