The words animus and anima are pretty close to each other, and their difference has been explored on this site before. In order to understand their nuances in classical Latin I would like to see an example or two where they are used together.

Are there two words used together in some manner in the extant classical literature? I am most interested in a use that contrasts the two (e.g. "my anima wants to marry this girl but my animus wants to run away"), but using them to reinforce each other (e.g. "I want this by my animus and anima") or together in another way is also of interest.

  • Somewhat OT - but distinctions in the sort of the conflict between the "heart" and "mind", such as you describe as an example, are likely to be found not between anima and animus, but rather between animus and ego. cf. Syrus: "Animo imperato ne tibi animus imperet". and from Seneca: "Volo tibi multa alia scribere, sed totus animus in hac una contemplatione defixus est". But this needs further investigation, as we may find expressions like "ex animo volo"
    – d_e
    Aug 31, 2021 at 9:18
  • @d_e That sounds like a good starting point for a follow-up question. This topic has certainly not been exhausted.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Aug 31, 2021 at 10:10
  • 1
    There are some really good examples in the TLL, publikationen.badw.de/en/thesaurus/lemmata#8438 (s.v. animus), e.g.
    – Alex B.
    Aug 31, 2021 at 18:08
  • 1
    @AlexB. That looks very promising! If you or anyone else could post the relevant examples as an answer, even without any discussion, that'd be much appreciated.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Sep 1, 2021 at 7:06

2 Answers 2


Lucretius wrote his famous De Rerum Natura to propagate the philosophical teachings of Epicurus in Latin.

He makes a big deal of the distinction between the animus, which he identifies with mind (mens) and places in the chest (pectus), and the anima, which he calls a "vital heat and wind" (3.128: calor ac ventus vitalis) and sees as dispersed throughout the whole body.

The distinction is especially a theme of book III. Here's a pretty long representative passage that places them in contrast:

De Rerum Natura 3.134-60:

Nunc animum atque animam dico coniuncta teneri
inter se atque unam naturam conficere ex se,
sed caput esse quasi et dominari in corpore toto
consilium, quod nos animum mentemque vocamus.
idque situm media regione in pectoris haeret.
hic exultat enim pavor ac metus, haec loca circum
laetitiae mulcent: hic ergo mens animusquest.
cetera pars animae per totum dissita corpus
paret et ad numen mentis momenque movetur.
idque sibi solum per se sapit et sibi gaudet,
cum neque res animam neque corpus commovet una.
et quasi, cum caput aut oculus temptante dolore
laeditur in nobis, non omni concruciamur
corpore, sic animus nonnumquam laeditur ipse
laetitiaque viget, cum cetera pars animai
per membra atque artus nulla novitate cietur;
verum ubi vementi magis est commota metu mens,
consentire animam totam per membra videmus
sudoresque ita palloremque existere toto
corpore et infringi linguam vocemque aboriri,
caligare oculos, sonere auris, succidere artus,
denique concidere ex animi terrore videmus
saepe homines; facile ut quivis hinc noscere possit
esse animam cum animo coniunctam, quae cum animi vi
percussa est, exim corpus propellit et icit.

Leonard's somewhat archaic verse translation renders this (where animus = "mind" and anima = "soul"):

Mind and soul,
I say, are held conjoined one with other,
And form one single nature of themselves;
But chief and regnant through the frame entire
Is still that counsel which we call the mind,
And that cleaves seated in the midmost breast.
Here leap dismay and terror; round these haunts
Be blandishments of joys; and therefore here
The intellect, the mind. The rest of soul,
Throughout the body scattered, but obeys—
Moved by the nod and motion of the mind.
This, for itself, sole through itself, hath thought;
This for itself hath mirth, even when the thing
That moves it, moves nor soul nor body at all.
And as, when head or eye in us is smit
By assailing pain, we are not tortured then
Through all the body, so the mind alone
Is sometimes smitten, or livens with a joy,
Whilst yet the soul's remainder through the limbs
And through the frame is stirred by nothing new.
But when the mind is moved by shock more fierce,
We mark the whole soul suffering all at once
Along man's members: sweats and pallors spread
Over the body, and the tongue is broken,
And fails the voice away, and ring the ears,
Mists blind the eyeballs, and the joints collapse,—
Aye, men drop dead from terror of the mind.
Hence, whoso will can readily remark
That soul conjoined is with mind, and, when
'Tis strook by influence of the mind, forthwith
In turn it hits and drives the body too.


I did a corpus search for those terms near each other. Cicero discusses something on this topic in the first book of Tusculanae Disputationes:

sed alii in corde, alii in cerebro dixerunt animi esse sedem et locum; animum autem alii animam, ut fere nostri declarat nomen: nam et agere animam et efflare dicimus et animosos et bene animatos et ex animi sententia; ipse autem animus ab anima dictus est

I am not entirely sure about a translation, but PHI and Perseus have this text. It seems that it says in part "The animus itself however is spoken about by the anima". I will edit this answer with a translation when I figure it out.

  • 3
    Try the Loeb: "But some of them have said that the heart is the local habitation of the soul, whilst others place it in the brain; others however identify soul and breath as we Romans practically do—the name explains this,for we speak of "giving up the ghost" and "expiring" and of "spirited people" and "people of good spirit" and "to the best of one's belief"."
    – cmw
    Aug 31, 2021 at 1:09
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    Clearly, though, the English can't get Latin's nuance across!
    – cmw
    Aug 31, 2021 at 1:10
  • There is some interpunction missing, a dash after nostri. That should clear the grammar up a bit. (In my opinion a full stop would work as well, but what do I know.) Aug 31, 2021 at 8:05

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