Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus

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"Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus" is a Latin phrase, meaning: “Let there be justice, though the world perish.”

This sentence, which has not been traced to Classical Rome, was the motto of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor,[1][2][3] probably originating from Johannes Manlius’s book Loci Communes (1563). It characterizes an attitude, which wants to provide justice at any price. It is actually about half a century older than its first documented use in English literature.

A famous use is by Immanuel Kant, in his 1795 Perpetual Peace (Zum ewigen Frieden. Ein philosophischer Entwurf.), to summarize the counter-utilitarian nature of his moral philosophy, in the form Fiat justitia, pereat mundus, which he paraphrases as "Let justice reign even if all the rascals in the world should perish from it".[4][5][6]

This phrase was also used in the movie Come What May "Caleb's father writes 'Fiat Justitia et Pereat Mundus' on the blackboard in the kitchen in order to combat Caleb's mother in her idea that there is nothing in this world that is absolute." Caleb's Father reveals that the phrase means "Do What's Right, Come What May."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (German)
  2. ^ (German)
  3. ^ (German)
  4. ^ Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch: Appendix 1
  5. ^ Project for a Perpetual Peace, p. 61
  6. ^ Immanuel Kant's Werke, revidirte Gesammtausg, p. 456