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I want to write a letter to a close friend who studies classical litterature, and I would like to end it with a sentence (or even just a greeting formula) in Latin which would convey a (non-romantic) feeling along the lines of "You are dear to my heart" or something equivalent. It can even come from an existing work.

I do not know any Latin myself, so explanations are very welcome!

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I found the following in A Dictionary of Latin Phrases, by William Robertson:

Haeres mihi in animo

You are dear to my heart

A more literal translation would be "You adhere to my heart," or "You are impressed on my heart."

To address your concerns about whether this might be used in a non-romantic context, I found a very similar expression used in such a context. In fact, the only diference is that this second expression has in medullis instead of in animo, but they essentially mean the same thing. The phrase in medullis literally means "in [my] inner parts", but it can be equally (and more naturally) be translated as "in [my] heart", or in this context, "to my heart."

Anyway, what I found is from the play Orestes, by Wolfgang Waldung. Here we have Iphigenia speaking to to her brother, Orestes:

Oresti, fratri meo longe dilectissimo, […] haeres mihi tu in medullis.

Orestes, my most beloved brother, […] you are dear to my heart

So, as you can see, the expression Haeres mihi in animo, or alternatively Haeres mihi in medullis may be used to express the love between family or friends.

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  • Nice suggestion. This simple example posits a syntactic puzzle to me. One could say that the dative mihi can be a semantic argument of the verb haerere or a dativus sympatheticus with respect to animo. An easy answer could be: it is both at the same time but, stricto sensu (or should I say, syntactically speaking) I don't think this intuitive "at the same time" analysis is really possible. I'd go for the dativus sympatheticus reading first (it's the 1st analysis that comes to my mind here). The other analysis as verbal argument of haerere is not excluded but it is more marked.
    – Mitomino
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 20:42
  • @Mitomino - My guess would be that the dative goes with the verb, but maybe you're right. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 0:45
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    @charon25 - I edited my answer to address your concerns. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 12:46
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    @ExpeditoBipes - I guess this was exactly what I was looking for then, thank you!
    – charon25
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 12:55
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    @charon25 - You're welcome. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 12:56
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"Totus tuus" ([I am] all yours) was a popular friendly valediction in the early modern period.

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