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Proverbia de Bove et Agricola

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These proverbs about the Ox (Bos) and the Farmer (Agricola) 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.

Pauperi
vitulus est castrum.
.
Caseum ovis,
lac capra
mi dent,
et vacca butyrum.
dent: jussive subjunctive
Vacca
quae multum boat,
parum lactis habet.
quae: relative pronoun, agreeing with vacca in gender and number
Praebet
candoris lac
nigri vacca coloris.

nigri coloris : split phrase - genitive of description

candoris = candoris coloris

Bos cognoscit
possessorem.
 
Bos ad praesepe.  
Boves
messis tempus
exspectantes.
 
Exspectat bos aliquando
herbam.
 
Ex eodem prato
bos quaerit herbam,
canis leporem,
ciconia lacertam.
 
Aprilis aqua
pinguescit bos.
 
Numquid mugiet bos,
cum ante praesepe plenum
steterit.
steterit: subjunctive with cum
Non alligabis os
bovi trituranti.
 
Bos in acervo,
Tantalus inter undas.
Note: In the underworld, Tantalus stands amidst the waters, but whenever he tries to take a drink to slake his thirst, the waters recede, just as an ox is made to thresh the grain but cannot eat it.
Ubi non sunt boves,
praesepe
vacuum est.
 
Augiae bubile. Note: As one of the labors of Heracles, he had to clean out the stables of Augeas, which were so enormous and filled with manure that he had to divert a river to do the cleaning!
Bos Cyprius. Note: The oxen of Cyprus were supposed to be especially unpleasant, living off human excrement - so this proverb referred to someone engaged in filthy or foolish practices.
Cyprio bovi
merenda.
Note: The oxen of Cypres supposedly lived off human excrement, so there was nothing nice about the lunch of an ox from Cyprus.
Leo et bos
comedent paleas.
 

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are copyrighted by Laura Gibbs, 2007. No copyright is claimed for any images.