Latin expressions explained (11): O tempora o mores.

Latin expressions explained (11): O tempora o mores. 

This Latin phrase comes from Cicero (-106;-43), a Roman lawyer and politician. In his work The Catilinarian Orations, a collection of four speeches given while he was consul, but with the oratorical skill of a lawyer, taking as its central theme the condemnation of the conspiracy, the plot of Catiline to overthrow the Roman Senate during the time of the Republic, he denounces Catiline’s desire as well as the means used for his planned coup.

The phrase comes from the second paragraph of Cicero’s first speech regarding Catiline. O tempora o mores means « Oh the times, oh the morals », or « Other times, other customs ». This phrase is part of the denunciation of the corruption employed by Catiline to overthrow the regime.

O tempora o mores can thus have a serious or ironic character. The phrase can deplore customs different from those of the past, or ironically mock those who think everything was better before.

The elders lament the behavior of the young, O tempora o mores!

Links to Another Latin expressions explained: Latin expressions explained (10): « Asinus asinum fricat. » Latin expressions explained (9): Delenda carthago. Latin expressions explained (8): De profundis clamavi. Latin expressions explained (7): acta fabula est. Latin expressions explained (6): ultima ratio regum. Latin expression explained (5): vis comica. Latin expressions explained: Per fas et nefas. Latin expressions explained (3): Fluctuat nec mergitur. Latin expressions explained: « Cujus regio, ejus religio ». Latin expressions explained: summun jus, summa injuria.

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