facilis descensus Averno

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Latin[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Literally "The descent to Avernus is easy." From Virgil's Aeneid, with reference to Avernus, a metonym for the underworld and to Lake Avernus in Italy, a volcanic crater lake reputed to emit deadly vapors.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈfa.ki.lis deːsˈken.sus aˈu̯er.noː/, [ˈfäkɪlʲɪs̠ d̪eːs̠ˈkẽːs̠ʊs̠ äˈu̯ɛɾnoː]
  • (Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /ˈfa.t͡ʃi.lis deˈʃen.sus aˈver.no/, [ˈfɑːt͡ʃilis d̪ɛˈʃɛnsus ɑˈvɛrnɔ]

Proverb[edit]

facilis dēscensus Avernō

  1. The path to hell is easy.
    • 29-19 B.C.E.Virgil, Aeneis, Book VI, lines 124-127
      Talibus orabat dictis, arasque tenebat,
      cum sic orsa loqui vates: "Sate sanguine divom,
      Tros Anchisiade, facilis descensus Averno;
      noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis;"
      Then thus replied the prophetess divine:
      "O goddess-born of great Anchises' line,
      The gates of hell are open night and day;
      Smooth the descent, and easy is the way:
      (loose translation by John Dryden, 1697)