Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: A Question only Bobbyd should answer ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: A Question only Bobbyd should answer
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: probonopublico-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 23 Nov 2002 10:38 PST
Expires: 23 Dec 2002 10:38 PST
Question ID: 113236
Horace is supposed to have said something to the effect 'Make money
honestly whenever you can ... but, if not, make money anyway you can'.

What was the precise quote? Where did he make it? And did he really
make it in English?
Subject: Re: A Question only Bobbyd should answer
Answered By: bobby_d-ga on 23 Nov 2002 19:31 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Firstly, let me say that I am honoured to have been specifically asked
a by you, probonopublico, and as a Latin scholar, I am even further

This text originates from Horace's most familiar tongue, Latin. 
Obviously, when translating from another language, especially from an
ancient language, the colour and tone of the text needs to be conveyed
in the new language.  The boundary of linguistic idioms makes
literally translating ineffective, and somewhat incorrect.

So, as you can imagine, the origin of this text will have many
equivalent phrases in English.

To get around this problem, I attempted to locate some pages listing
Horace's better known quotes:

TPCN - Great Quotations (Quotes) By Horace To Inspire and Motivate You
To Achieve Your Dreams!

Horace Famous Quots - ThinkExist

Horace - Quotes and Quotations

Horace Quotes - The Quotation Page

But that is enough of that...  For more pages, try searching (Horace

From these pages, I found alternatives to the quote you were looking

"Make money, money by fair means if you can, if not, but any means
Horace, Epistles"

"Make money, money by fair means if you can, if not, but any means
money. "

So I searched this quote, and came up with another site:

"Make money, money by fair means if you can, if not, by any means

Horace (65-8 BC)
Book I, epistle i, line 66"

The original text of Horace's epistles Book 1 can be found here:

"Isne tibi melius suadet, qui 'rem facias, rem,               65
si possis, recte, si non, quocumque modo rem,'"

The actual quote is inside the 's.

Now here, using my brain, dictionary and grammar books, is how I think
it goes (keeping in mind that Latin lends itself to license in

res (rem) = noun = a multitude of meanings, including "thing" and
"matter", but importantly "profit" or "property".  In this form, it is
seemingly the object of the sentence.

facias = verb = meaning "to do", or "to make".  This form seems to be
2nd person singular (as in, "you make"), could be future or present,
but I won't get too technical.

si = if

possis = verb = you can (in subjunctive form, probably due to the
conditional clause from "if")

recte = adverb = literally "vertically" or "in a straight manner", but
lends itself to "properly" or "justly" (like we in english have
"morally _upright_").

si = if

non = not

quocumque = "whoever" or "whatever", in ablative form.  This means
means preceding the word with "in", "by", "with", "from", or someother

modo = This could be the adverb meaning "only", but I believe it is
declined from "modus", a noun that means "mode", or "manner" (in this

So, let's try and put this together!

"(let you) Make money, if you can, money properly, if not, money from
whatever means"

Does that translation work for you?

So, what was he on about?  This is the first letter in Horace's book 1
of letters.  The word "epistulae" literally means "letters", but it
was used in a different sense in those times - it could simply be used
to title a publication.  Horace's epistulae are known for the morals
and ethics that is discusses, and is simply a collection of his moral
teachings rather than a collection of written letters.  Remember that
letters were a major source of written material - the majority of our
major ancient works stem from these, for example, our knowledge of
Cicero comes from the numerous letters he wrote.

Here are some links that will help you with the context of this quote
- worth a look:

"The Epistles contain the graver element of the Satires in still
greater perfection, and with the addition of a fine vein of personal
emotion and affection, tinged occasionally with the melancholy of
advancing life, which on the whole, makes them the most valuable of
Horace's works."
Horace - Biography of Horace

"About 20 bc Horace published Epistles, Book I, 20 short personal
letters in hexameter, giving his observations on society, literature,
and philosophy. "
Encarta - Horace

"Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born on the 8th of December, B.C. 65 at
Venusia, a Roman colony on the confines of Apulia and Lucania. His
father was a libertinus, or freedman, by whom emancipated is not
known. Horace was technically ingenuus, having been born after his
father's emancipation. His mother he never mentions. "
Horace's Biography

Latin: Dead, yet still alive

Okay, okay, that last one wasn't as relevant, but it is worth a read
if you are interested.

I hope this helped you out, and if you need any further clarification,
or have any other queries, please feel free to ask.

Thanks again for this wonderful question!


Search Strategy:
Horace Quotes
"Make money, money by fair means if you can, if"
Horace epistles

Clarification of Answer by bobby_d-ga on 23 Nov 2002 19:58 PST
I left out some more search strategy:
horace biography
latin dead
horace latin

Thanks again!

probonopublico-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Hi, Bobby


I hope everything goes well with you.

Kindest regards


There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy