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Cave canem

Classic Language

Meaning of Cave canem
The English meaning and translation of the Latin phrase "Cave canem" is as follows:

 "Beware of the dog"

Definition of Cave canem
The meaning and definition of this famous Latin expression relates to a warning sign to indicate that the premises has a dog guarding the premises. The Latin 'Cave canem' is no longer used on signs and has been replaced by the simple term 'Beware of the dog." In English law this term does not relieve the owner of responsibility for any harm caused.

Cave canem


History of "Cave canem"
The roots of the Latin expression "Cave canem" lay with the language of the ancient Romans. The most famous example of this phrase has survived in the ruins of Pompeii. At the entrance to one of the houses is a mosaic of a vicious looking dog, tethered by a chain, with the words "Cave canem" beneath the mosaic image.

The house is known as the "House of Tragic Poet or Casa del Poeta Tragico" situated on the Vicolo della Fullonica in Pompeii. The name of the house was given its name due to another mosaic that depicts the Poet and his troupe of actors rehearsing a Tragic play. Other houses in Ancient Rome had pictures of similar dogs with the sign painted on their walls.

Classic Motto and Proverb


Cave canem
The Romans used the Molossian breed of dog to guard their property that were trained to sleep indoors during the day and keep watch at night. The sign Cave canem was necessary as these dogs werer trained to kill. The molossus dogs were used in the arena to fight lions, tigers and even elephants and was used by the army as a fighting dog against their enemies. It is no wonder that the sign "Cave canem" was used so often in the private homes of Romans!

Signs stating 'Beware of the dog' rather than 'Cave canem' are used in properties that have dangerous guard dogs such as Dobermanns, Rottweilers, Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, Bull Terriers and German Shepherds.


Cave canem

Definition of famous Latin expression and phrase
Cave canem means "Beware of the dog"
Simple translation of this famous Latin phrase
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Definition of "Cave canem"
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Classic Motto and Proverb


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