What would be the proper Latin translation of:

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

The author of the quote is uncertain and, as far as I can see, it is not a proverb or a common phrase.

  • I love that quote, and it took me many years to learn and truly understand its meaning. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 23:11

2 Answers 2


The phrase everyone you meet seems like a idiomatic way to say everybody, so I would translate it as:

Omnis certamen certat quod nequaquam scis.

A simpler way to say it, although with less emphasis, would be:

Omnis certamen certat quod nescis.


I'll offer something with a slightly different approach in an attempt to be more idiomatic in structure:

Si quis tibi occurrit, sua habet certamina abscondita.
If anyone meets you, they have their own hidden struggles.

Opening a sentence with a condition with si quis appears to be very common and feels like an idiomatic way to say essentially "everyone".

I'm less convinced about my choice certamina habet. Perhaps the verb could be certat too? I wanted to try to give more emphasis to the existence of the fight than the act of fighting so I went with habere. (I don't quite know how to specify that the struggles are hidden from you so I asked a follow-up question.)

If you don't mind dactylic hexameter with some added licence, I could also offer:

Quisque tibi occurrens sua semper proelia sumit.
Each one that meets you always engages in their own battles.

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