Esse quam videri
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Esse quam videri is found in Cicero's essay On Friendship (Laelius de Amicitia, chapter 98). Virtute enim ipsa non tam multi praediti esse quam videri volunt ("Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so").
Previous to both Romans, Aeschylus used a similar phrase in Seven Against Thebes at line 592, at which the scout (angelos) says of the seer/priest Amphiaraus: οὐ γὰρ δοκεῖν ἄριστος, ἀλλ᾽ εἶναι θέλει (ou gàr dokeîn áristos, all' eînai thélei: "he doesn't want to seem, but to be the bravest"). Plato quoted this line in Republic (361b).
Usage as a motto
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Schools and colleges
Esse quam videri is (or was) the motto of a number of schools and colleges around the world, including:
- Academy at the Lakes, Land O Lakes, Florida
- Academy of the Holy Names, Tampa, Florida
- Accra Academy, Accra, Ghana
- Albert Academy, Freetown, Sierra Leone
- Amarillo High School, Amarillo, Texas
- S. Anselm's Preparatory School, Bakewell, England
- Appalachian State University (1899), Boone, North Carolina
- Ashford School (1899), Ashford, Kent, England
- Ashville College (1877), Harrogate, England
- Augusta Preparatory Day School (1972), Augusta, Georgia, USA
- Bedford College, University of London until c.1990, when Bedford and Royal Holloway Colleges merged and it became the motto of the joint college
- Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
- Boys' Latin School of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
- Brigham Young University Men's Chorus, Provo, Utah, USA
- Clifton House Preparatory School, Harrogate, England
- Colyton Grammar School (1546), Colyford, England
- Columbia College Chicago (1890), Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Connells Point Public School, Sydney, Australia
- Cranbrook School Sydney (1918), Sydney, Australia
- Desert Heights Preparatory Academy, Glendale, Arizona
- Darwin High School, Darwin, Australia
- Ellis Robins High School, Harare, Zimbabwe
- Esquimalt High School, Esquimalt, British Columbia
- The Episcopal Academy, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA
- The Forest School, Winnersh, Wokingham, Berkshire, England
- Groton School (1884), Groton, Massachusetts, USA. The motto changed to Cui Servire est Regnare ("To whom to serve is to reign") shortly after the school's founding.
- The Hermitage School (1906), Geelong, Australia; which has subsequently become that of The Hermitage House, Geelong Grammar School.
- Hartford Public High School, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
- Highsted Grammar School, Sittingbourne, Kent, England
- Homewood School, Tenterden, Kent, England
- Hudson Catholic High School, Hudson, Massachusetts
- The Hemel Hempstead School (1931), Hemel Hempstead, England.
- The Ellis School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
- Instituto Metodista Bennett (1888), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- JMA Armstrong High School, Salisbury, New Brunswick, Canada
- John Caldwell School, Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada
- The King's College, New York (House of Susan B. Anthony)
- Kingsley School, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England
- Kutama College, Norton, Zimbabwe
- Lane College, Jackson, Tennessee, USA
- Magee Secondary School, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Miami Coral Park Senior High School, Miami, Florida, USA
- Montreat College, Montreat, North Carolina
- Moravian Academy, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; current motto is "mind, body, spirit",
- Mountlake Terrace High School, Mountlake Terrace, Washington
- National University of Health Sciences (previously National Chiropractic College), Lombard, Illinois
- Peace College (1857), Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
- Queen's College, Queenstown, South Africa
- Regent's University London, England
- Rhodesway School (1958), Bradford, UK
- Rockridge Secondary School, West Vancouver, British Columbia
- Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, England
- St. Joseph's College in Patchogue, New York, United States.
- St. Malachy's Memorial High School, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.
