opportunus adest

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by Chticli, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Chticli New Member

    Hi all of us,i search the translation about a french coin, it's really difficult for me but it's just two words.

    Thanks a lot

  2. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Hello Chticli. :)

    <Suitable/ favorable/ opportune> he is present.

    Adest often has the sense of being present to support or help someone, the meaning suggested by 'to be at [someone's] side' in English.

    I am not certain, but it seems possible that God is the understood subject of the verb, just as God is the understood subject of 'annuit coeptis' on the American dollar bill.

    (On the internet, I have seen this translated as "It is present". This is probably mistaken. The ending -us is masculine. Though opportunus might describe an grammatically masculine object, when it stands alone, the natural assumption is that the subject is a male being.)
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  3. Chticli New Member

    Thanks a lot cagey, i will have another phrase to translate about another coin...
    Thanks again
  4. Copperknickers Senior Member

    Scotland - Scots and English
    Sorry but that translation is incorrect. Opportunus is an adjective, not a noun, so the translation is 'it is opportune', i.e. 'the timing is opportune'. 'adest' can mean a number of things, but its basic meaning is 'just come', 'is' or 'happen'.
  5. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    I admit the English is clumsy, however I did translate 'opportunus' as an adjective. Lacking context, I thought it best to give a neutral and literal translation. How would you phrase it?

    I also wonder what you consider the subject of 'adest' that you represent by the pronoun 'it'. As I said above, opportunus is a masculine form, so, I would expect it to refer to a masculine being, though it might modify a grammatically masculine object given the appropriate context.
  6. There seem to be several coins of this type from various countries in the 17th century. Here's an example: http://www.cgb.fr/monnaies/jetons/j18/gb/monnaiesgbf762.html?depart=347&nbfic=725

    Modern interest on the internet seems to focus on the design which the words surround. UFO seekers interpret it as an unidentified flying object over ships at sea.

    I suspect that it is a symbol representing weather in some way and that the words refer to some opportune (literally) change in the weather that benefited seafarers.
  7. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    For discussion of a second coin that has aroused the same interest on the part of UFO seekers see: Resistit paucis orbuitur pluribus

    Specialists identify the disc-shape as a shield.
  8. jrundin Senior Member

    USA, English
    "opportunus adest" means "he, at an opportune time, is present [to help]."

    "adest" means "he, she, or it" is present. In a Latin classroom, it could be used
    to take attendance:

    "adestne Iohannes?" = "Is John present?" John would say, "adsum" = I am present.

    The verb often implies that a person is present for someone, that is, to help or assist.
    "tibi adsum" = "I am in your presence" = "I am here to help you."

    "opportunus" is a masculine nominative singular adjective. It is agreeing with the implied
    but unstated subject of "adest." That means that "adest" means "he is present"
    (NOT "she" or "it") since the masculine adjective "opportunus" means that the subject
    must be masculine.

    "opportunus" means "fitting" or "at the right time." Frequently, Latin uses adjectives
    in agreement with subjects where English would use an adverb or adverbial phrase.
    Literally this means "He, opportune, is present." English would say, "He is opportunely
    present" = "At the right time, he is there for you."

    I suspect the "he" must be God. Who else could it be? (I could be wrong here.)

    The point is that "God is present to be of help when it is the right time for Him to be there" =
    "God is there when you need Him."

    That being said, almost always, such expressions on coins or whatever are quotes or
    references to famous quotes. There probably is some specific quotation from some
    famous author that this phrase is referencing. I do not know what that would be.

    Two interrelated concerns problematize this interpretation. One is that it is possible that this motto,
    on a coin, is commemorating some specific event. In which case, perhaps it is not God
    who is the subject but some particular historical or legendary person. The second concern, which
    is quite unlikely, is that there may be some wordplay going on here. "opportunus" means "against, in front
    of the port" (opportunus = ob + portus)
    . There may be some wordplay her reflecting
    a particular historical event involving a port. But this is all wild speculation.

    Only thorough research on the historical context in which this motto was used would
    indicate what its maker might have had in mind.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  9. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    Great post, jrundin, especially
  10. Mezzofanti Senior Member

    Near Bordeaux, France
    Native speaker of pukka UK English
    Has it occurred to anyone that the unspecified subject of "adest" might be the coin itself ? Money is often handy stuff to have around you know !
  11. jrundin Senior Member

    USA, English
    I like the way your mind works!

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