Veni, vidi, vici

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Vēnī, vīdī, vīcī (pronounced [ˈweːniː ˈwiːdiː ˈwiːkiː] in Classical Latin or [ˈveni ˈvidi ˈvitʃi] in Vulgar Latin) is a famous Latin sentence spoken by Julius Caesar in 47 BC.[1] It translates as "I came, I saw, I conquered." Its form (a three-part sentence or motto) is classed as a tricolon and a hendiatris. The sentence appears in Plutarch and Suetonius (Plut. Caes. 50, Suet. Iul. 37.). Caesar used the sentence as the full text of his message to the Roman senate describing his recent victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus in the Battle of Zela in Zile, a town of Tokat city in contemporary Turkey. Caesar's laconic remark simultaneously proclaimed the totality of his victory and served to remind the senate of Caesar's military prowess (Caesar was still in the midst of a civil war); alternatively, the remark can be viewed as an expression of Caesar's contempt for the wealthy senate, who gave little concern to the lower-class citizens who formed the major part of Caesar's constituency.

Vēnī, vīdī, and vīcī are first person perfect tense forms of the three Latin verbs veniō, venīre; videō, vidēre, and vincō, vincere.

[edit] Cultural references

The Philip Morris logo, from a pack of Marlboro cigarettes.

Variations of the sentence "Veni, Vidi, Vici" are often quoted in music, art, literature, and entertainment.

At times, it has been misconceived as a sort of "magic word." The three words in the sentence are similar, suggesting a sort of chant or spell. The television show Doug from Nickelodeon applied the term as such.

The sentence lends itself to use in music, and has been used in works ranging from the opening of Handel's opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto, through You came, you saw, you conquered me from These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) in the 1940s and You came, you saw, you conquered in the title song of the musical Mame, to the lines I came, I saw, I conquered - From record sales, to sold out concerts in "Encore" by Jay-Z. It also occurs in the title of The Hives' album Veni Vidi Vicious. Australian band The Drones chant the phrase continuously at the end of their song "The Minotaur".

The television show History Bites has one character tell of a one night stand as "Vidi, Vici, Veni", which another character translates as "I saw, I conquered, I... oh". In the 1984 comedy, Ghostbusters, Bill Murray's character Dr. Peter Venkman says, "we came, we saw, we kicked its ass!". In Ocean's Eleven, Reuben refers to a man attempting to rob a casino, saying, "He came, he took, they conquered."

Apart from numerous references in literature, the sentence is also often used in more general contexts, for example in the species name of the Conquered Lorikeet (Vini vidivici). It is often used as a motto or a tagline, due to its forceful connotation, from the motto of Philip Morris International to a misspelled version ("Vini, Vidi, Vici") used as the motto for the US Army Sniper School, based at Fort Benning, Georgia.

[edit] Notes

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