The Latin meaning of the word carpe diem, which allows the day to be translated and the day to be translated, goes back to the Ode An Leukonoë, which by the ancient poet Horaz, Chr was written. In the last verse of the Odestrophe the well-known word sequence is found. This represents an appeal to enjoy the scarce lifetime and not to postpone tomorrow. The saying has become the winged word and is partly also used as a day. This translation, however, does not fully meet Horace’s intention with the words carpe diem.
Horace (65 BC – 8 BC), actually Quintus Horatius Flaccus, is considered as one of the most significant poets of the Augustan era, alongside Vergil, Properz, Tibull and Ovid. Horace’s artistic work includes numerous odes, several satires, and several epigraphs, which have become known as epistles. In the works there are many twists, which are now winged words (see sapere aude, in medias res).
Horaz also writes four lyric books, published as Liber I-IV, with a total of 104 poems, which are called Carmina. The eleventh poem of the first book, that is Carmen I, 11, is the Ode An Leukonoë, whose last verse in the original looks as follows:
[…] carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
This line can be enjoyed with the day, and trust as little as possible to the following! translate. The whole can be interpreted as an appeal to live one’s own life at the moment and not to think about the morning, while always looking at the positive aspects of life. What is essential here is that the verb carpe basically means picking, that is to say, it can only be interpreted as enjoyment in the transcendent sense.
At this point, the difference to the word use becomes clear. For whoever enjoys the day makes this work with joy and well-being. But if you use something, make it as effective as possible and try to achieve a certain goal. Whoever uses something to achieve a goal does not live in the moment, but thinks of the following. This would, however, contradict Horace’s intention.
Original, Carmen I, 11
Carpe diem and the Baroque
Baroque is a period of European art history, which lasted from about 1575 to 1770. The Baroque spread throughout Italy from Italy, with three motifs of transience, Vanitas, Memento mori and Carpe diem.
Vanitas, which can be translated with void semblance or voidness, is a word which stands for the transitoriness of the earth, with the main point being that man has no power over life. Frequently this motif is shown by a strong pictoriality, such as the representation of deadly skulls or hourglasses, or indirectly expressed by naming.
Memento mori, a word sequence that means that you must die, resumes the basic thoughts of the transient. Here, too, one’s own death is at the center, and the reminder that all earthly things will pass away. The transience of life is therefore also taken up by the words, which is why the last motif of that time is only a logical consequence.
Carpe Diem! For if everything is impermanent, so that one’s life is not in the power of man, he must live in the here and now, in the moment, and enjoy the day, and not to care about the morning. The motifs of the baroque are, therefore, all appeals to mankind to enjoy the moment and to experience the present in its fullness.
Short overview: The most important thing about the Latin saying
Carpe diem is a Latin word sequence, which goes back to the ancient poet Horace and allows the day to be translated with the help of picking. In a transcendental sense, the whole can be interpreted as enjoyment the day, while the long-term translation takes advantage of the day in part by the intention of the poet, since enjoyment is no longer the focus.
The Latin saying was particularly popular in the Baroque, an epoch of European art history and, together with Vanitas and Memento mori, formed the central motifs of the time. These motifs can clearly be seen in the literary products of the epoch, for example in the sonnets Andreas Gryphius, as well as in art.
The linguistic counterpart to carpe diem forms the phrase carpe noctem. This saying can be done with picking or enjoying the night translate. This word sequence has no correspondence in the literature, but derives only from the phrase carpe diem.
Hint: In Horaz, by the way, there are still many other expressions in Latin, such as the terms in medias res or abovo, the narrative techniques mine as well as the familiar sapere aude, which became the leitmotiv of the Enlightenment.