The motto of King's College is "Sancte et Sapiente", which is translated "With Holiness and Wisdom". Am I correct in understanding that two of the three words are adverbs, so a literal translation would be "holy-ly and wisely"? Could someone legitimately claim that "sapiente" is in the ablative ("with wisdom")?


1 Answer 1


The actual motto of the coat of arms, as indicated on their website and Wikipedia, is "sancte et sapienter" (with an "r" at the end).

These are the standard adverbial forms of sanctus ("holy," from sancio) and sapiens ("wise", from sapio). Both adverbial forms are listed at the bottom of the linked Lewis & Short entries.

Literally, it means:

In a holy way ("holily"?) and wisely

More idiomatically:

With holiness and wisdom

Searching for sancte et sapiente (without the r) shows scattered results from poor quality sites about the motto of King's College London as well as a university in Liberia. These are mistakes, though: sapiente could be ablative, but it would be the ablative of the adjective sapiens, meaning "[with a] wise one." You would need to put sapientiā for something that could plausibly be translated, "with wisdom."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.