This follows on from my prior question.

I'm working on the name for an art project concerned with physical, emotional and psychological optimisation with a view to nurturing wholesome leadership.

I like the word duco but read that it may refer more to the leadership of an army rather than the 'art of leadership'.

What is the consensus on this?

The word educo was suggested an alternative which I understood to mean I teach or I stimulate mental growth; is this accurate? Recent comments on the prior question suggest this is more aligned with the bringing up of children rather than general teaching?

Are there any other single words that spring to mind that could be more relevant to my direction?

  • There is the noun ducatus, which can mean leadership. However, I prefer the answer of @BenKovitz for the reasons stated in my comment there.
    – jon
    Jul 10, 2016 at 7:13

4 Answers 4


Duco just means "I lead," so no, it does not exactly refer to the art of leadership. It can mean a whole host of things, though, especially militarily.

Dux, for example, means "commander" or "general" (and actually we get the word duke from it), but uxorem ducere means "to marry" (literally, "to lead a wife"). It can also mean "to guide" and can be used for gods guiding mortals etc, as in Seneca's aphorism, ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt "The fates guide the willing, but drag the unwilling." That same poem Seneca asks Zeus to lead him as a parent would, Duc, o parens "Lead me, oh father." Guide is really the better term here, and there are no military connotations.

As for educo, yes, "I teach" or "I educate" are great ways to translate it. Others could be doceo (I teach, I instruct, but from where we get the word doctor, which meant a learned teacher in Latin), along with the words edoceo and erudio.

A good way for you to see the full connotations in all its uses is to check out the Lewis and Short dictionary, which you can find on Philologus. Just type in the word you want (making sure you're on the right tab) and you'll see all the very many ways the Romans used a word.


I think that duco may in fact be your best bet, because I can't think of a word in Latin that refers to the art of leadership in the way you're talking about, whereas duco could very easily encompass what you're trying to convey. It's true that duco is often used in military contexts, but part of the reason for that is that we have a lot of military writing in Latin! As @C.M.Weimer points out, there are lots of uses of duco that don't have to do with the military.

There are other words that deal with aspects of the kind of leadership you're talking about—inspiring, being an example, being wholesome, etc.—but there's no word, as far as I'm aware (though there are others much more knowledgeable than I on the site) that combines them all.

Latin actually has a very small vocabulary compared with a lot of other languages, and it ends up using a very few words to mean a lot of different things. So I think that if you go ahead with duco you'll be more than fine. It certainly isn't inconsistent with what you describe.


There are many verbs for leading: duco, rego, administro, praesum, moderor, and ducere with various prefixes.

Check a dictionary (like Numen) for detailed meanings. Prefixes often change meaning more than the prefix itself might suggest, so to figure out what induco means it is not enough to look at in and duco.

One of the possible prefixes is e- (from the preposition e or ex). The verb educere (first person singular educo) literally means to lead out, for example to lead troops out from hiding. This verb also means "to educate", but there is another verb that only means to educate: educare (first person singular also educo).1

It seems to me that duco refers to both kinds of leadership you mention. I agree with Joel Derfner: this verb is appropriate for what you want, although it also means other things. I think duco is the most appropriate verb for you.

If I simplify the meaning to leading, do you really want the title to say "I lead"? It is not hard to say "you lead", "they will lead", "we have led" or many other things in a single word if those would feel more suitable.

1 There is a difference between these two educos, though, other than coming from different verbs. The first one is ēdūcō, the second one is ēducō. A bar above a vowel indicates that the vowel is long.


I'm only a beginner with Latin, but the first thing that occurred to me as a way to express "the art of leadership" in Latin is:

ars ducendi

A quick search turned up a company in England called Ars Ducendi, which teaches leadership. Searching Google Books turned up many hits, including an 1842 commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, written in Latin, which translates στρατηγητικη as ars ducendi et regendi exercitum (the art of leading and governing an army). This book review (I think!) from 1708 mentions describing logic as ars ducendi mentem ad veritatem (the art of leading the mind to truth).

I doubt that ars ducendi was used by the ancient Romans, but it's definitely got some established usage at least in New Latin. While it's not completely soaked with military connotation, it still might not be what you're looking for. If educo fits your meaning as a verb, then perhaps this what you're looking for:

ars educendi

A quick search turns up two occurrences (also New Latin). I don't have as good a feeling for the meaning of ēdūcō. I understand it to literally mean leading something out of something, but easily taking secondary and poetic senses of leading out of something lower or unworthy or merely inactive, into action or something higher. Lewis & Short mention secondary senses of leading troops in march, assisting in childbirth, and raising a child (among others more prosaic). Wiktionary illustrates ēdūcō with this quotation from Exodus:

Ego sum Dominus Deus tuus, qui eduxi te de terra Aegypti, de domo servitutis.

I am the Lord thy God, who hath brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Jerome's Latin here seems more poetic than the KJV. If the art that you want to name is the art of leading people (metaphorically) out of the house of bondage and into the promised land, ars educendi might work, though it requires giving ēdūcō a restricted sense (which, as Joe Derfner said, is often necessary and customary due to Latin's relatively small vocabulary). Happily, the second e distinguishes it from ars educandi, the art of educating.

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can comment on the appropriateness of either of these phrases. I don't have enough exposure to Latin writings to be fully confident.

  • I agree that one should not use a verb itself to indicate the art of the verb. Also, classical Latin does not enjoy the English love of abstract nouns, so the gerund seems appropriate. And of course there's a million ars + gerund out there, so I don't see anything wrong with ars ducendi.
    – jon
    Jul 10, 2016 at 7:13

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