Vedi Napoli e poi muori

Maroseika

Moderator
Russian
According to the widespread version, originally this expression was:
Videre Neapolim et Mori,
where Mori - small village near giant Naples, and expression meant "to see/consider big and small equally", but later Mori has changed to mori, because nobody knew by that time what Mori meant.

However, there is a problem: where exactly was that ancient Mori? The only Mori we can find nowadays in Italy is the one in the province of Ventano, some 800 km far from Naples.
Besides, according to Wikipedia, Mori was first recordered only in 850. Why then original of the expression said to be in Latin?
And why Naples in this Latin expression is in Italian - Napoli instead of Neapolim?
 
  • Lars H

    Senior Member
    Hej

    Neither have I ever heard of any other meaning than "die". But mori (if it's a noun) is plural. Could it perhaps mean:

    See Naples and the moors (the Moslem moors were established on Sicily in the ninth century and controlled the entire island in the next century).

    Or mori in the older meaning of simply "dark skinned"?

    Another question. In many versions the expression contains a "then" (It. poi) as well. Is this a later add-on to the original expression?
     

    Montesacro

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    According to the widespread version, originally this expression was:
    Videre Neapolim et Mori,
    where Mori - small village near giant Naples, and expression meant "to see/consider big and small equally", but later Mori has changed to mori, because nobody knew by that time what Mori meant.

    However, there is a problem: where exactly was that ancient Mori? The only Mori we can find nowadays in Italy is the one in the province of Ventano, some 800 km far from Naples.
    Besides, according to Wikipedia, Mori was first recordered only in 850. Why then original of the expression said to be in Latin?
    And why Naples in this Latin expression is in Italian - Napoli instead of Neapolim?

    To my knowledge this expression was first used by Goethe in his famous Italienische Reise.

    The Italian version is "vedi Napoli e poi muori". I suppose you know what it means:
    There's nothing more wonderful and intense than Naples, so once you visit it you might as well die because you'll never find anything better.


    P.S.
    Maroseika, what is the province of "Ventano"? :confused::D
    Where on earth have you come across this non-existent place-name? :)
    By the way Mori (the village) is in the province of Trento.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    To my knowledge this expression was first used by Goethe in his famous Italienische Reise.

    The Italian version is "vedi Napoli e poi muori". I suppose you know what it means:
    There's nothing more wonderful and intense than Naples, so once you visit it you might as well die because you'll never find anything better.
    That's very interesting. However why on Earth it appeared in Latin then?





    P.S.
    Maroseika, what is the province of "Ventano"? :confused::D
    Where on earth have you come across this non-existent place-name? :)
    By the way Mori (the village) is in the province of Trento.
    Absolutely no idea. Of course I meant Veneto, which somehow shifted to Ventano between I found it in Wikipedia and wrote here...
    But according to you it's even not Veneto, but Trento. Anyway, too far away from Naples.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Hej
    Neither have I ever heard of any other meaning than "die". But mori (if it's a noun) is plural.
    "Mori" meant in that version is Infinitivi Praesens of Latin morior - to die.


    Another question. In many versions the expression contains a "then" (It. poi) as well. Is this a later add-on to the original expression?
    I wish I knew original expression. But if I knew I would not be here now.
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Hej

    Neither have I ever heard of any other meaning than "die". But mori (if it's a noun) is plural. Could it perhaps mean:

    See Naples and the moors (the Moslem moors were established on Sicily in the ninth century and controlled the entire island in the next century).
    This would be videre Neapolim et Mauros in Latin. The verb videre requires the accusative.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    It turned out there really is a village Morire near Naples. So maybe originally the phrase was in Italian Videre Napoli e Morire and it really was ambiguous. However when it got widespread over Italy where hardly anybody knew about the small village near Vesuvius, it could be understood only directly, and the whole phrase changed to smth like Vedi Napoli у muori, in which form Goethe heard it.
    Then somebody for effect has semitranslated it in Latin.
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    According to the Evening Post (Volume LXXXIX, Issue 134, 8 June 1915, Page 8) the saying arose in the north of Italy. A man of Mori (which is situated in a lovely part of the Trentino), proud of his hamlet, replied to a tourist, who had extolled the beauty of Naples, "Vedi Napoli eppoi Mori" ("see Naples and then Mori"), implying that Naples was all very well but it wasn't a patch on Mori. But the villager was misunderstood by the tourist.

    Believe or not.

    In Latin: Vide Neapolim et postea Mori.

    Versions with the deponent verb morior, mori for comparison:

    Vide Neapolim et postea morere.
    Videre Neapolim et postea mori.


    vide, morere - imperatives;
    videre, mori - infinitives;
     
    Last edited:

    Lars H

    Senior Member
    Here you are (and even with the reference to the expression we are discussing):
    http://www.udenap.org/groupe_de_pages_01/vesuve.htm

    Hej
    Morire doesn't make sense. I've searched Google Maps, geonames.org (which is good, it will find Istambul under the Norse name "Miklagård", and S:t Petersburg under the Finnish "Pietari"), Michelin 1:300 000 Road map over Italy and my car GPS. No hits for Morire...
    I begin to suspect there is a mistake mane by the Quebecian university.
     

    Phoeniix

    New Member
    English
    To my knowledge this expression was first used by Goethe in his famous Italienische Reise.

    The Italian version is "vedi Napoli e poi muori". I suppose you know what it means:
    There's nothing more wonderful and intense than Naples, so once you visit it you might as well die because you'll never find anything better.


    P.S.
    Maroseika, what is the province of "Ventano"? :confused::D
    Where on earth have you come across this non-existent place-name? :)
    By the way Mori (the village) is in the province of Trento.
    Ciao!

    I have a copy of "Viaggio a Napoli", a modern Italian translation of part of his famous Italienische Reise, and at the end of the chapter with the famous heading "Vedi Napoli e poi muori!" he says "Vedi Napoli e poi muori! dicono qui." So I read that as meaning that he was merely reporting a well-known local expression - although I think there's little doubt that it was thanks to him that the expression has become known far and wide. Mind you, I have to say that I rather like the explanation given by 'Bibax'; I can understand how a misinterpretation could have followed, as it seems more likely that the inhabitants of Mori would have heard of Napoli than vice versa! I wonder where the "Evening Post" mentioned by him was published!
     

    Phoeniix

    New Member
    English
    According to the Evening Post (Volume LXXXIX, Issue 134, 8 June 1915, Page 8) the saying arose in the north of Italy. A man of Mori (which is situated in a lovely part of the Trentino), proud of his hamlet, replied to a tourist, who had extolled the beauty of Naples, "Vedi Napoli eppoi Mori" ("see Naples and then Mori"), implying that Naples was all very well but it wasn't a patch on Mori. But the villager was misunderstood by the tourist.

    Believe or not.

    In Latin: Vide Neapolim et postea Mori.

    Versions with the deponent verb morior, mori for comparison:

    Vide Neapolim et postea morere.
    Videre Neapolim et postea mori.

    vide, morere - imperatives;
    videre, mori - infinitives;
    Hello Bibax

    That's fascinating - thanks! I like your comments on the linguistic aspects. But could you tell me please where the Evening Post newspaper was published? (For example, in the Trentino, in Napoli, in Prague?) Certainly Napoli and Mori are very different; I suspect I'd like both!
     
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