Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.


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Status quo - 'the state in which'

 
Status quo

The Wikipedia article begins as follows:

In 19th-century diplomatic Latin, the original sentence was in statu quo res erant ante bellum "the state things were before the war". This gave rise to the shorter form status quo ante bellum "the state that it was before the war", indicating the withdrawal of enemy troops and restoration of power to prewar leadership, as well as other variations, such as status quo itself.

The phrase actually appears in various sources prior to the 19th century, including this book: Macdonnel, David Evans. A dictionary of quotations, in most frequent use. Taken from the Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian languages; translated into English. London, 1797:

Status quo. Lat. -- "The state in which", or status quo ante bellum. -- The state in which both parties were before the war. This is used in speaking of belligerent powers when they agree, as a preliminary to peace, to restore their conquests, to return to that condition in which the parties respectively stood before the commencement of hostilities.


So, it appears that the phrase was well known before the 19th century. This makes sense, because in the 19th century French, not Latin, was the language of diplomacy. If I have to guess, it must have been early 18th century that gave birth to this phrase. Also, there is no reason to believe that the original phrase had the ablative, 'in statu', as Wiki suggests. I don't know if I will bother to make any changes on Wikipedia, however. For now, let the status quo remain. :)
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