Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas” is verse 490 of the "Georgics" (29 BC), by the latin poet Vergil (70 - 19 BC). It is literally translated as: “Fortunate who was able of things to know the causes”. Vergil may have had in mind the Roman philosopher Lucretius, of the Epicurean school.

Uses

This sentence is often written with a present tense instead of the past tense: “Felix, qui potest rerum cognoscere causas” (“Fortunate is he, who is able to know the causes of things”). Translators have also often added the adjective "hid" or "hidden" to qualify the causes. The latter half of the phrase, "rerum cognoscere causas", is the motto of the London School of Economics, the University of Sheffield, Humberside Collegiate, the University of Guelph, Hill Park Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, the Science National Honor Society and the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. The phrase is engraved in the stone bust of Clodomiro Picado Twight in the University of Costa Rica, in San Pedro. It can also be seen in the opening pages of Inverting the Pyramid by sports journalist Jonathan Wilson.



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