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Lucrum cum iactura famae damnum est, non lucrum

Original post date: Friday, June 29, 2007

In English: Profit, with the loss of reputation, is loss, not profit.

If you read yesterday's proverb, Paulum lucri, quantum damni, "so little profit, so much loss" - you will see that today's proverb conveys precisely the same message - albeit in a less "proverbial-sounding" form.

The idea is once again the paradox of profit that is really a loss, not profit. In today's saying, the type of loss that is incurred is much more specific: a iactura famae, a loss of reputation. So this is a saying you could apply to some company that makes some short-term gain but in a way that damages their reputation and undermines their ability to do business over the long run.

The reason I was prompted to include this saying as a post today was because of the source where I found it. The fine folks at St. Louis University have put some absolutely wonderful Latin materials online, including the Praxis Grammatica of John Harmer, published in 1623 (!). The book consists of a series of statements in Latin, some of which are typical textbook-type statements (e.g., Non eram in schola hodie, "I was not in class today"), but many of which are traditional Latin aphorisms.

The preface to the book is written in Latin, and is clearly addressed to the teachers who will be using the book, rather than to the students themselves. He admits that he has included but trifles, leviuscula, in the book, but he does so on purpose, because the book is for the use of puerorum adhuc balbutientium, "boys who are still stammerers" when it comes to Latin.

So, if you have not looked at this lovely book, it is definitely worth your attention - and kudos to St. Louis University for making it available in such a great edition online!

Meanwhile, here is today's proverb read out loud:

152. Lucrum cum iactura famae damnum est, non lucrum.

The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.

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