I always enjoy the Latin Proverb of the Day
feature at rogueclassicism
. But one
of the recent proverbs struck me as odd -- Tot capita, tot sententia
[sic], translated as "There are as many opinion [sic] as there are heads!" The pronunciation guide (kwoht KAH-pih-tah, toht sehn-TEN-tee-ah) makes it clear that sententia
is not a typo, but intentional. It is ungrammatical, however, even if you can find over a hundred hits on Google for Tot capita, tot sententia
and Quot capita, tot sententia
Henerik Kocher in his dictionary of Latin proverbs
gives the following variants of this proverb:
- Quot homines, tot sententiae. (Terence, Phormio 454)
- Quot capita, tot sententiae.
- Tot capita, tot sententiae.
In all of these, we have the plural sententiae
(opinions). Tot capita, tot sententia
makes no sense, and is a mistake for Tot capita, tot sententiae
Everyone has heard of the vulgar modern equivalent of this proverb: "Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one." Or in Latin, Quot culi, tot sententiae
("There are as many opinions as there are assholes").