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aeternus , a, um, adj. contr. from aeviternus, Varr. L. L. 6, § 11 Müll., from aevum, with the termination -ternus as in sempiternus, hesternus,
I.without beginning or end, eternal (sempiternus denotes what is perpetual, what exists as long as time endures, and keeps even pace with it; aeternus, the eternal, that which is raised above all time, and can be measured only by œons (αἰῶνες, indefinite periods); “for Tempus est pars quaedam aeternitatis,Cic. Inv. 1, 27, 39. Thus the sublime thought, without beginning and end, is more vividly suggested by aeternus than by sempiternus, since the former has more direct reference to the long duration of the eternal, which has neither beginning nor end. Sempiternus is rather a mathematical, aeternus a metaphysical, designation of eternity, Doed. Syn. I. p. 3).
I. Lit.
D. Spec. of objects of nature, which the ancients regarded as stable and perpetual, everlasting, eternal: aeterna templa caeli, Poët. ap. Varr. L. L. 6, 11, p. 77 Müll.: “aeternam lampada mundi,Lucr. 5, 402: “micant aeterni sidera mundi,id. 5, 514: “aeterna domus, i. e. caelum,Cic. Rep. 6, 23: “donec veniret desiderium collium aeternorum,the everlasting hills, Vulg. Gen. 49, 26; ib. Ps. 75, 5; cf. ib. Ps. 103, 5.—
II. Meton., of indef. long time.
A. Of the future, lasting, enduring, everlasting, perpetual: “aeterni parietes,Plin. 35, 14, 49, § 172: “dehinc spero aeternam inter nos gratiam fore,Ter. Eun. 5, 2, 33: “aeternus luctus,Lucr. 3, 924: “dolor,id. 3, 1003: “vulnus,id. 2, 369; so Verg. A. 1, 36: “aerumna,Cic. Sen. 34: “mala,Verg. Cul. 130: “bellum,Cic. Cat. 4, 22: “dedecus,id. Font. 88: “imperium,id. Rab. 33; so Verg. A. 1, 230: “versūs,Lucr. 1, 121: “ignis sacerdotis,Cic. Font. 47: “gloria,id. Cat. 4, 21: “laus,id. Planc. 26: “memoria,Cic. Verr. 4, 69: “non dubitat Lentulum aeternis tenebris vinculisque mandare,id. Cat. 4, 10.—Comic.: “spero me ob hunc nuntium aeternum adepturum cibum,Plaut. Capt. 4, 1, 13. Esp. of Rome: “aeterna urbs,the Eternal City, Tib. 2, 5, 23; Ov. F. 3, 72; Cod. Th. 10, 16, 1; Symm. Ep. 3, 55; Inscr. Orell. 2, 1140.—Comp.: nec est ulli ligno aeternior natura. Plin. 14, 1, 2, § 9: “aeterniora mala,Lact. Epit. 9.—
B. Of the past, of yore, of old: “ablue corpus alluvii aeternisque sordibus squalidum,Curt. 4, 1, 22.—
III. Adv. phrases.
1. in aeter-num .
2. aeternum .
A. Lit., forever: “sedet aeternumque sedebit Infelix Theseus,Verg. A. 6, 617: “ut aeternum illum reciperes,Vulg. Phil. 15 (prob. here an adv.).—
B. Meton., of indef. long time, forever, always: “serviet aeternum,Hor. Ep. 1, 10, 41.—
C. Of what is continually repeated, constantly, again and again (as in colloq. Engl., everlastingly, eternally): “glaebaque versis Aeternum frangenda bidentibus,Verg. G. 2, 400: “ingens janitor Aeternum latrans (of Cerberus),id. A. 6, 401.—
3. aeternō , meton., of indef. long time, forever, perpetually: “viret aeterno hunc fontem igneum contegens fraxinus,Plin. 2, 107, 111, § 240: “BVSTA TVTA AETERNO MANEANT,Inscr. Orell. 4517.
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