“Festina lente”


Original Latin: “Festina lente”

English: “Make haste slowly”


This is a Latin motto I learned in high school during my four years of learning Latin. We learned it as a motto that Augustus Caesar would use as a way of progressing as an emperor; always have something you want to do, and wait for the right time to do it. It is a classic example of the literary device oxymoron. This proverb has governed how I think about parts of my life, especially working on film sets. One always needs to be working on somethings, but sometimes to work, one must wait. And on film sets, you always have a job to do that involves waiting: waiting for actors to fly in, waiting for lights to be set up, waiting for the camera to roll, etc. There are so many moving parts in a film, and it’s important to understand how all of them work together. So for one part to progress well, it must wait for the others.


This proverb comes up a lot in work environments, particularly those that rely on multiple people to finish one’s own job.

My Thoughts:

I think it was interesting that my informant described this piece as being used almost exclusively in a professional context. I think this is the only piece I’ve collected so far that is used thusly. In any case, it seems to be particularly applied to film for the informant’s life… I wonder how it applied in ancient times? If there were specific professions or tasks that utilized this proverb more than others?