While shopping for Gold online, I've come across this coin which is engraved with the following writings:

ens causa sui and ex unitae vires

Now, you would think a quick online search would return a mostly direct translation of ens causa sui but it appears there are many ever so slightly different interpretations of the meanings which has yet to give me the certainty of what it really means.

This is the coin from the movie John Wick. Perhaps this could add more context to it?


The second motto is an embarrassing typo for a similar phrase. Ex Unitate Vires literally means, "From Unity, Strength."

"Ex unitae vires" doesn't make any grammatical sense. Why someone would impress such a solecism on 1 oz of gold, without checking for typos, is beyond my ability to comprehend.

"Ens causa sui" means, "A being [that is] the cause of itself." The vocabulary is scholastic, but I don't think it is a direct reference. Thomas Aquinas does not speak of God as a "causa sui," but rather as an "uncaused cause." He does, however, speak of "freedom" as a kind of self-causation.

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    That Aquinas did not speak of God as causa sui may be so, but Spinoza sure did ;-) The specific phrasing Ens causa sui seems to be mostly associated with Sartre, judging by Google Books, though I would have guessed it is older. – Sebastian Koppehel Sep 11 at 20:46
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    I am still wrapping my mind around the fact there is a typo on that coin... – suchislife Sep 12 at 12:04
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    @suchislife: You won't be buying it, then? – tony Sep 12 at 15:56
  • @suchislife Coins (and stamps, for that matter) with typos have been coined on purpose before. It can give them added value due to rarity. – Rafael Sep 12 at 21:52
  • The John Wick universe has more wild Latin by the way. – Sebastian Koppehel Sep 12 at 22:26

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