It has been said that VIRTUS is the most researched and debated word in Latin. It is like the word TAQWA in arabic. Virtus was originally the word of the church. CARDINAL VIRTUE. When Machiavelli took a secular approach to discussing and defining VIrtus he was condemmned as antichurch. Read the PRINCE by Machiavelli.

It has been translated too simplistically to manliness.  The Desired man that fulfill the design criteria as defined by the church or  Machiavelli or whatever holistic and secular criteria.

I prefer the word VIRTUS  on its own as it is without  translation but full of definitions.

There hase been several attempts to anglicise FIAT SAPIENTIA VIRTUS and Let manliness comes through wisdom has been the “official” English motto.

I think  “let there be wisdom and virtus”  is the accurate embodiment of the spirit. It is complete and well rounded, the heart the mind the nerve and the muscle, the human senses.



  1. inspigoblog says:

    Here is a comment by Datuk SD my brother MCOB on the subject which appeared in our e-group

    “The heart, mind, nerve, muscle, the human senses… you say sir?
    That is covered more or less by the words of Burgess in the Ode,viz:

    “Proudly we’ll serve
    and with faith we’ll strain
    muscle and nerve
    and heart and brain…”

    If virtus cannot be exactly translated, taqwa too is sometimes mistranslated.
    When the ayat “Ittaqullah…” is uttered by the Khatib, invariably he will translate
    that to ‘Takutlah Allah..’ (mcm matsaleh kata Fear God) while actually taqwa
    encompasses the meaning of Commit yourself to obeying His instructions and Ommit
    doing what He forbids…Maybe it is better just to say Bertakwalah kepada Allah
    instead of ‘takutlah’ even if takut may sound close enough to ittaqu…!

    Wisdom is translated as kebijaksanaan. OK but ‘budi’ in its pure original sense
    means bestari/cendekia/intellect/sapientia/berakal/bijak. The person with ‘budi’
    is a budiman. Nowadays people think budi is just doing good deeds and synonimous
    to jasa.
    The circular road within the main UM campus, named Lingkungan Budi shd be translated
    as ‘environment for intellectuals’ and not ‘circle of good deeds or similar.- Unquote

  2. inspigoblog says:

    Here was my response

    Budiman Sekelian,

    “Proudly we’ll serve
    and with faith we’ll strain
    muscle and nerve
    and heart and brain…”

    The heart, mind, nerve, muscle, the senses… with faith-AB. That is the most consice, spirit evoking definition of virtus. It must be the Bible Class that he attended before the pubs and other worldly pursuits

    I agree TAQWA is often mistranslated. The bible equivalent is righteousness. Off course It is by His design so that we will continue searching, and the Revellation is the best source.. There are numerous guides: Rukun Taqwa and guides to be mutaqqon, to be al-birr. Rukun TAQWA and the ten commmandments has been consistent since MOses and even before that. God has commanded that tAQWA is the measure of Honour, go get it.

    BUDI? BUDIMAN. The gentlemen of the East must have the equivalent word for GENTLEMEN and that is BUDIMAN. The root is BUDI and you have explained it in detail. We have lost it, the term budiman, and what goes with it. But it is not too late to recapture and reclaim it. MCOBA has the responsibility to lead the revival of BUDIMAN. (bukan kelab budiman).

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