Beati Hispani quibus bibere vivere est.

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by Outsider, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I've seen this saying quoted a few times here in the forum, the last time just today. It has to do with how Spaniards pronounce the letters "b" and "v" the same way. I would like to know where it comes from. Did any classical author write it?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. PacoBajito

    PacoBajito Senior Member

    Neaples Italy
    Italiano standard, Napoletano
  3. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    At the bottom of this page, is a discussion of the saying that concludes that the saying is a medieval saying that existed in several versions.* And offers this variation, which it attributes to the French scholar, Joseph Scaliger (1540 - 1609):
    Haud temere antiquas mutat Vasconia voces,
    Cui nihil est aliud vivere quam bibere
    The discussion includes links to the original sources which are likely to be of interest to someone who has some background in the Latin of that period.

    *See my post #7 below. I have changed my position on this.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  4. MIODRAG Banned

    none -- all languages I use are equally "foreign" to me
    Does anyone else personally consider Middle Ages to last to 1600?

    For me the period is over much earlier, with early Renaissance, but I do know some extend it all the way to the French Revolution in 1789.
  5. PacoBajito

    PacoBajito Senior Member

    Neaples Italy
    Italiano standard, Napoletano
    Well: I feel like it is a medieval or Renaissance pun.
    Even if wikipedia doesn't agree I don't think it's a Latin pun: I haven't ever known that there was an awareness of the language differences of the different parts of the empire.

    Surely the spoken Latin in imperial age was much different from the written one (for example in Pompeii there is a writting - a graffito - qui ama valia, qui non ama peria that would be the classic quis amat valeat, qui non ama pereat) and so maybe in Roman times the Latin spoken in Spain had similar sound for b and v but it seems strange to me if a Latin writer told that: the Latins weren't so good ad linguistic scholars :D
    That's what I can suppose, lacking of documents (apart from the wikipedia page).

    p.s. vere beati Hispani. Ego quoque diligo eorum vino cum persicis...quomodo vocatur? Ah, SANGRIA :)
  6. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    I accept the correction that this is apparently Renaissance in origin.

    When I wrote post #3, I meant to say that it had existed earlier in various forms, before it was repeated or revised by Scaliger. However, when I went back to look at the website that had given variant forms. I realized that it was not a source I would rely on. Scaliger is apparently the first attributed source and likely to be the originator of the saying.

    A Perseus search of the classical corpus finds no relevant collocation of vivere with bibere. This supports the idea that the saying is of later origin.

    A side note: Catullus #84 may be of interest to a discussion of Roman concern with pronunciation. Here, Catullus makes fun of Arrius for inappropriately adding aspiration to words, apparently as an affectation. Of course, a concern for proper pronunciation is not the same as an interest in dialectical variation.
  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Thank you very much for all the information (which I'm still digesting), Cagey! I hadn't expected so much, so soon! :cool:
  8. PacoBajito

    PacoBajito Senior Member

    Neaples Italy
    Italiano standard, Napoletano
    In fact I think that Catullus was just referring to an artifact greek-manner pronunciation (that had to sound old-fashioned to Greeks too in Catullus times!) nothing dealing with phonetic evolution.
  9. AlNeri Member

    "Beati hispani, quibus ipsum est vivere quam bibere"

    o, lo que es lo mismo: "Esos felices españoles para quienes lo mismo es vivir que beber". (Quinto Horacio Flaco (65-8 a.C.), poeta latino). En referencia a la pronunciación de la "V" y la "B", aunque hay algún membrillo en alguna Comunidad Autónoma que se empeña en decir que la pronunciación es diferente.



    "Beati hispani, quibus ipsum est vivere quam bibere"

    Or, which is the same thing: " These happy Spaniards for whom the same thing is to live that to drink ". (Quinto Horacio Flaco (65-8 B.C.), Latin poet).

    In reference to the pronunciation of "V" and "B", though there are people in some Autonomous Community that they pledge in saying that the pronunciation is different.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2009

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