Nil sine numine


Nil sine numine

"Nil sine numine" (Latin "Nothing without God's Will") is a state motto of Colorado. The Latin phrase appears to be an adaptation from Virgil's "Aeneid" where in Book II, line 777 the words "...non haec sine numine devum eveniunt" are found.

The Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration said about the translation of the motto:"At recurring intervals, discussion has ensued concerning interpretation of this Latin phrase which commonly translated is "'Nothing without Providence'". Others say it is "Nothing without God". In the early mining days of the State, the unregenerate said it meant "nothing without a new mine". The word "numen" (ablative "numine") means any divinity, god or goddess, or divine spirit. The best evidence of intent of Colorado's official designers and framers of the resolution for adoption of the seal is contained in the committee report wherein clear distinction was made between "numine" and "Deo" and it specifically states that the committee's interpretative translation was "Nothing without the Deity".

The motto appeared when Colorado's first Territorial Governor William Gilpin asked the Secretary of the Territory, L. C. Weld for a suitable motto for the state seal. According to the story, Weld said: "Well, Governor, what would you suggest?" Gilpin is said to have paused in thought for a moment and then responded "Nil Sine Numine". On November 6, 1861 by Joint Resolution the First Territorial Assembly adopted the motto with the territorial seal.

This motto is also used by High Point University, a small liberal arts university in High Point, North Carolina

It is also of interest "The Luttrell Psalter", a famous medieval manuscript dated by the 14th century, contains inside its binding an armorial bookplate of Thomas Weld (1750 - 1810) of Lulworth Castle, one of the book's owners, and the motto on the plate's ribbon reads "nil sine numine".


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