tu quoque, fili mi

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by pieanne, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland

    Does anybody know the exact quotation from Julius Ceasar when he was stabbed by Brutus?
    Wikipedia says: "Tu quoque, fili mi"
    Someone told me it was "Tu quoque, filii mii"
    "Mii" can't be right, for the vocative of "meus" is "mi".
    I'm not sure about "fili/filii"... through I prefer the former.

    Thank you!
  2. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    Not really a Latin specialist but personally I had always said: "Tu quoque, mi filii"
    but according to my grammar book, it's:
    "Tu quoque, mi fili"

    => Les noms en -ius ont un vocatif singulier contracté en -i

    But apparently, according to this site, it's not what Caesar would have said anyway. :)

    As for the order "mi" and "fili", apparently nobody agrees but it doesn't really matter I guess ...
  3. MrPedantic Senior Member

    UK, English
    Hello Pieanne and Prudence

    Plutarch doesn't mention a comment to Brutus, in either his Life of Caesar or his Life of Brutus; but Suetonius in his Life of Julius Caesar gives the Greek kai su teknon, i.e. "And you, child?"¹.

    Interestingly, Shakespeare's "Et tu, Brute!" is the usual formulation in English.


    ¹ See here, chapter 82: http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/suetonius/suet.caesar.html
  4. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    Thank you, DP and MrP!
    I was just wondering about the grammar/spelling, not about the veracity of the quotation. :)
    I'll settle for "tu quoque, fili mi".
    Is it OK for you?
  5. cajzl Senior Member

    Et tu, mi fili! or Et tu, Brute! or Tu quoque, mi fili!

    Most probably G. Iulius Caesar said either nothing or something completely different.
  6. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    Must have said "Aarrgghh" in Latin... :(
  7. MrPedantic Senior Member

    UK, English
    Oh, sorry...Yes, "fili mi" is fine*. It's very common in the Vulgate, e.g. "Absalom fili mi fili mi" (II Samuel).

    "Filius" declines as follows:

    N: filius/filii
    V: fili/filii
    A: filium/filios
    G: fili(i)/filiorum
    D: filio/filiis
    A: filio/filiis

    Vocative "fili" is a shortened form of "filie", which does in fact appear in the translation of the Odyssey by Livius Andronicus:
    Pater noster, Saturni filie...



    Edit: *Though I can't find a classical instance; only post-Classical.
  8. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    As far as I know the exact quotation is "Tu quoque, Brute, fili mi?"
  9. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    Thank you all! You are "des puits de science"...
  10. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    Claudine, I'm afraid "mihi" is the dative form; "mi" is vocative.
  11. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    You're right to be afraid, Pieanne..!
    Anyway I'm seeing on dictionary:
    1. mi, voc. of meus
    2. mi = mihi, dat. of ego
  12. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    I don't think it's quite that simple: the dative is commonly used in Latin to indicate possession. This site gives the example 'Nomen mihi Marcus est : My name is Mark.'

    I regret that my Latin is not up to commenting on whether the dative of possession may be used in the context 'fili mihi'. ​

    Moreover, I think that 'mihi' in 'fili mihi' could be interpreted as a 'dative of reference', as well as a 'possessive dative', opening up a rich seam of possible nuance - 'whether to my advantage or disadvantage, you are a son to me'.

  13. claudine2006

    claudine2006 Senior Member

    Andalucía Spain
    Italy Italian
    I'm going to check :)
    It's a long time I don't study Latin.
    I remember "Tu quoque, fili mihi" but I can be wrong.
  14. laurentiusager New Member

    usa english
    Please see Suetonius, his Life of Julius Caesar. He relates that Caesar's last words were in Greek. Kai su teknon, I believe, which is commonly translated, as above. Greek was to the romans what French was to europe of the 19th century.
  15. pacobabel Senior Member

    spain spanish
    much people at Caesar's time believed in the possibility that Brutus was actually Caear's son, because of his love relationship with Servilia, the mother of Brutus. But the age difference betwen Caesar and Brutus was just of about 15 years, so this possibility is probabily not to be believed. So, if Caesar ever said these words, he should have used the word "filius" just with an idea of affection.
    Did you see the TVmoovie "Rome"? There Caesar doesn't pronounce these words (nor anyone) before He dies. Original, isn't?
    ut semper, ignoscite mihi, uestram linguam numquam didici.
  16. laurentiusager New Member

    usa english
    "Movies" numquam video. Suetonius amavit quod nos apellamus "scandal" et scribit hanc fabulam de morte Caesaris. Sine dubio Brutus non filius Caesaris erat.
  17. MrPedantic Senior Member

    UK, English
    Nor do I. Get the DVD instead.


  18. alexacohen

    alexacohen Banned

    Santiago de Compostela
    Spanish. Spain
    Maybe dictated.
  19. MrAustinFTW New Member

    English - United States
    In my first year of Latin, we were taught it as "ETTUBRUTEMIFILII" or "Et tu, Brute mi filii?" with English punctuation.
  20. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Dear Sirs, Ladies

    I have come somewhat late to this discussion, but having read it through, it seems to me that I may still have something useful to contribute, in direct response to the question posed by the Original Poster.

    Suetonius (87.3) records (in Greek) Caesar's last words, allegedly addressed to Brutus, as καὶ σύ, τέκνον; ("You too, child?") and Cassius Dio repeats the phrase (44.19.5). Though Plutarch's narrative is full of colourful detail about the assassination (including Caesar's alleged remark - in Latin - "You scoundrel, Casca, what are you doing?", 66.8), this particular utterance is recorded in Plutarch's Life of Caesar, but not "et tu Brute" in any form - so, incidentally, Shakespeare could not have got it directly from Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, which he is widely regarded as having used as a chief source for his play.

    There is no ancient textual authority for the supposed Latin, "et tu Brute", never mind for "mi fili" vel sim. But:
    (a) grammatically correct would be "mi fili";
    (b) there is no historical evidence for, and considerable weight of evidence against, the famous Brutus being an illegitimate son of Caesar. Another ("Decimus", not "Marcus") Brutus may have been Caesar's illegitimate offspring (R. Syme, Roman Papers III, 1236ff.).
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  21. MrAustinFTW New Member

    English - United States
    First thing, I thought so because I remembered hearing something about that quotes falsehood when a student repeated it the year after we learned it to a different Latin teacher.
    (a) I just looked it up and realized that my original source gave me an incorrect genitive.
    (b) The reason he referred to him as his son or child is not because he was an his illegitimate child, but because he was psychologically like a son to him.
  22. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    (a) it's not a genitive, it's a vocative.
    (b) There is, and can be, no certainty here, apart from the fact that Caesar was not the father of Marcus Brutus. As a matter of purely personal opinion, the "kai su teknon" was indeed a condescending address from a 55-year-old to a man in his 20s or early 30s, much as one might use "boy" in a slightly disparaging way in English today.
  23. Ashmada Senior Member

    French - Belgium
    He was among educated people, not plebeans. He must've said "aaargghh" in Greek!

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