Humilitas+Misericordia+Ira Iusta

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New Member
English Australia
Not long ago I was at a dinner party when one of the guests discovered that in my retirement I had started to revise Latin, after a long hiatus. The guest surprised me by asking me to put something into Latin for him - in the form of a motto. He told me that over 35 or so years ago the principal at his school (an elite school for boys, I should add), gave the boys a lecture on values - the values which the school hoped to impart to its pupils. This lecture had a considerable impact, and all these years later this particular pupil, now an established architect and a family man, wanted the values in question enshrined in Latin - as sort of motto for himself, his business and his family.

The values adumbrated by the principal were as follows:
1. Humility: ie one should be humble about the advantages one has.
2. Compassion: ie one should be compassionate towards those who are less advantaged.
3. Anger: ie one should maintain anger at the way things are - the inequalities, unfairness.

So I thought, maybe:

Humilitas+Misericordia+Ira Iusta

I am worried about "Anger", as I think it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins! But I thought "iusta" would perhaps legitimate it, rendering it "righteous anger."
Regarding "humilitas", I wondered whether "modestia" might be better.
Also, I thought there might be a better word than "misericordia" - perhaps "miseratio", or "clementia"?

I should add that the motto of the school in question is:
"Deo, Patriae, Litteris".
If I were to use this as a template for the new motto, it could be rendered (using the dative):
"Humilitati, Misericordiae, Irae Iustae."

Another possibility would be to introduce a verb, in the imperative, eg: "Sustinete humilitatem, misericordiam et iram iustam."

I fear I am quite out of my depth, and am suffering from a dose of humilitas myself. I would appreciate any thoughts or guidance.
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Welcome to the Forum, Chopin, and a happy return to the wonderful world of Latin.

    Wikipedia has a handy list of the Eight Virtues, conveniently including the Latin. Humilitas is among them. This list is derived from a specific religious context, which may or may not suit your needs.

    Misericordia and Clementia seem to me close in meaning.

    I agree that Ira is a problem. As used in classical Latin, this would not be something to cultivate. "Indignatio" may be closer to your intended meaning. When Juvenal says that indignation at the corruption about him produces his satire, he expresses it as "facit indignatio versum (1.79)." You would have to trust the hearer to correctly supply the source of the Indignatio. Or you might focus on the goal with Justitia. This leaves out the emotion, but makes the value clear. Either of these would be recognizable even to those who don't know Latin, an advantage for your purposes I would think.

    As for syntax: The dative may work in the existing slogan, which lists the beneficiaries of actions. However, to name the virtues that are to be expressed by actions, I would use an "ablative of manner" with cum.
    Cum humilitate, misericordiâ, justitiâ! "With humility, compassion, justice!" (As an example; I have no preference for these particular words.)

    Of course, euphony and other stylistic concerns will come into your final decision.
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