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Proverbia de Bove

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These proverbs about the Ox (Bos) constitute just one group of the large body of proverbs about oxen, bulls, bullocks and cows in Latin.

For more information about the rams and sheep and lambs in Latin bestiaries, visit the Bos in the Zoo. If you find some of the proverbs below difficult to understand, you will find some English translations at the Zoo page, along with many other proverbs!

   Use this Study Guide to organize your learning activities.

Quod licet Iovi,
non licet bovi.
quod: relative pronoun, agreeing with implied hoc in main clause
Bos
ad aquam tractus
non vult potare
coactus.
potare: complementary infinitive with vult
Quid bove firmius?  
Placide
bos incedit.
 
Bos lassus
fortius figit
pedem.
 
Non facile est
taurum visa retinere iuvenca.
retinere: infinitive as noun
visa...iuvenca: split phrase - ablative absolute
Pulcherrimus
videtur bos
bovi.
 
Bos in civitate.  
Bos marinus.  
Quid
delphino et bovi
commune?
 
Prius
locusta bovem pariet.
 
Vulpes
bovem agit.
 
Bove
venari leporem.
 
Ne si bos quidem
vocem edat.

edat: subjunctive with si
ne...quidem: split phrase

Note: In other words, not ever!

Sero paras stabulum
taurum iam fure trahente.
fure trahente: ablative absolute
Parva necat morsu spatiosum
vipera taurum.

parva...vipera: split phrase

spatiosum...taurum: split phrase

Bos
in lingua incedit.
Note: This refers to someone who is silent (and perhaps to someone who has been bribed into silence, since some ancient coins were stamped with oxen, so an "ox" could stand for a coin).
In lingua mihi
bos.
 
Capram portare non possum,
et imponitis bovem.
portare: complementary infinitive with possum

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