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Detail from The Vision of the Cross by assistants of Raphael, depicting the vision of the cross and the Greek writing "Ἐν τούτῳ νίκα" in the sky, before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
Sample of use of "In hoc signo vinces" in an old Portuguese coin (year 1721)

In hoc signo vinces is a Latin rendering of the Greek phrase "ἐν τούτῳ νίκα", en toutōi nika, meaning "with this as your standard you shall have victory".

According to legend, Constantine I adopted this Greek phrase, "εν τούτῳ νίκα", as a motto after his vision of a chi rho on the sky just before the Battle of Milvian Bridge against Maxentius Oct.12,in the year 312. The early Christian symbol consists in a monogram composed of the Greek letters chi (X) and rho (P), the first two in the name Christ (Greek: Χριστός). In later periods the christogram "IHS" both stood for the first three letters of "Jesus" in Latinized Greek (Ίησους, Latinized IHSOVS) and "in hoc signo" from the legend.

The historian Eusebius states that Constantine was marching with his army (Eusebius doesn't specify the actual location of the event, but it's clearly not in the camp at Rome), when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words "εν τούτῳ νίκα" ("by this, be victorious!", often rendered in Latin as In hoc signo vinces). At first, Constantine didn't know the meaning of the apparition, but in the following night, he had a dream in which Christ explained to him that he should use the sign against his enemies. Eusebius then continues to describe the Labarum, the military standard used by Constantine in his later wars against Licinius, showing the Chi-Rho sign.

The phrase is the motto on the coat of arms borne by Jan III Sobieski and other members of the Sobieski line; it is also on the coat of arms of the Irish noble dynasty of O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, the Noble House of Vassallo, and is the motto of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George; it is also in the coat of arms of the city of Birkirkara, the largest city on the island of Malta, and the town of Bayamòn, Puerto Rico[1]. The phrase also appears on the "coat of arms" of Pall Mall cigarettes,[2] together with "Per Aspera Ad Astra," a Latin phrase meaning "To the stars through difficulties"[3] or "Through hardships to the stars."[4]

In Hoc Signo Vinces appears prominently on four of the six regimental colors of the Irish Brigade that served in the armies of France from 1690 to 1792.

Color of Dillon's Regiment, Irish Brigade

The phrase also appears prominently placed as a motto on a ribbon unfurled with a passion cross to its left, beneath a window over the Scala Regia, adjacent to the equestrian statue of Emperor Constantine, in the Vatican. Emperors and other monarchs, having paid respects to the Pope, descended the Scala Regia, and would observe the light shining down through the window, with the motto, reminiscent of Constantine's vision, and be reminded to follow the Cross. They would thence turn right into the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica, ostensibly so inspired. It is also the motto of the Taylor clan.

It was also used as a motto by the Portuguese monarchy. According to the legend, King Afonso Henriques saw the sign of the "quinas" -Portugal's heraldic symbol- at the battle of Ourique, adopting them as the national symbol and the motto as a consequence. This legend is told in The Lusiads by Luiz Vaz de Camões.

Contents

Cultural references

Organizations

Military

Insignia of Marine All-Weather Fighter-Attack Squadron 533

Schools

Sports

  • Motto of The Estancia High School Football Team, in Costa Mesa, California.
  • Latin phrase on the Logo of TEAM C.A.P.A. (Cavite Alabang Paranaque Airsofters) An active airsoft team in the Philippines.
  • Crest of the Royal Hockey Club Dragons, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Motto of Birkirkara, Malta.
  • Motto of the Norwegian soccer-team Storkanonan.
  • Motto of the Ipswich Brothers Rugby League club, Qld Australia
  • Motto of Worthing Chippingdale Cricket Club, England
  • Motto of Pirita Jalgpalliklubi Reliikvia soccer team, Estonia
  • Motto of Team Arcani, an airsoft team in Iloilo City, Philippines.

Other

Notes

References


by assistants of Raphael, depicting the vision of the cross and the Greek writing "Ἐν τούτῳ νίκα" in the sky, before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.]]

In hoc signo vinces is a Latin rendering of the Greek phrase "ἐν τούτῳ νίκα", en touto nika, meaning "with this as your standard you shall have victory".

According to legend, Constantine I adopted this Greek phrase, "εν τούτῳ νίκα", as a motto after his vision of a chi rho on the sky just before the Battle of Milvian Bridge against Maxentius on 28 October 312. The early Christian symbol consists of a monogram composed of the Greek letters chi (X) and rho (P), the first two letters in the name Christ (Greek: Χριστός). In later periods the christogram "IHS" both stood for the first three letters of "Jesus" in Latinized Greek (Ιησούς, Latinized IHSOVS) and "in hoc signo" from the legend.

