How would I translate this sentence into Latin? I've done some digging on my own and I know that

Temet nosce

means know thyself and that


means dream. I don't know enough Latin to form these separate words and phrases into a sentence however.

The way the sentence would be spoken would be like a mantra that one repeats to themself in times of need, or something that a loving parent would say to their child.

Any help is appreciated.

1 Answer 1


I'll go through the phrase piece by piece.


Latin has a few different ways to give a command; the most fancy/formal of these is the so-called imperative II. This is what's used in the famous phrase mementō morī: literally, "remember to die". I'd use the same here: mementō.

…to dream…

Latin has a few different verbs for this. Ālūcinārī is probably the fancier/more poetic one, but it's also a bit less positive, with implications of nonsense or foolishness. The more positive word, used for fantasies and prophecies, is somniāre. It's also more prosaic, coming straightforwardly from the word for "sleep", but I think it's what you want here.

…to know thyself…

Especially with the "thy", it seems like you're quoting the famous Oracle at Delphi. The classic form of the saying is gnôthe sautón, which is Greek rather than Latin—but later authors liked the saying too, and it's often quoted in Latin. The verb is generally either scitō or nōsce, while "thyself" is temet or tē ipsum; I like nōsce tē ipsum best, and that form was used by Hobbes and Linnaeus among others.

This form, of course, is a command, while you want an infinitive ("to…"). That form would be nōscere tē ipsum. (If you want to be really fancy you can use a poetic passive infinitive, nōscier tibi "to be known to thyself", which is more poetic and archaic—sort of like your use of "thyself" in English.)


The two main ways to say "and" in Latin are -qve and et. Here I'd use et.

…to keep above as below.

This sounds like a reference to Hermeticism; the famous Latin version of the Emerald Tablet contains this line:

Quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius. Et quod est superius est sicut quod est inferius, ad perpetranda miracula Rei Unius.
That which is below, is like unto that which is above. And that which is above, is like unto that which is below, in order to carry out the miracles of the One Essence.

(The translation is my own, so the "like unto" is just me being deliberately archaic. But when you're translating the words of Hermes the Thrice-Great, a bit of archaicism seems appropriate.)

"To keep" doesn't really have a straightforward Latin translation, so I'd use the general-purpose verb faciō, which is literally "make" but has dozens of meanings sort of like English "do". All together, this would be facere superius sīcut inferius. (The Tablet uses the singular; if you want it plural for whatever reason, that would be facere superiōra sīcut inferiōra.)

All together now:

Remember to dream, to know thyself, and to keep above as below.
Mementō somniāre, tibi nōscier, et facere superius sīcut inferius.
(Remember to have dreams, to be known to thyself, and to make that above like unto that below.)

  • Perhaps servare or one of its compounds would work for 'keep'? Somehow facere doesn't feel quite right, though I confess that I don't actually understand what the original poster means by 'keep above as below.'
    – cnread
    Jun 24, 2019 at 21:11
  • @cnread "keep above as below" is technically a rephrasing of the quote "As above, so below", that has origins in Hermeticism and Sacred Geometry. I rephrased it as a little adage for myself for a story I plan on writing that relates to Sacred Geometry, and because it helps me stay honest and truthful with myself.
    – Aloysius
    Jun 25, 2019 at 3:36
  • @Draconis thanks for the help! That would've taken me a long time to accomplish and I wouldn't have done it as accurately, so thank you again! I appreciate it.
    – Aloysius
    Jun 25, 2019 at 3:41
  • @Aloysius No problem! Hope it helps
    – Draconis
    Jun 25, 2019 at 3:53
  • @cnread Fair; I used faciō mostly to hedge my bets since I couldn't quite tell what was intended. It seems like the OP just wanted a verb there, judging by the comments, so I think the semantically-very-weak faciō fits better than the semantically-strong servāre here.
    – Draconis
    Jun 25, 2019 at 3:54

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