Thread: SOF mottos
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Old 06-02-2006, 21:03   #131
Airbornelawyer's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Originally Posted by x_sf_med
PMcP -
Actually there are 2 accepted translations for "De Oppresso Liber"- Latin is funny that way:
1. Freedom for the oppressed
2. From oppression, Freedom
Just to be pedantic, I would note that actually, "De Oppresso Liber" is not proper Latin. Cicero would certainly look at you funny if you said it to him. It is derived from Medieval Latin usages, but is not gramatically Latin.

De is a preposition meaning "from" or "down from" and its object takes the ablative case. Another preposition, ex, also means "from" or "out of" and might be closer to the meaning we are looking for. The "-ō" after an ablative preposition indicates a second declension noun, which would make the nominative form oppressum (neut.) or oppressus (masc.). These would be participle forms of the verb opprimere, and mean "oppressed". But that makes de oppresso mean "from the oppressed" not "from oppression".

See, for example, the Latin Vulgate versions of Jeremiah 22:3: ... et liberate vi oppressum de manu calumniatoris... ("...and deliver him that is oppressed out of the hand of the oppressor...") and II Peter 2:7: ...Loth, oppressum a nefandorum iniuria conversatione... ("...Lot, oppressed by the injustice and lewd conversation of the wicked...").

Liber by itself is an adjective meaning "free". Freedom is libertas. The verb "to free" is libero, but would have different endings depending on context; also, it wouldn't take de but ab, ex or no preposition.

The line from the Book of Jeremiah above - "and deliver him that is oppressed out of the hand of the oppressor" - might be a good basis for a motto, but the Vulgate isn't good Classical Latin either.

There's always semper ubi sub ubi - "always wear underwear."
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Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.
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