Do not disturb the dragon in it's cave or the monster that sleeps in it's watery grave.

Ordoabchao696

New Member

Good afternoon,

I was thinking of creating a "Coat of Arms" for my family, so I decided to get one with a mythical animal. Something that does not exist in nature.

The artwork is basically ready, but what I need now is a motto(in "LATIN" obviously), to finalize the job.

What I had in mind was something similar to JK Rowling's, "DO NOT TICKLE A SLEEPING DRAGON", but I decided to go with, "DO NOT DISTURB THE DRAGON IN IT'S CAVE, OR THE MONSTER THAT SLEEPS IN IT'S WATERY GRAVE.
 

Petrus Cotoneus

Member

Location:
Cantabrigia Massachusettensium
1. The English idiom "watery grave," a metonymy for death by drowning, has no exact Latin equivalent.
2. The logic doesn't make much sense to me. If something is in a watery grave, it is by definition dead. So how could you disturb it, even if you wanted to?
3. Regarding "the monster that sleeps in its watery grave" (by the way, there is no apostrophe in English its), do you mean the monster that sleeps in its own watery grave? Or the monster that sleeps in the dragon's watery grave? In the former case, the usual thing in Latin would be to omit the word for "its," unless for some reason one wishes to emphasize that the watery grave in question indeed belongs to the monster and not to someone or something else.
4. Is the statement meant to imply that the "dragon" and "monster" are one and the same? Likewise the "cave" and "watery grave"?
5. Is the (implied) subject "you" meant to be singular or plural? Latin, unlike English, forces one to choose.

Treating the dragon and monster as separate grammatical entities, and assuming that "its" means "its own" and can therefore be omitted from the Latin, one might say:

Ne sollicitaveris draconem in specu, neu monstrum quod in profundo dormit. (singular)
Ne sollicitaveritis draconem in specu, neu monstrum quod in profundo dormit. (plural)

Here I have opted to translate "watery grave" by the Latin word profundum, which literally means "the deep," but can refer either to the sea or to the underworld. Note, also, that the Latin word monstrum does not mean exactly the same thing as the English "monster": the Latin word can refer to any evil omen or "monstrous" thing, alive or dead. An alternate phrasing, essentially equivalent in meaning:

Sollicita nec draconem in specu, nec monstrum quod in profundo dormit. (singular)
Sollicitate nec draconem in specu, nec monstrum quod in profundo dormit. (plural)

If you want to indicate explicitly that the cave belongs to the dragon ("its cave"), you can insert the word suo before specu.
 
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Ordoabchao696

New Member

Thanks for all the insights and clarifications Mr Petrus Cotoneus.

1.When I wrote "watery grave", I was actually referring to the deep blue sea.

2.Yes, he is alive in the deep blue sea .

3.Yes, the dragon is separate in it's cave, while the monster is separate in the sea.

4.Cave is separate and sea is also separate.

5.Implied subject is plural.
 

Petrus Cotoneus

Member

Location:
Cantabrigia Massachusettensium
Then you want one of the following:
Ne sollicitaveritis draconem in (suo) specu, neu monstrum quod in profundo (or alto) dormit.
Sollicitate nec draconem in
(suo) specu, nec monstrum quod in profundo (or alto) dormit.

Instead of monstrum quod, you could also say beluam quae. The word belua is a bit more like "beast," denoting a large or ferocious animal.
 
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