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A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
November 6, 2009 7:34 AM   Subscribe

The Gecko Wears A Tiara [via mefi projects] Sumarian proverbs. Compare those with the 1600BCE Ashubanipal proverbs and Proverbs From the Ancient Egyptian Temples and indeed, modern Iraq and Arabic more generally. Enjoy, culture geeks.

Added bonus proverb pages: Aboriginal Australian proverbs, Afghan proverbs, African proverbs, Albanian proverbs, Altay proverbs, American proverbs, Arabic proverbs, Aramaic proverbs, Armenian proverbs, Azerbaijani proverbs, Balochi proverbs, Basque Proverbs, Bauernregeln (humorous), Bengali proverbs, Bhutanese proverbs, Bible Proverbs, Bosnian proverbs, Breton proverbs, Bulgarian proverbs, Cambodian Proverbs, Catalan proverbs, Proverbs commonly attributed to be Chinese, Chinese proverbs, Corsican proverbs, Croatian proverbs, Cypriot proverbs, Czech proverbs, Danish proverbs, Dominican proverbs, Dutch proverbs, Egyptian proverbs, English proverbs, Faroese proverbs, Filipino proverbs, Finnish proverbs, French proverbs, Frisian proverbs, Galician proverbs, German proverbs, Proverbs from the game of Go, Greek proverbs, Gypsy (Romani) proverbs, Haitian proverbs, Hebraic proverbs, Hindi proverbs, Honduran proverbs, Hungarian proverbs, Icelandic proverbs, Indian proverbs, Indonesian proverbs, Ingush proverbs, Irish proverbs, Italian proverbs, Japanese proverbs, Jewish proverbs, Kannada proverbs, Kashmiri proverbs, Khakas proverbs, Klingon proverbs, Korean proverbs, Kurdish proverbs, Latin proverbs, Latvian proverbs, Macedonian proverbs, Malay proverbs, Malayalam proverbs, Maltese proverbs, Manx proverbs, Maori proverbs, Mesopotamian Proverbs, Mexican proverbs, Mongolian proverbs, Native American proverbs, Nepal Bhasa proverbs, Nepali Proverbs, Nigerian proverbs, Norwegian proverbs, Pakistani proverbs, Pashto proverbs, Persian proverbs, Polish proverbs, Portuguese proverbs, Proverbs, Punjabi proverbs, Romanian proverbs, Russian proverbs, Russian proverbs from the USSR, Sanskrit proverbs, Scanian proverbs, Scottish Gaelic proverbs, Scottish proverbs, Serbian proverbs, Sinhala proverbs, Slovak proverbs, Spanish proverbs, Swahili proverbs, Swedish proverbs, Swiss proverbs, Tamil proverbs, Telugu proverbs, Thai proverbs, Tuareg proverbs, Turkish proverbs, Tywa proverbs, Urdu proverbs, Venezuelan proverbs, Vietnamese proverbs, Vulcan proverbs, Welsh proverbs, Yiddish proverbs, Yoruba proverbs, Zen proverbs.
posted by jaduncan (32 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was about to be impressed, but you just posted the contents of Category:Proverbs.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:42 AM on November 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


¡Le zumba al mango!
posted by jquinby at 7:46 AM on November 6, 2009


you just posted the contents of Category:Proverbs.

To be fair, at least this list is formatted less helpfully.
posted by DU at 7:59 AM on November 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


From within a tree, a spoon. Who is it?

These are great. Need to send them to my friends so we can go around quoting the funny ones ad nauseum.
posted by ropeladder at 7:59 AM on November 6, 2009


Zulu Proverb:
Copying everyone else all the time, the monkey one day cut his throat.
posted by Kabanos at 8:01 AM on November 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Thou shalt always FILTER!
posted by dhruva at 8:05 AM on November 6, 2009


From the first link about Sumerian proverbs...

Than again, Sumeria was what we now call Iraq, so take that wisdom with a grain of salt.

I don't get it.
posted by Harry at 8:05 AM on November 6, 2009


"Bread is the boat, water is the punt-pole" doesn't seem that hard to interpret. We have practically the same saying in English: "Bread is the staff of life."
posted by DU at 8:11 AM on November 6, 2009


"Bread is the boat, water is the punt-pole" doesn't seem that hard to interpret. We have practically the same saying in English: "Bread is the staff of life."

True, but it sounds much dirtier the first way.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:14 AM on November 6, 2009


"Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband's embrace." It's funny cos it's true.

