Here is another edition in my series of Top 10 Quotes. In this rendition of The Top 10, I will be analyzing the best patriotic Latin & Greek sayings:
- Molon Labe – “Come And Get Them”
This saying, undoubtedly my favorite on this list, is a classical expression of dissent. Molon Labe is ancient Greek; translating to “come and take them.” It was uttered by King Leonidas I, the leader of the Spartans to Xerxes I, to the leader of the Achaemenid Empire when the Spartans were told to surrender their weapons. It’s equivalent to the “Come And Take It” flag, which as a Native Texan is both my favorite flag and saying of all time, was flown by the Texan colonists during the Texas Revolution in 1836. Molon Labe (pronounced “Mow-lawn Lah-bey”) represents strength and pride.
2. Semper fidelis – “Always Faithful”
This saying is arguably one of the most well known on this list. Semper fidelis, commonly referred to as Semper fi, translates to “always faithful” or “always loyal.” Its first recorded use was in 1369, as the motto of a French town named Abbeville. The USMC adopted the saying as their motto in 1883. Semper Fi!
3. Audemus jura nostra defendere – “We Dare to Defend Our Rights”
This one is the state motto of Alabama and depicted on its Coat of Arms as well. The motto was created in 1923 (a little too recent for this list, but we’re keeping it anyway), and officially adopted for use in 1939. Standing up and defending freedom is the basis on which America was founded and a state motto such as this one deserves its place on its list.
4. Aut viam inveniam aut faciam – “I will either find a way or make one.”
Number four is attributed to Hannibal, one of the most famous military commanders in history. When he was told that there was no possible path to cross the Alps with elephants, he responded with this phrase. In addition to appearing on several emblems, the quote is written in the first person on an iron arch over the class of 1893 memorial gate at the University of Pennsylvania. The famous words of the Carthaginian general symbolize determination, perseverance, and the unwillingness to back down in the face of adversity.
5. Non timebo mala – “I will fear no evil.”
This quote is a reference to Psalm 23; a psalm of David. The full sentence in the psalm reads, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” In order to defeat the evils of the world, we must be able to evade the fear of their existence. It shows defiance and resilience.
6. Aut cum scuto aut in scuto – “Either with the shield or on the shield”
Number six is a well known Greek expression that Spartan mothers’ said to their sons as they left for battle. The message was that the soldiers either returned with their shields as victors, or they died on the battlefield. In the Spartan Empire, abandoning one’s shield was equivalent to deserting the army. After many centuries, the quote was eventually shortened to “with it or on it.”
In the time period around 350 BC, King Philip II, from Macedon, was heavily invading Greece. He then turned his attention to Sparta, where he sent them the message: “If I win this war, you will be slaves forever.” The Spartans sent back a one-word reply: “If.” Due to the Spartan’s resilience, King Philip II never brought his army into the city. This saying speaks for itself.
King Philip tried once more to psych-out the Spartans. As he expanded his power through Greece, he sent a letter to the Spartan king asking if the Spartans wanted Philip to enter their land as a friend or an enemy. His response was simple: “neither.” Yet again, the Spartans showed their prowess with one-word replies.
9. Non ducor, duco – “I am not led, I Iead”
This saying is the motto of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In this translation, it is a statement that represents self-reliance and strength.
10. Vincit qui se vincit – “He conquers who conquers himself.”
The final phrase on this list is taken from Publilius Syrus, a Latin writer from the 1st century BC. The implication is that the person who overcomes weakness and struggles while controlling and maintaining composure will win life’s most important battles.
Other installments: The 10 Best Ronald Reagan Quotes
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.