If you leave a situation or a job in a way that makes you unwelcome to return ever again, you can be said to burn your bridges in English. Is there an idiom in classical Latin for irrevocably destroying one's earlier relations? Can you provide a classical use example? The English phrase could be translated as pontes suos exurere, but I have never seen anything like it in use.

  • The same exact phrase as in English is attested in Italian, so I wouldn't totally exclude your tentative translation.
    – giobrach
    Apr 27 '16 at 11:20

Hmm. I don't know of any corresponding idioms in Latin, but in general Latin is a pretty concrete language, shunning metaphor when it can, so my suspicion is that the way to say this is going to turn out to be rather prosaic.

Translated from metaphor, "burn your bridges" means something like "break connections of goodwill." In looking for less fanciful expressions that mean the same thing I find for example in Virgil's Georgic IV

rege incolumi mens omnibus una est;
amisso rupere fidem, constructaque mella
diripuere ipsae et cratis solvere favorum.

And in Cicero's De Amicitia 85

Nam implicati ultro et citro vel usu diuturno vel etiam officiis repente in medio cursu amicitias exorta aliqua offensione disrumpimus.

If I had to bet, I'd say it's going to be something boring like that, alas.

  • 1
    Thanks! I will wait to see if others have ideas to offer before accepting an answer, but this is excellent. Is your Georgics an intentional English plural of a Latin word or a typo?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 28 '16 at 6:47
  • The latter! It no longer exists! Apr 28 '16 at 16:45

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