I'm translating the phrase "bonum animum habe". The website that I'm using,


says that it’s an imperative present verb. But I don't know what person it is. It can't be first person, because I'm pretty sure there are no first person present imperative endings. But second person doesn't make sense in this context. Here's a sample of what I've been translating for the sake of context.

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    Why doesn't second person make sense in this context?
    – Draconis
    Nov 13, 2021 at 4:39
  • 3
    (For reference, it's second person singular. But if you tell us more about why it doesn't seem to fit as that, we can write a more useful answer.)
    – Draconis
    Nov 13, 2021 at 4:40
  • Achilles is directly addressing his mother in this sentence. If Achilles is the one giving the command too his mother then that wouldn't make sense because in the past three lines, she's the one who's trying to motivate him. So the sentence "O beata mater, bonum animum habe" is obviously supposed to be a response from Achilles to what his mother said to him. Nov 13, 2021 at 5:14
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    Here is the full dialogue between Achilles and Thetis . "Itaque Achilles matrem suam vocavit: “Iuva me!” In mari Thetis eum audivit et ad eum cucurrit: Tuas sententias intellego, mi dulcis fili,” dixit. “Omnes Graeci te magno in honore habere debent; sine te enim Troianos vincere non possunt. Cogita haec: Si nunc hoc ex bello fugies, tibi erit parva gloria, sed vita longa; si autem hoc loco manebis, magnam gloriam invenies, sed tuam viam amittes.” “O beata mater, bonum animum habe!” dixit Achilles." Nov 13, 2021 at 5:32
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    I don't think habē is a typo but is viam a typo for vītam? Viam is not "life".
    – Ben Kovitz
    Nov 13, 2021 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


Bonum animum habere means "to have good courage, to be confident." This expression is used, for example, in the plays of Plautus.

I think you are somewhat mistaken when you characterize (in the comments) Thetis' words as "motivating her son." She suggests he only has the choice between ignominy and early death, which is a bleak outlook. In that context it makes perfect sense that he would in his response try to cheer her up.

Thus I think your objections to the second person imperative should be alleviated. Habe is the second person singular active imperative and fits well in this context.

You will indeed find this usage in Plautus, e.g.:

Tace, bonum habe animum, Euclio.

(Aulularia, 2,2)

No doubt the authors of your exercise had that in mind. Otherwise, you could also say bono animo sis.

As a side note, Thetis was undisputably a very beautiful woman/nymph, but beatus, -a, -um does not mean "beautiful."

  • Perhaps "undisputedly a very..." or simply "indisputably beautiful..."
    – rkedge
    Nov 14, 2021 at 20:31
  • @rkedge In any event, it's just not advisable to question the beauty of the Nereids. Ask any Ethiopian what happens if you do it. Nov 14, 2021 at 21:17

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