Inveniam viam

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"Aut inveniam viam aut faciam" (or "Aut viam inveniam aut faciam"[1]) is Latin for "I shall either find a way or make one."[2][3][4] The first word "aut" may be omitted, corresponding to omitting the English word "either" from the translation.

The phrase has been attributed to Hannibal; when his generals told him it was impossible to cross the Alps by elephant, this was supposedly his response. However, Hannibal would have spoken in Punic, not Latin. The first part of the sentence, "inveniam viam", "I shall find a way," also appears in other contexts in the tragedies of Seneca, spoken by Hercules and by Oedipus, and in Seneca's Hercules Furens (Act II, Scene 1, line 276) the whole sentence appears, in third person: "inveniet viam, aut faciet."

Portrait of Robert Sidney, ca. 1588, with the motto Inveniam viam avt faciam

It has also been frequently used as a motto; for instance, it was used in this way by Francis Bacon,[5] and is now used in this way by the S.T.E.M. Academy at University High School in Orange City, Florida, Robert E. Peary High School[6] in Rockville, MD and Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, by online science education provider, Chigwell School in Essex, England,[7] York House School in Hertfordshire, England,[1] Swansea Medical School RFC in Swansea, Wales, Combat Logistics Battalion 24 in the United States Marine Corps, and by Brickfields Asia College Law Society in Kuala Lumpur. The phrase is also the motto of the 169th promotion Polytechnic in the Belgian Royal Military Academy. It was formerly the motto of the Big Sandy News, a weekly paper in Louisa, Ky. It is also the motto for the fictional University of American Samoa from the television series Better Call Saul.

This quote, changed to first person plural, is written on an iron arch over the class of 1893 memorial gate at the University Of Pennsylvania.[8] A painting in the National Portrait Gallery, formerly attributed as Sir Philip Sidney and now thought to depict his brother Robert, is adorned with the phrase.[9] In The Dunciad, Alexander Pope writes of John Henley that he "turned his rhetoric to buffoonry" by handing out medallions engraved with this motto.[10] The comic strip Frazz[11] featured the saying on April 23, 2015.


  1. ^ a b See, e.g., the York House School's web site, which includes the motto with this word order.
  2. ^ A New Dictionary of Quotations from the Greek, Latin, and Modern Languages, J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1869, p. 229 
  3. ^ Belton, John Devoe (1890), A Literary Manual of Foreign Quotations, Ancient and Modern, G.P. Putnam's Sons, p. 18 
  4. ^ Stone, Jon R. (2004), The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations, Routledge, p. 140 .
  5. ^ Reid, Thomas; Walker, James; Hamilton, William (1850), Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, J. Bartlett, p. xii .
  6. ^
  7. ^ Chigwell Junior School Parents' Handbook 2009–2010, accessed 2010-06-06.
  8. ^ Thomas, George E.; Brownlee, David Bruce (2000), Building America's First University: An Historical and Architectural Guide to the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Press, p. 173, ISBN 9780812235159 .
  9. ^ Gavin Alexander: Writing after Sidney. The Literary Response to Sir Philip Sidney 1586–1640. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York 2006, ISBN 978-0-19-928547-1, p. 158, n. 40.
  10. ^ Pope, Alexander (1736), The Works of Alexander Pope, L. Gilliver and J. Clarke, pp. 206–208 .
  11. ^