I am translating the motto, "The Past Shall Live" into classical Latin. Currently, I have Praeteritum Vivet, which I think makes sense, but I'd appreciate the input of those more skilled than I.

  • Did you ever settle on a proper translation? Or something that sounds pretty and means "The Past Shall Live?"
    – Jamie
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 22:21
  • I think preteritum vivet works fine.
    – Figulus
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 1:40

2 Answers 2


More idiomatic, I think, would be praeterita exsurgent: "The past (things) will rise up." Singular praeteritum sounds like there's one past thing you have in mind, and exsurgo seems (to me at least) more natural in Latin than vivo of a thing that can't actually be alive.

  • This is the correct answer. You could even quote Lewis and Short: "Subst.: prae-tĕrĭta , ōrum, n., things gone by, the past."
    – cmw
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 16:31
  • Welcome, by the way. And great user name!
    – cmw
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 16:32
  • Thanks! Good catch on Lewis and Short.
    – Herodotean
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 0:37
  • Thanks for the answer. Exsurgant has a nice feel in the sense that it feels more "energized" than simply saying it's alive.
    – Adam
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 6:06
  • If you want "shall live," use exsurgent. exsurgant is subjunctive, which would mean "may the past rise up."
    – Herodotean
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 17:23

"The past shall live" implies that it is currently dead; awaiting, presumably, a resurrection. How about present tense, vivit, as in historia vivit = history lives. The sense, the past segues into the future at a "junction" called the present; therefore, both "live" in the present. Alternatively, there is no present, just a perpetual transition between past/ future.

  • I really prefer this; my audience will presumably not speak Latin, so this will be more intuitive to them. I also agree that present tense makes more sense for what I want to convey. Thanks, @tony!
    – Adam
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 19:08

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