Vi veri universum vivus vici
It originates in the diary of English occultist Aleister Crowley (first published in 1952). Under the title "The Cry of the 4th Aethyr", dated 16 December 1909, Crowley writes: "his name shall be called Vir [man], and Vis [power], and Virus [poison], and Virtus [manliness], and Viridis [green], in one name that is all these, and above all these." In a footnote this is glossed as "Vi Veri Universum Vivus Vici, the motto of the Seer as Magister Templi". Since in the Latin alphabet, U can be considered equivalent to V, the phrase can be abbreviated V.V.V.V.V. In the 1998 revised edition of Crowley's diary, the list of abbreviations describes "V.V.V.V.V" as Crowley's "8°=3° A∴A∴ motto".
The phrase is mentioned as Faust's motto in Robert Nye's novel Faust (1980). This attribution is taken up by the graphic novel V for Vendetta (1982–1988). Here, the initialism "V.V.V.V.V." appears embossed in an arch of V's hideout the "Shadow Gallery" — the character of "V" explains that these stand for the phrase Vi veri veniversum [sic] vivus vici, attributing the phrase to "a German gentleman named Dr. John Faust". In the film adaptation (2005), the same phrase appears instead on a mirror, also inside "V"'s Shadow Gallery, and the character "V" says the quotation is "from Faust".
Notes and references
- "The Cry of the 4th Aethyr", Biskra, Algeria. December 16, 1909. 9–10:30 a.m.
- Alan Moore and David Lloyd, "V for Vendetta", vol. II of X (October 1988), p. 11, p. 43.
- "The Cry of the 4th Aethyr" (16 December 1909) in: The Vision and the Voice, Thelema Publishing Company (1952), revised edition: The Vision & the Voice With Commentary and Other Papers: The Collected Diaries of Aleister Crowley, 1909-1914 E.V. Volume 4, Issue 2 of Equinox, New York (1998).