Veni, vidi, vici

[wey-nee wee-dee wee-kee; Eng. vee-nahy vahy-dahy vahy-sahy, ven-ee vee-dee vee-chee, -see]
Vēnī, vīdī, vīcī (in Classical Latin or in Vulgar Latin) is a famous Latin sentence spoken by Julius Caesar in 47 BC. 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 terse 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 patrician senate, traditionally representing the most powerful group in the Roman Republic.

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

Cultural references

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.

It is also often parodied, for example "I came, I sawed, I hammered” in a Winnie the Pooh video and "Veni, Vidi, We kicked their asses!" from the videogame Halo 2 (a human NPC line after a successful confrontation). Also, the phrase has been parodied in the form of "we Came, We Saw, We Kicked Its Ass!" when Dr. Peter Venkman of Ghostbusters bursts from the lounge after successfully catching the Onionhead Ghost (best known as Slimer). In "Married to the Mob", the carved headboard of a bed bears the words "Veni, Veni, Veni" (I came, I came, I came).

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, to the title of an album by rapper Ja Rule and the lines I came, I saw, I conquered - From record sales, to sold out concerts in "Encore" by Jay-Z. It is has also been used in the title of The Hives' album Veni Vidi Vicious. In 2007, The Black Lips released a song entitled "Veni Vidi Vici" on their album Good Bad Not Evil.

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.


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