Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Dux femina facti"

"Dux femina facti." Publius Vergilius Maro haec verba scripsit primo in libro Aeneidos de Didone, regina urbis Carthaginis. ~ "A woman was the leader of the deed." Publius Vergilius Maro wrote these words in the first book of the Aeneid about Dido, the queen of the city of Carthage.

Every Monday, Dr. Ramos would have each of his classes pick a "verba sapienti" sign from his shoebox stuffed with cards displaying various Latin phrases. "Verba sapienti" means "words to the wise." He taught us the translation and origin of many of the Latin phrases that come up in everyday conversation such as, "vice versa" or "et cetera." One of my favorite verba sapienti was "Dux femina facti." The story of Dido's bravery and strength as told by Virgil (whose real name was Publius Vergilius Maro) inspired the commonplace phrase embodying the spirit of Dido's leadership and courage. Dido founded and led an entire city into prosperity at a time when women were expected to "walk behind the men." At the time it was always a man who was the "leader of the deed," Dido showed that women could be and achieve so much more when she broke all constraints and limitations that the men of Greek society placed on them. I think "Dux femina facti" needs to make a comeback within everyday conversation for no other three word phrase better expresses the power women can possess.

3 comments:

Joseph D'Amico said...

So much Latin nostalgia! Anyway, I completely forgot that about that quote. It really is a great quote though, especially when you read it in Latin. Of coarse it is great for the implication that Dido is a powerful woman, but it is also satisfying just because it makes me think that Vergil was even greater because he had these ideas about powerful women so early on. This is not the only time he talks about a woman ruler in the Aeneid; he also mentions Camilla, chieftain of the Volscian tribe.

Kincy GIbson said...

The only verba sapienti I can remember is "sic friat crustullum." This means "thats the way the cookie crumbles." In other words, "thats how it happens, get over it." I think the gods definitely could have told this verba sapienti to Aeneas. Aeneas doesn't like his fate at all times, but he learns to overcome his temptation to stay with Dido and leave Troy. His fate is set and stone by Zeus who has also told Hera that there is nothing she can to stop Aeneas except to accept fate.

Megan Hoolahan said...

Amy, I agree. Although I was not in Latin and can't join in on this nostalgia, I also really like that quote. I agree with Joey about how is shows how much power a woman has even before people truly accepted women as equal. This makes it so memorable though.