Why do we say "Where there's life there's hope.

Well-Known Expressions

Where there's life there's hope

Meaning:

So long as there are signs of life, don't give up

Background:

Modo liceat vivere, est spes
While there's life, there's hope
- Heauton Timorumenos (The Self-Tormentor) by Publius Terentius Afer

Comic playwright Publius Terentius Afer, known as Terence, died in 159 B.C. at about 30 years of age having written six plays, all of which have survived. Terence was brought to Rome from Africa as a slave by the Roman senator Terentius Lucanus, who educated him and, later, impressed by his abilities, freed him. This quote comes from Heauton Timorumenos which, scholars believe, was either his second or third play. There is some debate as to whether Terence originated this play or translated it in all or part from a play of the same name by Greek playwrite Menander who died in 290 BC. Menander wrote over a hundred comedies but his version of Heauton Timorumenos has survived only in part.

Sometime later, Roman orator and statesman Cicero (106-43 BC) is quoted as saying: Aegroto, dum anima est, spes esse dicitur (It is said that for a sick man, there is hope as long as there is life), which was translated into English by biblical scholar Richard Taverner as part of his collection of proverbs in 1539. It is also noted in English naturalist John Ray's collection in 1670.

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