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I have anger management issues, and am currently working on a tattoo I'd like to have done. So I'm thinking of a good Latin phrase which carries the same spirit as Memento Mori.

What I'd like to have is the phrase "Remember Calmness", but in Latin. A quick search resulted in the translation Memento Sedatiores. I just wanted to verify if this is a sound/proper translation of the phrase.

If you also have phrases to suggest, please feel free to comment them!

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Step 1

There are various words for calmness. Take a look at these ones, at least:

Which one looks most suitable to you? Probably some of them are very unsuitable, but the final call is yours to make.

The links above are to one online Latin dictionary, but there are several to choose from. The list above is not exhaustive of all the possibilities out there.

To me sedatiores does not sound like a well formed Latin word at all. Perhaps sedatores ("calmers") or sedationes ("calmings"), but I wouldn't recommend them.

Step 2

Decline the word appropriately. With meminisse ("to remember") you have several choices, and I would use the accusative here. The accusatives of the listed words are clementiam, aequanimitatem, languorem, lenitudinem, quietudinem, and tranquillitatem. Put one of these after memento, and your phrase is complete.

Step 3

Check that the final wording you ended up with is sensible and means what you want it to mean. Ask in a comment or a new question if you are unsure. It's all too easy to end up with nonsense if you don't ask someone (preferably several) who understand some Latin.

I recommend against tattooing something based solely on a single Latinist's opinion. Wait to see how users answer, vote, and comment here.

  • 2
    @Hugh Good catch, thanks! I made the edit. For simple errors like this, you can always just edit my posts, but commenting is also fine. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 26 '17 at 16:33
  • Solid advice! Thank you very much! I feel so happy for consulting here. I might just go with Memento Clementiam to mean Indulgent, forbearing conduct towards the errors and faults of others, moderation, mildness, humanity. That should remind me to stay calm and keep my temper at check! I'll consult the opinion of others, but this stands as the best pick. Thank you very much! – brain56 May 27 '17 at 16:08
  • A follow up question, if I may? Not sure if it belongs in a comment or in a separate question, but another person I consulted recommended using Clementiae instead of Clementiam, I was curious to know what the differences are. – brain56 May 27 '17 at 17:07
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    @brain56 Memento clementiam or Memento clementiae sounds good to me. I actually just asked a question about the difference between accusative and genitive objects for meminisse. Memento is an imperative form of this verb, so it's directly related to choosing between clementiam and clementiae. I hope someone has insight to share there! – Joonas Ilmavirta May 27 '17 at 19:21
  • I'm not sure if this contributes to the discussion, but someone on Reddit pointed out that Memento clementiam = "Remember clemency" and Memento clementiae = "Remember of clemency". – brain56 May 27 '17 at 22:16
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You might consider a phrase from the poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in English as Horace, suitable for your purpose. I don't have any tattoos, but if I were getting a Latin one, I'd want a real Latin quote from a classical author. There is something almost incredible about hearing the words from the distant past speak so clearly.

From Odes 3.29

Memento componere aequus.

As with most Latin, it can be hard to put into English succinctly. Roughly it means:

Remember to settle things calmly.

Aequus is an masculine singular adjective meaning calm, even, unruffled and modifies the imperative verb memento. Componere is an infinitive that follows memento and means to gather, settle or arrange.

Another possible phrase from Horace, Odes 2.3 is:

Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem.

Remember to keep a calm mind in difficult matters/events/circumstances.

This could easily be shortened to:

Aequam memento servare mentem.

Remember to keep a calm mind.

These phrases are each from one of Horace's lovely odes. He lived during very turbulent times, as the Roman republic transitioned to the Roman empire. His philosophy was to live in the moment and enjoy what you have. Tomorrow is an unknown. When Horace uses the adjective, aequus, to describe a person or his mind, he is not speaking of controlling anger, but of maintaining calmness in the face of human uncertainty in a more general sense. Perhaps, this more general sense of calmness will speak to you. Perhaps not. Either would make a classic tattoo, in my opinion.

That said, if you like Horace and want a phrase that speaks specifically about anger, you might consider this one from his letters.

Horace, Epistulae, 1.2.62

Ira brevis furor est.

Anger is a brief madness.

If you would like to read more about how anger was viewed in the ancient world, check out: Restraining Rage: The Ideology of Anger Control in Classical Antiquity.

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    Good idea! Using original classical text, especially poetry, gives a tattoo much more gravity, if any existing quote only matches the intention well enough. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 29 '17 at 6:19
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Please, do not use the accusative here. As far as I have learned meminisse is one of those words that normally require an object in its genitive form. Combinations like meminisse de aliquo or meminisse aliquem are existent but rather uncommon. To my mind they are also a bit ugly.

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    +1 --> Memento famulorum tuorum. Can you provide more details? Perhaps it was accusative in classical times and genitive thereafter? Welcome to the site, BTW – Rafael May 26 '17 at 23:05
  • Welcome to the site and +1! If my memory serves me well, L&S tells that the accusative is also classically possible. I faintly recall that meminisse prefers a genitive when the object is a person, but is more ambivalent with inanimate things. Either way, the genitive is indeed a possible choice. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 26 '17 at 23:54

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