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How does the famous saying:

Veni, vidi, vici.

have to be changed so that it describes a female person, such as in English:

She came, she saw, she conquered.

Reversing Google Translate gives conflicting results.

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    It already describes a female person, if she says that. – MPW Jul 14 at 1:37
  • @MPW In this case yes, but not in general. What if Caesar had said: I came, I dared, I conquered? The asker was right to suspect the sentence might need to be changed. – Sebastian Koppehel Jul 14 at 18:12
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    @SebastianKoppehel : Yes, if you refer to the participial form in that case, that’s true. Still, OP asked about “Veni, vidi, vici” in particular. – MPW Jul 14 at 18:16
54

"Veni vidi vici" means "I came, I saw, I conquered."

"Venit vidit vicit" means "He/she/it came, he/she/it saw, he/she/it conquered." It doesn't make any judgement about gender.

If you think that the gender is important, Latin uses a demonstrative-y/pronoun-like particle: "is/ea/id" which correspond to "he/she/it" in English. In Latin, one doesn't need to reduplicate the subject of a list. If you chose to put "ea" before every verb, you would be emphasizing that SHE (and not anybody other person) is the one doing the action. The translation you're most likely after would be:

"Ea venit, vidit, vicit." She came, saw, conquered.

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    Wow! I thought there would only be answers like "It already does", and you actually answered the question and I learnt something new. – RedSonja Jul 14 at 4:53
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    @tony No, the sentence is elliptical - after you have defined the pronoun for the first time, you don't need to repeat it unless there is another second-person noun. Technically, "veni, vidi, vici" would be "ego veni, vidi, vici", however the conjugation into first-person of "venio", "video", and "vinco" is unambiguous (so "ego" can be left implicit), while the conjugation into second person does not specify male/female/neuter - but you only need to define it once. It's similar to Portuguese or Spanish conjugation (while French or German would require the pronoun all 3 times) – Chronocidal Jul 14 at 12:28
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    Portuguese: "vim, vi, vitoriei" / "ela veio, viu, vitoriou"; Spanish: "Vine, vi, vencí" / "Ella vino, vio, vencio" – Chronocidal Jul 14 at 12:35
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    @Chronocidal German: "Ich kam, sah und siegte." - There is no necessity for the repeated subject. Grammar isn't all, there is also context. No speaker would intend a different subject for the second and third clause, when using this construct. – I'm with Monica Jul 14 at 16:17
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    @I'mwithMonica However, you did require the addition of "und" (i.e. "veni vidi et vici"), which was the second part of the point tony was querying. In Latin, Spanish and Portuguese, you need neither the repeated subject nor a conjunction for it to be grammatical. – Chronocidal Jul 14 at 16:34
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It's:

Vēnit, vīdit, vīcit.

whether the subject is masculine, feminine, or neuter. Latin only has grammatical gender agreement between nouns and the adjectives that modify them. Subject-verb agreement in Latin only involves grammatical person (I, you, he/she/it) and number (singular and plural).

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    Re "Subject-verb agreement in Latin only involves grammatical person (I, you, he/she/it) and number (singular and plural)": That's true of contemporary English, German and, I believe, many other languages as well. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jul 14 at 8:01
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    @Peter-ReinstateMonica it's the norm in Indo-European languages although some languages (in particular the Slavic languages) have innovated past tenses from older participles and had those participles agree with the subject for gender as well as number (but not person). Other language families may tend to mark gender/class on verbs. I'm surprised there isn't a WALS chapter, but the Afro-Asiatic languages almost all mark gender, person, and number on their finite verbs – Tristan Jul 14 at 9:49
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    “Subject-verb agreement in Latin only involves grammatical person and number” – that rule does not hold when participles are involved. And participles can easily become involved. It is pure luck that Caesar conquered instead of, for example, talking to the enemy. The sentence would then be gendered and would have to be modified for a feminine subject: Veni, vidi, locutus sum. – Sebastian Koppehel Jul 14 at 17:35
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    @SebastianKoppehel Indeed I'm only talking about agreement with finite verbs. That's usually all that's meant by "subject-verb agreement". I figure that someone asking this question isn't ready for the complication that starts when we bring in verbal adjectives. For example, in Locuta sum, the verb sum doesn't reflect the gender of the subject, but the adjective locuta does. One could argue semantics about whether locuta is part of the verb, but I don't think that would be helpful. – Ben Kovitz Jul 15 at 12:17

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