Festina lente or σπεῦδε βραδέως (speude bradeos) is a classical adage and oxymoron meaning "make haste slowly" or "more haste, less speed". It has been used as the motto of many people including the emperors Augustus and Titus, the Medicis and the Onslows.
|“||Nihil autem minus perfecto duci quam festinationem temeritatemque convenire arbitrabatur. Crebro itaque illa iactabat: σπεῦδε βραδέως; ἀσφαλὴς γάρ ἐστ᾽ ἀμείνων ἢ θρασὺς στρατηλάτης; et: "sat celeriter fieri quidquid fiat satis bene."
(He thought nothing less becoming in a well-trained leader than haste and rashness, and, accordingly, favourite sayings of his were: "More haste, less speed"; "Better a safe commander than a bold"; and "That is done quickly enough which is done well enough.")
Gold coins were minted for Augustus which bore the image of a crab and a butterfly, which was considered to be emblematic of the adage. Other pairings used to illustrate the adage include a hare in a snail shell; a chameleon with a fish; a diamond ring entwined with foliage; and, especially, a dolphin entwined around an anchor. Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany had festina lente as his motto and illustrated it with a tortoise with a sail upon its back.
Erasmus praised the adage in his great work, Adagia, and used it especially to compliment his printer—"Aldus, making haste slowly, has acquired as much gold as he has reputation, and richly deserves both." Aldus used the corresponding symbol of the dolphin and anchor as his printer's mark. He showed Erasmus a Roman silver coin, given to him by Cardinal Bembo, which bore this symbol on the reverse side.
The meaning of the phrase is that activities should be performed with a proper balance of urgency and diligence. If tasks are rushed too quickly then mistakes are made and good long-term results are not achieved. Work is best done in a state of flow in which one is fully engaged by the task and there is no sense of time passing. "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast."
The phrase is used in physics to describe the Strong Confinement Limit or Festina Lente Limit, which is a mode of an atom laser in which the frequency of emission of the Bose-Einstein condensate is less than the confinement frequency of the trap.
|“||Laßt uns auch diesmal doch nur die Mittelstraße betreten! Eile mit Weile! das war selbst Kaiser Augustus' Devise.
(Let us this time take the middle course. Make haste slowly: that was Emperor Augustus' motto.)
Greeting used often in Robin Sloan's "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore."
See also 
- Suetonius, John Carew Wolfe, "Lives of the Caesars", Suetonius 1, ISBN 978-0-674-99570-3
- W. Deonna (1954), "The Crab and the Butterfly: A Study in Animal Symbolism", Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes (The Warburg Institute) 17 (1/2): 47–86, JSTOR 750132
- Gabriele Simeoni (1559), Le Imprese Heroiche et Morali, ISBN 978-1-149-36798-8
- Gary M. Bouchard (2000), "[[Colin Clout]]'s "Stayed Steps"", ISBN 978-1-57591-044-4 Text "Colin's campus: Cambridge life and the English eclogue " ignored (help); Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- Aleta Alekbarova (20 juin 2010), "M. Durmius’ Aureus", L'Age d'Or de la Poésie latine
- Hope B. Werness (2006), "Turtle", The Continuum encyclopedia of animal symbolism in art, ISBN 978-0-8264-1913-2
- Desiderius Erasmus, William Watson Barker (2001), The adages of Erasmus, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-4874-9
- "Some rare or unpublished Roman gold coins", The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Numismatic Society (Royal Numismatic Society) 7–8: 225
- John McMichaels, "Allegories of Rhetoric and Dialectic in Shakespeare’s Plays", Allegoria Paranoia
- Mark Antony Lower (1860), "Onslow", Patronymica Britannica
- Karlin Sloan, Lindsey Pollak, "Festina Lente", Smarter, faster, better
- Anonymous, How do you interpert [sic] the quote Slow is smooth Smooth is fast?
- Filip Floegel (2003), Optical Loading of a Bose–Einstein Condensate, retrieved 2010-09-16
- Scottish notes and queries, D. Wyllie and son, 1895, p. 104