- St Thomas à Becket Catholic College, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
- Salisbury School, Salisbury, Connecticut, USA
- Selaiyur Hall, Madras Christian College, Chennai, India
- Seton Hall High School, Patchogue, New York, United States
- Southampton Grammar School for Girls Southampton, UK
- Streetsville Secondary School, Streetsville, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
- Suffield Academy, Suffield, Connecticut, USA
- The Taieri High School, Mosgiel, Otago, New Zealand
- Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (1999–present), Rutherford County, North Carolina
- Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, Tennessee
- Truro School (1880–present), Truro, Cornwall, England
- Boys' Latin School of Maryland (1844), Baltimore, Maryland, USA
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte (1946), Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
- University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida
- Villa Devoto School (1908), Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Wavell State High School, Brisbane, Australia
- St Audries School, West Quantoxhead, Taunton, Somerset, England (since closed and now a hotel)
- Woodward Career Technical High School (formerly Woodward High School), Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (Alma mater of William Howard Taft, 27th president of the United States)
- Wyomissing Area Junior/Senior High School, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania
- Yeovil School, Yeovil, Somerset, England
Esse quam videri is the motto of the following sororities:
- Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, founded in 1917 at New York University Law School.
- House of Susan B. Anthony, founded exclusively at The King's College NYC.
- Phi Delta Alpha, founded in 2002 at University of Oklahoma
- Alpha Chi Lambda, founded in 1998 at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX.
Esse quam videri is the motto of the following fraternities:
- Phi Gamma Nu, National Professional Fraternity in Business, est. Northwestern University 1924.
- Lambda Kappa Sigma, founded in 1913 at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy.
- Kingswood Rugby Football Club, Bristol, UK, use a variant of the motto, "Esse Non Videri" as their club motto.
- White Wolves MC, Oradea, RO, use a variant of the motto, "Esse Quam Videri Malim" as their club motto.
- Brepols Publishers, as found on their older books: "Melius esse quam videri"
- Swire Group esp. its shipping branch, The China Navigation Company.
- EQV (UK) Ltd, A computer and management training company, who are based in Leicestershire, UK.
- The phrase is found on the Sibley Mill along the Augusta Canal in Augusta, Georgia. The structure was completed in 1882 and operated until 2006.
- Raleigh Denim, based in Raleigh, North Carolina
Esse quam videri is also the motto of
- the honor society The Order of Scroll and Key at Dickinson College.
- The National Honor & Merit Scholars Society.
- the Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship, a wilderness EMS training program based in western North Carolina.
- the Brigham Young University Men's Chorus.
- No. 77 Squadron RAF (active during three periods between 1916 and 1963) used the variant, Esse potius quam videri with the same meaning.
Television personality Stephen Colbert inverted the statement on his show The Colbert Report to Videri Quam Esse, meaning "to seem to be rather than to be." It is also engraved across the faux hearth, above the video fireplace, in his studio, under his portrait.
- Virginia Gamba (February 20, 2013). "REMARKS UPON THE LAUNCH OF FIVE MYTHS ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS, A BOOK BY WARD WILSON" (PDF). U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs.
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-  Archived November 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- "The motto of the University is Esse Quam Videri ...." "Bulletin, National University of Health Sciences" (PDF). Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Pages - Welcome!". Stm.nbed.nb.ca. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Seton Hall High School". Retrieved 2011-03-05.
- "essequamvideri.co.uk". essequamvideri.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy: A Challenge Foundation Academy". Tjca.org. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "truroschool.com". truroschool.com. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "Woodward Career Technical High School Official Web Site". Cincinnati Public Schools. Retrieved 2012-03-25.
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- "Old Yeovilians' Association Home Page". Oldyeovilians.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-07-12.[dead link]
- "dphie.org". dphie.org. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
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- "phideltaalpha.com". phideltaalpha.com. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "Alpha Chi Lambda". San Antonio: Trinity University. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- "lks.org". lks.org. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- Burt, Martyn. "kingswoodrfc.co.uk". kingswoodrfc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "eqv.co.uk". eqv.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-09-29.
- "nhmss.org". nhmss.org. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship - Official Home Page". Blueridgehealth.org. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "Men's Chorus Philosophy: Esse Quam Videri". Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- "Stephen Colbert's new Latin motto". http://talkshownews.interbridge.com. 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2014-12-31. External link in