Translations of Major Latin Inscriptions in Memorial Hall

THE MEMORIAL TRANSEPT

1). QUICUNQUE QUAESIERIT ANIMAM SUAM

SALUAM FACERE PERDET ILLAM

ET QUICUNQUE PERDIDERIT ILLAM UIUIFICABIT EAM

 “ Whoever shall seek to save his (own) life shall lose it and whoever shall lose his life shall make it live. ”

 

MORTALEM UITAM MORS IMMORTALIS ADEMIT

 “Immortal death has taken away (their) mortal life.”

 

2). OPTIMA EST HAEC CONSOLATIO

PARENTIBUS QUOD TANTA REIPUBLICAE PRAESIDIA GENUERUNT

LIBERIS QUOD HABEBUNT DOMESTICA EXEMPLA UIRTUTIS

CONIUGIBUS QUOD IIS UIRIS CAREBUNT

QUOS LAUDARE QUAM LUGERE PRAESTABIT

 “This is the best comfort to the parents, that they have begotten such (fine) defenses for

the Commonwealth; to the children, that they shall have examples in their home of

courage; to the wives, that they will lack those husbands whom it will be more fitting for them to

praise than to grieve for.”

 

3). DIC HOSPES SPARTAE NOS TE HIC UIDISSE IACENTES

DUM SANCTIS PATRIAE LEGIBUS OBSEQUIMUR

 “Stranger, tell to Sparta that you have seen us lying here, obedient to the holy laws

of our country.”

 

O FORTUNATA MORS QUAE NATURAE DEBITA

PRO PATRIA EST POTISSIMUM REDDITA

 “O fortunate death which, due to nature, is most preferably paid for

one’s native country.

 

4). CONSUMMATI IN BREUI EXPLERUNT TEMPORA MULTA

 “Made perfect in a short time, they fulfilled many years.

 

VIRTUS OMNIBUS REBUS ANTEIT PROFECTO

LIBERTAS SALUS UITA RES ET PARENTES

ET PATRIA ET PROGNATI TUTANTUR SERUANTUR

 “Courage certainly surpasses (lit. goes before) all (other) things; (by it) liberty,

safety, life, property and parents, and country and children are preserved.

 

 5). GRATA EORUM UIRTUTEM MEMORIA PROSEQUI

QUI PRO PATRIA UITAM PROFUDERUNT

 “With grateful memory to honor the courage of those who have poured

forth (their) lives for (their) fatherland.”

 

BREUIS A NATURA NOBIS UITA DATA EST

AT MEMORIA BENE REDDITAE UITAE SEMPITERNA

 “A short life has been given to us by nature, but the memory of a life well given up (is) eternal.”

 

6). BRUTORUM AETERNITAS SUBOLES

UIRORUM FAMA MERITA ET INSTITUTA

 “The eternity of brutes (consists in their) offspring; (that) of men (in

their) fame, earned and established.”

 

INMORTALIS EST ENIM MEMORIA ILLORUM

QUONIAM ET APUD DEUM NOTA EST ET APUD HOMINES

 “ The memory of those (men) is immortal because it is known both with God and

with men.”

 

INSIDE THEATER - DIRECTLY ABOVE BALCONY OF STAGE:

HIC IN SILUESTRIBUS

ET INCULTIS LOCIS

ANGLI DOMO PROFUGI

ANNO POST CHRISTUM NATUM CIC IC C XXXUI

POST COLONIAM HUC DEDUCTAM UI

SADIENTIAM RATI ANTE OMNIA COLENDAM

SCHOLAM PUBLICE CONDIDERUNT

CONDITAM CHRISTO ET ECCLESIAE DICAUERUNT

QUAE AUCTA IOHANNIS HARUARD MUNIFICENTIA

A LITTERARUM FAUTORIBUS CUM NOSTRATIBUS TUM EXTERNIS

IDENTIDEM ADIUTA

ALUMNORUM DENIQUE FIDEI COMMISSA

AB EXIGUIS PERDUCTA INITIIS AD MAIORA RERUM INCREMENTA

PRAESIDUM SOCIORUM INSPECTORUM SENATUS ACADEMICI

CONSILIIS ET PRUDENTIA ET CURA

OPTUMAS ARTES UIRTUTES PUBLICAS PRIUATAS

COLUIT COLIT

QUI AUTEM DOCTI FUERINT FULGEBUNT QUASI SPLENDOR FIRMAMENTI

ET QUI AD IUSTITIAM ERUDIUNT MULTOS

QUASI STELLAE IN PERPETUAS AETERNITATES

The first runs: “ Here in wooded and uncultivated places Englishmen, fugitives from home, in the year after the birth of Christ 1636 (and) after the colony was founded here, the sixth, because they thought that wisdom was to be cultivated before all else, founded a school by public enactment and when founded dedicated (it) to Christ and his Church. Which, increased by the munificence of John Harvard, aided again and again by supporters of letters, not only our own but from abroad, finally entrusted to the charge of (its) alumni, and led from slight beginnings to greater increases of resources by the counsels and prudence and care of (its) Presidents, Fellows, Overseers, and Faculty, has always cultivated and still cultivates the best arts and virtues, public and private.”

 The second runs: “ Moreover they who have been learned shall shine like the splendor of the firmament, and they who educate many to justice shall shine as stars for perpetual eternities.”

 

INSIDE THEATER - ON EACH SIDEWALL OF STAGE:

CAROLUS SANDERS

A. M. anni MDCCCII

THEATRUM

ALUMNIS ACADEMICIS

SUA PEC. F. * aedificatum

anno post Chr. nat.

MDCCCLXXVI

post pop. Amer. liberatum

 “ Charles Sanders, A.B. of the year 1802, with his own money built this Theatre for the college alumni, constructed in the year after the birth of Christ, 1876, and after the freeing of the American people, 100."

Translations Source: Professor Mason Hammond, Pope Professor of Latin Language and Literature, Emeritus, “Latin, Greek, and Hebrew Inscriptions on and in Harvard Buildings Part 1: Memorial Hall,”  Harvard Library Bulletin XXVIII no. 3 (July, 1980)pp. 299-346

 

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