In a previous question I asked for a word that could be used to mean vessel, in the sense that it is a person holding something immaterial.

I'm now translating the rest of the sentence that includes vessel:

You are imperfect vessels of memories and you corrupt their perfection.

I currently have the following:

Vos (quaedam) vasa memoriarum imperfectarum estis et perfectiones suum foedatis.

I have quaedam in parenthesis because I feel it's optional, but might be needed to better convey what I want.

Does this make sense given the English version? For greater context, the person speaking this is a deity in a mythology I've created, and they are explaining why memories are inherently faulty even though they made memories to be perfect recollections of the past.

1 Answer 1


Not so much a complete answer, but several points to consider.

  • I think the word perfectus usually has the connotation of something completed/finished/done, and somewhat less in the sense of whole/pure/without-blemish; For the latter sense the adjective integer is perhaps closer. I didn't find a good one-word-match for imperfect (corruptus sounds too strong for me)
  • Note that in the English version imperfect modifies vessels, but it seems in the Latin it modifies memories (i.e. "you are vessels of imperfect memories").
  • I wonder about the suum there. suus as an adjective should match its noun. In our case it is perfectiones which is acc. pl. f. so it should appear as suas.
  • Also note that suus "is used only as a reflexive, referring to the subject. For a possessive pronoun of the 3rd person not referring to the subject, the genitive of a demonstrative must be used"(A&G(thanks to Sebastian Koppehel for pointing that out)). So it seems it would be correct to use earum instead of suas, as the subject here is vos and not the memoriea.
  • Other than that it seems quite good for me.
  • 3
    "I suspect it should not be suas but earum" -- that is also my understanding, at least so it should be according to good classical grammar. See Allen & Greenough. Nov 8, 2020 at 16:17
  • 1
    This is fantastic. Thanks for your help, guys! I had a feeling that suum wasn't what I wanted when I wanted to refer to the object.
    – Adam
    Nov 8, 2020 at 17:19
  • Quick followup question: does Vos vasa non integra memoriarum make sense using integer?
    – Adam
    Nov 8, 2020 at 21:16
  • 1
    @Adam, Yes I think it makes sense. you are imperfect vessels of memories.
    – d_e
    Nov 8, 2020 at 22:04

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