What is the phrase "Serving the country in War and Peace" in Latin? I need a translation for a novel I'm writing.

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    Welcome to the site! Who is serving the country in this case (you, me, or them), or is it more of an infinitive, to serve and not anyone in specific?
    – Adam
    Sep 21, 2021 at 14:07
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    Related question translating in war and in peace.
    – Adam
    Sep 21, 2021 at 14:08
  • Dear Adam, I'm looking to use "to serve" as an infinitive. "Serving the country in War and Peace" is a motto I'm using for my novel. Sep 21, 2021 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


"In war and peace" would literally be in bello et in pace. However, there are a number of slightly more fancy idiomatic expressions for this idea (as was discussed in this question a while ago). By far the most common of these is domi militiaeque, which means: "at home and in military service."

(I am somewhat partial to the alternative armatus togatusque, which is a nice metaphor, but that could be problematic in a number of ways: the absurdity of the idea of, say, a modern politician wearing a toga, or the problem that it refers only to men -- women wearing togas was associated with prostitution.)

For "country" I would say res publica, which refers to the state, and is of course the root of the word "republic." Another possibility would be civitas, which more stresses the community of citizens (comes perhaps closer to "serving the people").

For "serving" I choose navare. Servire would also be possible, but more emphasises the submissive position of a servant.

Combining it all, we get:

Domi militiaeque rem publicam navare

Note: This is the infinitive form. You might want to choose another verb form depending on context, e.g. as a motto for an institution: navemus.

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    Going off of Horace, I'd opt for patria for "country."
    – cmw
    Sep 21, 2021 at 19:12
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    @cmw Oh yes, that is also very good. A sweet and honourable suggestion from you. Sep 21, 2021 at 19:17
  • Thank you so much! Sep 21, 2021 at 19:58
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    I'm curious about navo (which I didn't know about before!). Almost all the L&S examples show it being used to "exhibit" or "perform" something, and the "service" meaning comes in (apparently) from the stock phrase navare operam/opus. The only exception that they cite (and which seems to motivate your example) is one example of navare rem publicam--but apparently that's a dubious reading!
    – brianpck
    Sep 24, 2021 at 1:24
  • @brianpck I was about to write rei publicae operam navare, but the rem publicam example jumped at me and looked very fitting. But you are right, usually the serviced party is in the dative and the direct object is the service rendered, or operam. Sep 24, 2021 at 16:31

Sebastian's translation is solid and straightforward, but I'll offer a suggestion from a different angle. Why not try an existing Latin phrase?

Horace Odes 3.2.13 captures half of the sentiment sweetly:

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

It is sweet and proper to die for one's country.

You could add the verb vivere ("to live"), which although it would ruin the poetry, would capture your meaning well enough, I believe.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori at vivere.

Wikipedia says that a nineteenth century variant using vivere was actually used (by whom? how common? it is unsourced):

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, sed dulcius pro patria vivere.

It is sweet and proper to die for one's country, but sweeter [still] to live for it.

Perhaps your book demands a more straightforward translation, but I think it would be an interesting choice to use it somehow, with the added bonus of a recognizable allusion.

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