The historian Eusebius states that Constantine was marching with his army (Eusebius doesn't specify the actual location of the event, but it's clearly not in the camp at Rome), when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words "εν τούτῳ νίκα" ("by this, be victorious!", often rendered in Latin as In hoc signo vinces). At first, Constantine didn't know the meaning of the apparition, but in the following night, he had a dream in which Christ explained to him that he should use the sign against his enemies. Eusebius then continues to describe the Labarum, the military standard used by Constantine in his later wars against Licinius, showing the Chi-Rho sign.

The phrase is the motto on the coat of arms borne by Jan III Sobieski and other members of the Sobieski line; it is also on the coat of arms of the Irish noble dynasty of O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, the Noble House of Vassallo, and is the motto of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George; it is also in the coat of arms of the city of Birkirkara, the largest city on the island of Malta, and the town of Bayamòn, Puerto Rico[1]. The phrase also appears on the "coat of arms" of Pall Mall cigarettes,[2] together with "Per Aspera Ad Astra," a Latin phrase meaning "To the stars through difficulties"[3] or "Through hardships to the stars."[4]

In Hoc Signo Vinces appears prominently on four of the six regimental colors of the Irish Brigade that served in the armies of France from 1690 to 1792.

The phrase also appears prominently placed as a motto on a ribbon unfurled with a passion cross to its left, beneath a window over the Scala Regia, adjacent to the equestrian statue of Emperor Constantine, in the Vatican. Emperors and other monarchs, having paid respects to the Pope, descended the Scala Regia, and would observe the light shining down through the window, with the motto, reminiscent of Constantine's vision, and be reminded to follow the Cross. They would thence turn right into the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica, ostensibly so inspired. It is also the motto of the Taylor clan.

It was also used as a motto by the Portuguese monarchy. According to the legend, King Afonso Henriques saw the sign of the "quinas" -Portugal's heraldic symbol- at the battle of Ourique, adopting them as the national symbol and the motto as a consequence. This legend is told in The Lusiads by Luís de Camões.

Contents

Cultural references

Organizations

Military

  • Inscribed in Greek on the flag of the Sacred Band of the Greek War of Independence.
  • Inscribed on the banner of the Sanfedismo in 1799[5]
  • Motto of the Royal Army Chaplains Department
  • Former motto of the Canadian Forces Chaplains Branch, which was replaced in 2006.
  • Appears on the patches of Marine All-Weather Fighter-Attack Squadron 533.
  • Seen on the coat of arms of the second mechanized infantry battalion, Norwegian Army.
  • Used by the Lebanese Forces, a Lebanese Christian resistance.
  • Motto of 814th Squadron of the British Fleet Air Arm.
  • Motto of 7th Scout Ranger Company, Philippine Army
  • Motto of 2nd battalion of the Norwegian army
  • Motto of the 54th Massachusetts, (African-American Regiment) On their regiment flag showing a gold Cross and star, Civil War
  • The motto was used on the regimental flags of certain foreign regiments of the French Army of the 18th Century, most notably the "Wild Geese" Irish regiments (such as Rooth's, Lally's, Berwick's, Dillon's, Bulkeley's and Clare's) and Swiss Regiments.
  • Motto of the 2. Battalion Army in Norway.
  • Motto of 4th brigade of the Croatian army
  • Motto of 3 Troop, AWG, United States Army.
  • Motto of 2050 Squadron. (Leyland ATC)
  • Motto of the US Navy Destroyer, USS Waldron, DD-699
  • Motto of the Finnish defense forces reconnaissance

Schools

Sports

  • Motto of The Estancia High School Football Team, in Costa Mesa, California.
  • Latin phrase on the Logo of TEAM C.A.P.A. (Cavite Alabang Paranaque Airsofters) An active airsoft team in the Philippines.
  • Crest of the Royal Hockey Club Dragons, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Motto of Birkirkara, Malta.
  • Motto of the Norwegian soccer-team Storkanonan.
  • Motto of the Ipswich Brothers Rugby League club, Qld Australia
  • Motto of Worthing Chippingdale Cricket Club, England
  • Motto of Pirita Jalgpalliklubi Reliikvia soccer team, Estonia
  • Motto of Team Arcani, an airsoft team in Iloilo City, Philippines.

Other

  • Is the public motto for Sigma Chi
  • George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, wrote a political manifesto called In hoc signo vinces in 1960.
  • Appears on the crest of the O'Donnell clan.
  • Is the motto used by Pilsner Urquell
  • Is the motto on the crest of the English Defence League.
  • Is the motto found on any pack of Pall Mall brand cigarettes.
  • Is written under the statue in front of the bank in the game Postal 2.
  • Is the sign of the Templar organization Abstergo in the game Assassin's Creed II.
  • Is the sign of local political party "Besti Flokkurinn" in Iceland
  • Is a recurring phrase in the HBO series "Carnival"
  • Appears on the crest of the House of Di Santis.
  • Appears in Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow

Notes

References








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