Navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse

May 18, 2006

vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est

[Scyld filled the North with grain, the sea with ships]

“Pompey …….. was ready to start on his voyage home, (when) a great storm arose upon the sea, and the captains of the ships were reluctant to set sail. But he led the way himself and ordered them to weigh anchor, shouting out to them: “We have to sail, we do not have to live“. So, with good fortune assisting his own daring and energy, he filled the sea with ships and the markets with grain. In fact he provided so much of it that there was a surplus left over for the use of people outside Italy, the supply overflowing, as it were from a welling fountain, in all directions.”

This was in 56 B.C. Although Plutarch’s text is in Greek, Pompey presumably spoke Latin. Apparently the Latin version, something like navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse, first appeared during the Middle Ages. According to Büchmann the form navigare est necesse, vivere necesse non est occurs in Antonius Tudertinus’ translation [of Plutarch presumably], Venice, 1478.

Some say the quote served as motto of the Hanseatic League (which operated during the late Middle Ages), which statement appears to be founded on its decorating the gate – around a century ago, at any rate – of the ‘Marine Building’ in the German city of Bremen.

Fumagalli states that Mussolini, at a conference on aeronautics in Rome in 1923, modified it to volare necesse est.

According to a Dutch dictionary of quotations the phrase also serves as the motto of Rotterdam (which was not a Hanseatic city).

quoted from:



One Response to “Navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse”

  1. Sailing is need
    Navegar é Preciso

    Older browsers had a glorious phrase:
    Navegadores antigos tinham uma frase gloriosa:

    “Navigating is necessary, living is not accurate.”
    “Navegar é preciso; viver não é preciso”.

    I want to me the spirit of this phase, transformed the way for marriage as I am:
    Quero para mim o espírito [d]esta frase, transformada a forma para a casar como eu sou:

    Living is not necessary, what is needed is to create.
    Viver não é necessário; o que é necessário é criar.

    I do not count in enjoy my life, nor enjoy it I think.
    Não conto gozar a minha vida; nem em gozá-la penso.

    I just want to make it big,
    Só quero torná-la grande,

    even though it has to be my body and (my soul) of the wood fire.
    ainda que para isso tenha de ser o meu corpo e a (minha alma) a lenha desse fogo.

    I just want to make it to all mankind;
    though to have to lose it like my own. Increasingly, well napkin.
    Só quero torná-la de toda a humanidade;
    ainda que para isso tenha de a perder como minha. Cada vez mais assim penso.

    Increasingly put the essence of my soul blood impersonal purpose of enhancing the nation and contribute to the evolution of humanity.
    Cada vez mais ponho da essência anímica do meu sangue o propósito impessoal de engrandecer a pátria e contribuir para a evolução da humanidade.

    It is the way that I took in the mysticism of our race.
    É a forma que em mim tomou o misticismo da nossa Raça

    I do not if the translation is good. But it´s my favorite poem. In Portuguese is wonderful.

    It´s from Fernando Pessoa, he was asked to write a poem to motivate the army for war in Portugal.

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