Mens sana in corpore sano
Mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body) is a famous Latin quotation, often translated as, "A sound mind in a healthy body." It is also known in Greek as "Νοῦς ὑγιὴς ἐν σώματι ὑγιεῖ", but has been falsely attributed to the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Thales.
The phrase was adopted and used from Satire X of the Roman poet Juvenal (10.356). In context, the phrase is but one element of a more fulsome answer to the question of what it is that is desirable in life:
- You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
- Ask for a stout heart that has no fear of death,
- and deems length of days the least of Nature's gifts
- that can endure any kind of toil,
- that knows neither wrath nor desire and thinks
- the woes and hard labors of Hercules better than
- the loves and banquets and downy cushions of Sardanapalus.
- What I commend to you, you can give to yourself;
- For assuredly, the only road to a life of peace is virtue.
In Original Latin:
- orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
- fortem posce animum mortis terrore carentem,
- qui spatium vitae extremum inter munera ponat
- naturae, qui ferre queat quoscumque labores,
- nesciat irasci, cupiat nihil et potiores
- Herculis aerumnas credat saevosque labores
- et venere et cenis et pluma Sardanapalli.
- monstro quod ipse tibi possis dare; semita certe
- tranquillae per virtutem patet unica vitae.
- –Roman poet Juvenal (10.356-64)
Traditional commentators believe that Juvenal's intention was to teach his fellow Roman citizens that in the main, their prayers for such things as long life are misguided. That the gods had provided man with virtues which he then lists for them.
Over time and separated from its context, the phrase has come to have a range of meanings. It can be construed to mean that only a healthy body can produce or sustain a healthy mind. Its most general usage is to express the hierarchy of needs: with physical and mental health at the root.
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- Usage in other writings
- John Locke (1632–1704) uses the phrase in his book Some thoughts concerning education.
- Heinrich von Treitschke used this phrase in his work titled, "The Army". He uses the phrase to highlight a sound principle of his German nationalistic doctrine. His work echoes the principles of late nineteenth century Prussian society.
- Usage as the motto of athletic clubs:
- Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata
- Georgetown Hoyas
- R.S.C. Anderlecht
- The Turners Organization American Turners and their local organizations like the Los Angeles turners.
- Carlton Football Club
- Asociacion Atletica Argentinos Juniors
- The Israeli Institute of Technology athletics teams
- Mens Sana Basket
- Beale Gaelic Football Club from County Kerry
- Torrens Rowing Club
- Usage as the motto of military institutions:
- Usage as the motto of educational institutions:
- Hiranandani Foundation School, Mumbai, India
- Rosario High School, Mangalore, India
- Teacher's College of Columbia University has this phrase engraved on its Horace Mann hall, on 120th Street in New York City
- The University College London Mens Rugby Football Club, Based out of the Bloomsbury in London
- Grant Medical College and Sir J.J. Hospital, Mumbai
- Widener University and the State University of New York at Buffalo
- The phrase appears in stone on the western facade of the HPER (School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation) at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana
- The phrase appears in stone on above the entranceway to the Athletic Center at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick
- Dhaka Physical Education College in Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Sparta High School in Sparta, New Jersey
- Charleston Female Seminary
- Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Michigan
- Erskine Academy in South China, Maine
- Roger Bacon High School, St. Bernard, Ohio
- Bjelke-Petersen School of Physical Culture, Australia
- Bridgewater Junior Senior High School in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
- Kongsbakken videregående skole in Tromsø, Norway
- Lakefield College School in Lakefield, Canada
- Polish Association of Sport named SOKÓŁ before World War I. Poland, Galicja in that time Austria
- The Internado Nacional Barros Arana in Santiago, Chile.
- Albert Einstein School in Cotabato (Philippines)
- Used as a line in the school song of Bangor Grammar School, in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland.
- Usage in other cases
- The phrase was a favorite of Harry S. Truman former President of the United States of America.
- ASICS company name derived from the phrase. There is a sports equipment company, Asics, with the name based on a twist of this quotation. "Asics" is an acronym of the Latin phrase, "anima sana in corpore sano," which translates to "Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body".
- Mensa, the High IQ Society, derives its name both from the Latin word for table, "mensa" as well as a pun on the phrase "mens sana".