"My mongoose, which used to eat strong-smelling food, can no longer stretch its neck even towards a jar of ghee." And I think we all know that feeling.
posted by communicator at 8:19 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Really like the Sumerian Proverbs, but there is another bit of wisdom that is applicable to your post:

"More is not always better."
posted by MasonDixon at 8:20 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


My favorite proverbs are all in English As She Is Spoke.
"Keep the chestnut of the fire with the cat foot."
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:27 AM on November 6, 2009


Yeah, sorry about that. If the mods want to edit out the extended bit it's fine with me.
posted by jaduncan at 8:48 AM on November 6, 2009


What exactly is the Gardener doing with his hair anyway?
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


>>Than again, Sumeria was what we now call Iraq, so take that wisdom with a grain of salt.
I don't get it.


Hmm, I thought that was clear. What I meant was, if you look at the state of Iraq today, the inhabitants thereof are not demonstrating a great deal of wisdom in conducting their affairs. (Yes, the US blew up their already messed system and it got yet far worse. But unless you're a true believer in Baathism, it's hard to paint Saddam's Iraq as a model.)

In general, long cultural histories seem to be more of a burden than a boon to the running of a nation (think Egypt, Iraq, China, India, Italy.) Conversely, the US's clean slate may be one of it's most important advantages.
posted by msalt at 9:17 AM on November 6, 2009


The Whelk: What exactly is the Gardener doing with his hair anyway?

I think the idea is that he smells good.

Also, unrelated pro-tip, and I make this mistake all the time, in English the region Sumerians come from is called Sumer, not Sumeria
posted by Kattullus at 9:22 AM on November 6, 2009


What exactly is the Gardener doing with his hair anyway?

Plowing, apparently.
posted by msalt at 9:26 AM on November 6, 2009


Also, the wikiquote page on Icelandic proverbs is full of jokes. Jokes whose humor rests on them sounding like proverbs, but jokes none the less. For example, enginn er verri þótt hann sé perri is a joke version of actual proverb enginn er verri þótt hann vökni, which is an actual proverb, meaning "no one is worse for the wear just for getting wet." The joke version means "no one is worse just for being a pervert." The one about pissing in your shoe is an actual proverb, though.

I wouldn't be surprised that other wikiquote proverb pages have similar problems.
posted by Kattullus at 9:27 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


What would one do with a big one that needs to be searched for, if there is a small one that is already in one's hands?

Ha!
posted by ferdinandcc at 9:28 AM on November 6, 2009


Kattullus: "The joke version means "no one is worse just for being a pervert." The one about pissing in your shoe is an actual proverb, though."

I'm sorry, you have to go on.
posted by boo_radley at 9:55 AM on November 6, 2009


There's an Icelandic proverb that goes "að pissa í skóinn er skammgóður vermir" which translates too, roughly "pissing in your shoe won't keep you warm for long."

In olden times that was very practical advice when walking around Iceland.
posted by Kattullus at 9:59 AM on November 6, 2009


But unless you're a true believer in Baathism, it's hard to paint Saddam's Iraq as a model.)

At the risk of a derail, what you're saying is we should probably blow off thousands of years of cultural history and wisdom because of a system of government created about 40 years ago? Makes perfect sense to me.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:39 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


so what you're saying is we should probably blow off thousands of years of cultural history and wisdom because of a system of government created about 40 years ago?

Dude, I'm the one who wrote The Gecko Wears A Tiara (I posted it to Projects and someone else posted it here.) Of course I don't think we should blow off cultural history and wisdom.

I'm just observing that what's a great thing for mankind generally doesn't appear to be so helpful for the particular nation. It's like the oil curse or something.
Or maybe the rich cultural history makes the corruption, ancient feuds, ossified social structure etc. worthwhile. I don't know.
posted by msalt at 11:02 AM on November 6, 2009


The Sumerian sayings are just.friggin.awesome. Gonna start using them. TLDR the rest. I'll get to it eventually.
posted by Xoebe at 11:23 AM on November 6, 2009


Ok. Sorry, I'm grumpy today. Also, we seem to like to bomb places with "rich cultural history" so probably it's not that good a thing to have.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:54 AM on November 6, 2009


PS and your project is awesome, msalt.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:54 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only 19 Jewish proverbs and not all of them technically proverbs? Color me unimpressed.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 12:32 PM on November 6, 2009


What are some good Jewish proverbs?
posted by kathrineg at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2009


After a quick google, this website claims to have 127 Jewish proverbs. It's my understanding that the Bible has even more.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 1:43 PM on November 6, 2009


Great, I've happened to read the bible (I noticed there is an entire chapter called "Proverbs"). What I want to know about are proverbs that are actually used by modern-day Jewish people. Your comment led me to believe that you knew of some. If not, no big deal.
posted by kathrineg at 4:30 PM on November 6, 2009


I don't need any proverbs, I'll just sit here alone and uneducated, you go do your thing, it's more important.
posted by The Whelk at 4:36 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Qualities of a moral order are measured by deeds.

Ouch.
posted by ersatz at 1:59 AM on November 7, 2009


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