Latin, "a god has made these comforts for us," Deus haec nobis otia fecit is the motto of the city of Liverpool in England. It is found in the Eclogues 1:6, the ancient Roman poet Virgil's collection of pastoral poems.

The phrase is often translated instead "God has given us these days of leisure," or "God has bestowed these blessings on us." These are poor translations; the Latin verb facio, facere concerns the making, doing, and establishing of things, but not the giving of those things. The noun otium is also not intrinsically positive or benign in its connotation; as much as it means "leisure," it also refers to the specific abstention from duty's ennobling, necessary tasks in service to the city and her people. For Liverpool's purposes, the term is clearly understood to mean peacetime, rather than avoidance of work. The University of Liverpool demonstrates this through the use of a parallel motto: Haec otia studia fovent, "These comforts foster learning."

In the Eclogues, the line is spoken by the shepherd Tityrus to his fellow shepherd and friend Meliboeus, who tend their flocks in the countryside while discussing the way their fortunes have fared by departing the city and settling down to a bucolic and unassuming life away from urban politics and strife. In the previous stanza, Meliboeus expresses feeling like a desolate outcast for leaving the city, and in the stanza featuring this line, Tityrus insensitively informs his friend that he is delighted to have the life he has now, and that he is in fact lucky to be alive in light of the circumstance which drove him to flee the city. The "god" to whom Tityrus refers is actually a human man who facilitated his safe escape from economic debt and the city itself. Whether the city authorities of Liverpool were aware of this at the time of establishing the motto is left for the reader to speculate for their own entertainment.

Iron Noder 2018, 27/30

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