Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one 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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αἰὲν ἀριστεύειν
aièn aristeúein


Ever to excel

This phrase derives originally from Homer and has become the motto of many educational institutions. From wiki:

The phrase is derived from the sixth book of Homer‘s Iliad, in which it is used in a speech Glaucus delivers to Diomedes. During a battle between the Greeks and Trojans, Diomedes is impressed by the bravery of a mysterious young man and demands to know his identity. Glaucus replies: “Hippolochus begat me. I claim to be his son, and he sent me to Troy with strict instructions: Ever to excel, to do better than others, and to bring glory to your forebears, who indeed were very great … This is my ancestry; this is the blood I am proud to inherit.”

The phrase has been used as the motto of a number of schools and universities, mainly in the United Kingdom, notably the University of St Andrews, but also in the United States and Canada. These include schools such as Caistor Grammar School, the Edinburgh Academy, Kelvinside Academy and Old Scona Academic High School, as well as universities such as Boston College. It is also the motto of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff. The finnish Esports organization ENCE Esports used the phrase as a part of their original logo before the organization shut down in 2014. When ENCE relaunched in 2016, the logo was changed and the phrase was left out of the logo. The phrase is still in use as a motto by ENCE.