6

I heard once someone say: "where you loved life, there you will return". My attempt to translate that into Latin is

ubi vitam amavisti, illuc revertēris

Is that correct? Or is there a way to improve that?

6

The translation is fine, but a few points:

  • at first I thought would be more fitting as a relative reference to ubi than illūc, but judging by PHI both are equally fine, with the latter having more demonstrative force:

Num mē illūc dūcis, ubi lapis lapidem terit? (Pl.As.31)
Sed adhibeat ōrātiō modum et redeat illūc, unde dēflexit. (Cic.Tusc.5.80.1)
..quae intrāre eō ubi jam virtūs honestumque est non potest. (SenPhil.Dial.2.5.3.)
..ipse dem unde redierat proficīscitur. (Caes.Gal.5.11.8.)

  • Istūc, suggested by another answer, cannot be used thus because the place it points to is in the general vicinity of the conversation (probably but not necessarily near the addressee, either physically or textually, e.g. mentioned by them).

  • The circumlocution quō locī seems to be technical or colloquial and thus doesn't fit.

  • Unsyncopated -ā(vi)s- forms are archaising in Classical Latin, to the point that for a word like amāre they might not even be attested (though one does for adamāre, in a philosophical work, in its elevated literary meaning). Quintilian, who lived in the 1st c. AD, lists mirror forms in -īvis- as examples of "most obnoxious pedantry". I suggest avoiding these forms unless you're going for a consciously literary effect, and using amāstī, or indeed that same adamāstī of Cicero that will underline the start of genuine love for life.

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    The rarity of unsyncopated perfect forms was news to me. That's a very interesting point! – Joonas Ilmavirta Feb 23 at 21:10
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It seems mostly fine to me. I would, however, propose the following changes:

  • Utilize the adverb quō instead of ubi to eliminate potential temporal-spatial ambiguity.
  • Utilize the adverb istuc instead of illuc. You are referring to place which pragmatically is close to the addressee but not to you, the speaker; the use of a 2nd person demonstrative is therefore justified.
  • Optionally syncopate the form amāvistī into amāstī.

Thus:

Quō vītam amā(vi)stī, istuc revertēris.

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    I agree with you that ubi with a perfect is somewhat ambiguous: I read it as "when" at first. But using quo as "where" would probably be rare as well; Lewis and Short say this: 'Where' (rare but class.): "respondit, se nescire, quo loci esset", Cic. Att. 8, 10: "quo loci illa nasceretur", id. Div. 2, 66, 135: "mitte sectari rosa quo locorum Sera moretur", Hor. C. 1, 38, 3.—. Notice the addition of a genitive loci/locorum to clarify quo. archimedes.fas.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/… – Cerberus Feb 14 at 3:57
  • @Cerberus Ah, thank you for that information! I was not aware of the rarity quō alone possessed. Would you recommend the addition of locī (or locōrum) here, or would it be sufficient alone? – Ethan Bierlein Feb 14 at 4:46
  • Mm I'm not sure! L&S aren't exactly definitive. – Cerberus Feb 15 at 0:53

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