Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find a phrase below, in one ancient language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

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Vacate Et Scire


Be still and know.

This Latin phrase is the motto of the University of Sussex. It originates from the Latin translation of the Book of Psalms. However, this issue is not without some confusion:

In an English translation of the Bible, you find the phrase in Psalm 46:

Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

In the Latin Vulgate, however, the Psalms are numbered slightly differently. The Vulgate gives us this phrase (kind of) in Psalm 45:

Psalmi 45:10-12: 10 auferens bella usque ad finem terrae. Arcum conteret, et confringet arma, et scuta comburet igni. 11 Vacate, et videte quoniam ego sum Deus; exaltabor in gentibus, et exaltabor in terra. 12 Dominus virtutum nobiscum; susceptor noster Deus Jacob.

The Latin school motto is not there! Maybe the university thought this translation was better.