How can I express something like the following sentences in Latin?

  • Being a teacher is simple; it's a question of discipline.
  • I don't care if I win or not; it's all about surviving.

I can offer some translations:

  • Facile est magister esse; nullo opus est nisi disciplina.
  • Mea non interest an vincam necne; de pervivendo agitur.

I believe these translations would be understood correctly, but I fear they might not be all that idiomatic to classical Latin. What would be a good idiomatic way to express things like this in classical Latin? Please provide a classical use example. I prefer Caesar or Cicero if there is room for choice.

  • 2
    I would definitely go with "agitur" and its forms: it's very similar to French "il s'agit" and Spanish "se trata de"
    – brianpck
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 1:06
  • 1
    Living Latin folks seem to use tractátur dé (aliquó) (as in @brianpck's "se trata de"), but as I can't provide you with any classical examples I won't post that as an answer. Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 2:14

1 Answer 1


Cicero uses quaestio, as in quaestio est iurene occiderit..., implying the meaning "problem (concerning)". Maybe the preposition circa could help, in the appropriate context; Greek has the perfect περὶ + gen.

  • 4
    Welcome to the site! Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 4:34
  • You have already been very helpful! This is an interesting answer. Can you give an example or two in Cicero's (or someone else's) work that uses this construction?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 9:01
  • Well, for example, Quintilian VII, 3 et al. sees the similar construction quaestio est an... But since Cicero is more involved in legal issues than other authors, quaestio in his work has more to share with controversia than simply "matter" as in "a matter of". The word itself could be generally translated as "disputed point", which is not quite what you asked for, but I bet you could turn it around to mean what you want it to mean :D Glad this helped you
    – giobrach
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 9:38
  • @giobrach Do you know if quaestio here is mostly a judicial term? I know that quaestio is must more like English investigation than question
    – brianpck
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 13:21
  • 1
    Your answer and comments have been very enlightening. I will accept your answer now. If someone comes along with an answer that more directly addresses my question, I might move my acceptance there.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 9:17

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