When you could die for any trifle, it was normal that death was almost one of the family. All the arts had death as a recurrent motif: requiem masses, paintings of skulls and reapers, poems and elegies…
It is said that when the Roman imperators celebrated their triumph over some great military victory, a slave would go behind him repeating in his ear that phrase that we have all heard:
That is: remember that you shall die.
That is to say: although you are literally triumphing now, all that, in due time, will come to nothing.
There’s this very famous Spanish elegy, by Jorge Manrique, in honor of is dead father (sorry for the improvable translation):
Let the sleeping soul awake,
awake the mind,
how life passes,
how death comes
Our lives are the rivers
that flow into the sea,
which is dying;
there go the lordships
straight to be finished
and die out;
there the big rivers,
there the medium-sized
and smaller ones:
once they arrive, the same are
those who live by their hands
and the rich.
All good with memento mori. Interestingly enough, as so often happens, if one looks up the phrase in classical sources…
cannot find it.
That is, the phrase is just one more meme invent.
Apparently, the only one who says something similar is Tertullian, in the 2nd-3rd century A. D.:
Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento!
That is: Look behind you! Remember that you are a man!
All this comes in handy for me to work on the imperatives in Latin; specifically, in module 22.
In Latin there were four imperatives. I explain the theory. Then, we practice by analyzing and translating some sentences.
It is in the 22nd module of the Latin from scratch course.
P. S. In addition to the imperative proper, we also see other related forms, such as the exhortative subjunctive or the future of command like “thou shalt not kill”.