Per Intellectum, Vis

What would you fix? Trying to come up with a theme / catchphrase for a family event. I want to signify respect for education, the scientific method and observation.


1 Answer 1


Intellectus means "understanding." I think it's a fine enough phrase, but personally I'd go with something a bit more idiomatic. You could do:

  • Vis per mentem, "strength through the mind"

Mens is often used as metonymy for the "intellect." Cf. Juvenal's mens sana in corpore sano.

You could also do something like in scientia or in eruditione, though they don't sound as snappy.

More problematic is vis, which is most often physical strength or even violence. For a more general strength, you could do something like:

  • fortior per mentem

Here fortior means "stronger", and the phrase would correlate the use of mens with becoming fortis, "strong."

Finally, if you're thinking about political strength (which, I suspect, you're not, since it's for a family event), you could substitute potestas for vis.

Ultimately, though, I'd rest with:

Fortior per mentem

Even then context matters, as it could, literally, mean "stronger throughout the mind," though I myself kind of like the double meaning there.

  • 1
    +1. One thing to note though is that fortior is masculine singular, and if the phrase isn't referring to a single male person it may not be suitable. ("substitute vis for potestas" --> "substitute potestas for vis"?) Btw I think the "physical strength" sense of vis is mainly in the plural -- the singular for more abstract "force" seems fine to me.
    – TKR
    Mar 14, 2017 at 23:49
  • 1
    @TKR Fortior is both masculine and feminine.
    – cmw
    Mar 14, 2017 at 23:51
  • Oops, you're right of course. But still referring to a single person, or at least a single entity -- if the referent is a family, I would think fortiores is better.
    – TKR
    Mar 14, 2017 at 23:52
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    @TKR True, fortiores would be good if there is an implied nos, i.e. if the family is working together, though there could also be an implied "each," which would also work for multiple people and keep the singular. I'd chalk it up to style. Interestingly, the Romans often used a collective singular where we would often use a plural. And then there is the poetic plural, where we would use a singular!
    – cmw
    Mar 14, 2017 at 23:55

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