De oppresso liber

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by Yukia, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. Yukia Senior Member

    Spain, spanish
    Hello, I would like to know what's the exact translation of this sentence, De oppresso liber, which is the U.S. Special Forces motto. Does it mean "Freedom for the oppressed", "To free the oppressed" or something else? Thank you.
  2. rainbowizard

    rainbowizard Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    making a syntax analysis of the sentence I'd say:
    liber (I male nominative from liber, liberă, liberum) = free (as a condition of being free)
    de oppresso (abl from oppressus, a, um past participle of opprĭmo, opprĭmis, oppressi, oppressum, opprĭmĕre) = from (the condition of being) oppressed
    So I think that the sense should be: become free from having been oppressed.

    Googling I found also "To Liberate the Oppressed" but I do not think it is a correct translation because liber is not a verb.
  3. Joca

    Joca Senior Member

    Florianópolis, Brazil
    Brazilian Portuguese
    But libera (Imperative) is. What if by dropping the final a (ellipsis) you get liber?
  4. Yukia Senior Member

    Spain, spanish
    Is it possible? I mean, are ellipsis common in latin?
  5. rainbowizard

    rainbowizard Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    But what should mean "De oppresso libera"?

    It could be Libera [ab] oppressione or Libera oppresionem = Free (people) from oppression
    or Libera oppressus (from obpressŭs, obpressūs) ... Free the oppresses

    As far as I know Liberare cannot be followed by de + ablative
  6. Joca

    Joca Senior Member

    Florianópolis, Brazil
    Brazilian Portuguese
    You could be right, but I have the impression that this is possible. I am afraid we both need someone to resolve the dispute. :)
  7. Yukia Senior Member

    Spain, spanish
    Thank you very much for your answers.

    As far as I see, and as it seems that nobody else is going to come in our aid, I think that, being a motto, it might be inappropriate to write the exact translation. If the meaning is "become free from having been oppressed", I think it's too complicated to write it like that in my text, which is a kind of article, because it doesn't sound like a motto. So I guess I'd better choose the other meaning, "to free the oppressed", which might not be the exact translation but contains the same message. At least, I see that I should not use "freedom for the oppressed".

    Anyway, before choosing I wanted to know what you just explained, thanks again.
  8. djmc Senior Member

    English - United Kingdom
    Liber here would not be a verb, it is an adjective. The meaning of the phrase would be intended to be something like "Free from opression". Oppressus could be supine but may be a noun and mean pressure. It is 4th conjugation and the ablative would be oppressu. It sounds as if the expression was invented by someone who didn't know much Latin.
  9. rainbowizard

    rainbowizard Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    well... oppressus, a, um is past participle of opprĭmo and in the male form it follows the 2nd decl. So oppresso is correct as an ablative.
    (Supine is oppressum not oppressus).

    obpressŭs, obpressūs is a noun (and means "pressure") of the 4th and, you're right, would be oppressu on the ablative.

    ... note: I realize now that Libera oppressus would not mean Free the oppresses as I said before but "Free the pressures" :)
  10. Bountyman New Member

    The translation of De Oppresso Liber means "To Liberate The Oppressed". That's the "mission" of Special Forces. There is no direct translation. It's like when you say "You're Welcome" in Spanish. You can say "De Nada", which means "of nothing", or "por nada", which means "for nothing", can say "no hay de que". Some things don't translate in exact syntax.

    SSgt E6 Steve Boone
    Detachment A-342
    5th Special Forces Group
    Camp Dong Xoai,
    Phuoc Long Province
    South Vietnam 1965-1968
  11. XiaoRoel

    XiaoRoel Senior Member

    Vigo (Galiza)
    galego, español
    La traducción literal en español es "de oprimido a libre", "de preso a libre". En inglés supongo que sería algo como from prisoner/oppressed to free.
  12. lawdogpw New Member

    De Opresso Liber

    Known to those in the Special Forces Community as "Liberators of the Oppressed"... Not a direct translation mind you but that is as close a reference as one can get.

    SSG. P.W.Wimp
    7th Group S.F. (Ret.)
    Ft. Bragg, N.C.
  13. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    XiaoRaul tells us that the Latin would be translated as:
    from oppressed to free with "free" as an adjective.
    This can be understood as a promise on the part of the Special Forces that they will change an oppressed person into a free person.

    The English versions are approximate paraphrases of this idea, but quite different in structure. They make the Special Forces the subject of the motto; the Latin version speaks only of the people they liberate.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010

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