Veni, vidi, vici. You’ve most likely heard the phrase—or that English counterpart, “I came, ns saw, i conquered”—before. However where did together a phrase come from? Why are civilization still speak it today?

In this article, we’ll cover what the expression means, its historic context, and why it’s still commonly said today.

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What walk Veni, Vidi, Vici Mean?

Veni, vidi, vici is a Latin phrase that literally equates to “I came, ns saw, ns conquered." Latin doesn’t call for individual pronouns, as each native is conjugated indigenous the “to be” kind (“Venire, videre, vincere”) to the first-person singular perfect indicative active form.

To break that under a little, “first-person singular” describes the fact that the topic is “I,” while “perfect indicative active” way that the activity the topic performed emerged earlier 보다 the current time. Therefore, “veni, vidi, vici” converts to “I came, i saw, ns conquered,” in spite of only being 3 words long. since English doesn’t wrinkles its subjects right into its verbs, the expression is a tiny longer in English.

Because there are multiple develops of Latin, the phrase can be pronounced various ways. In Ecclesiastical Latin, the form typically supplied by the roman inn Catholic Church, it would certainly be pronounced veh-nee, vee-dee, vee-kee or veh-nee, vee-dee, vee-chee. Other variations the Latin, such as Classical, Late, or Vulgar, would have pronounced the phrase differently. It’s thought that Julius Caesar, that is the phrase’s originator, probably would have actually pronounced the weh-nee, wee-dee, wee-kee based on linguistic conventions the the time.


What Is the history of Veni, Vidi, Vici?

As previously mentioned, Julius Caesar to be the human being who make “Veni, vidi, vici,” such a famous phrase. The leader of Rome was recognized for composing down his wartime experiences, and, follow to multiple old Roman writers, he’s the resource of the quote.

To find out why, we need to go all the way back to around 50 BCE. Native 60 come 53 BCE, Julius Caesar, Crassus, and also Pompey rule Rome together the very first Triumvirate. All three were significant Roman political leaders who aimed come circumvent Rome"s governmental system of checks and balances, which to be in ar to prevent any type of one male from gaining too much power. Though each was mainly acting in his own interests, the three were able to attain many of their an individual goals through mutual aid, trade favors between them until they efficiently ruled Rome.

However, the first Triumvirate might not last. Caesar had actually married turn off his daughter, Julia, to Pompey, but her death in 53 BCE supposed there was little to prevent the 2 ambitious leaders from feuding. When Crassus passed away in 53 BCE, the alliance dissolved and also Pompey and Caesar began outwardly fighting in the senate, grappling for power on their own terms.

Pompey, along with all but two members the the senate, demanded that Caesar disband his army and end his term together governor. Caesar refused and also led his army toward Rome, provoking a civil war.

Fearing capture, Pompey and also his Consul fled Rome. Caesar pursued him, defeating his pressures in Spain and also Greece.Caesarwas ultimately appointed Dictator, butresigned after simply 11 days.

In 48 BCE, Caesar was once again appointed dictator however left Rome soon after to chase Pompey come Egypt. By the time he come there, Pompey was currently dead—Ptolemy XIII, then ruler of Egypt, hope to court Caesar’s approval and also armies in his war versus his sister, Cleopatra VII.

However, the plan backfired. Horrified, Caesar sided through Cleopatra and also the two ended up being lovers. Together, they aimed come take back Egypt together and also in 47 BCE, Caesar and Cleopatra beat Ptolemy’s forces.

Having finished his work in Egypt, Caesar collection out to go back to Rome, stopping to conquer Zela ~ above the way. Seizing ~ above the chaos ~ Caesar’s victories versus Pompey, Pharnaces, that ruled the Cimmerian Bosporus, had aimed to reclaim his father’s previous lands in Asia Minor, now recognized as Turkey. The recaptured some parts of Bithynia and Pontus, which attractive Caesar’s attention. Though his military had been depleted, Caesar led his troops towards Pontus to recuperate the land.

Pharnaces i agree to send to Caesar’s demands, i m sorry were the he would certainly leave Pontus and also return his loot. However, contrary to Pharnaces’ expectations, Caesar walk not immediately leave Pontus—he felt that Pharnaces was moving too slowly, and also decided to use force.

Though account of the fight vary, Caesar’s smaller military overcame Pharnaces’. According come Greek historian Appian, Caesar composed “Veni, vidi, vici,” in his report that the battle, referring to his rapid defeat of Pharnaces. Plutarch’s account agrees the Caesar created the words in a letter come the senate. Suetonius doesn"t point out a letter to the senate, but does insurance claim that Caesar’s procession included the words during the triumph the Pontus.


Why Is Veni, Vidi, Vici such a popular Saying?

The most basic explanation because that why veni, vidi, vici is a famous saying is the it comes from Julius Caesar, among history’s most renowned figures, and has a simple, strong meaning: I’m powerful and fast.

But the not simply the definition that renders the expression so powerful. Caesar to be a gifted writer, and the expression makes usage of Latin grammar come be specifically catchy. Every native starts through the same sound, attributes the very same cadence, and also ends v the exact same rhyme, make it simple to remember—and since the expression itself is brief, it mimics Caesar’s victory.

Because that short and catchy, the been adopted and parodied transparent history. Some of the most renowned adaptations the veni, vidi, vici and also its English translate into are:

King january III the Poland said, ~ the fight of Vienna, “We came, we saw, God conquered.”Handel’s Giulio Cesare, an opera that opens with, “Curio, Cesare venne, e vide e vinse,” or “Curio, Caesar came, saw, and also conquered.”Hillary Clinton in 2011, who said, of Muammar Gaddafi’s death, “We came, we saw, that died.”Jay Z, in “Encore,” says, “I came, i saw, i conquered.”The Hives have actually an album named “Veni Vidi Vicious.”

What’s Next?

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