Chair update: Sic Vos Non Vobis

Sic Vos Non Vobis

My favourite part of the reunion weekend at Van Mildert in July 2019 was the formal meal in the hall, which had a casual and relaxed feel, despite the suits and black tie. I like to think this was partly because I dispensed with the usual pre-dinner speech and opted instead for a good-old Mildert quiz!  So, after asking the various teams of tables to name the eight Mildert Masters and Principals in order, I turned to the meaning of our college motto: sic vos non vobis.

This phrase roughly translates to ‘so you do not for yourselves’ and was scribbled by Virgil onto a wall as a challenge to Bathyllus, who he claimed had plagiarised his work praising emperor Augustus. In order to prove his authority of the poem, Virgil challenges Bathyllus to fill in the incomplete sentences of the poem, in which Augustus is likened to four animals who do not receive benefit from the labour they undertake (ie who make things for others).

So, the question: can you name one of the animals that Augustus is likened to in the sic vos non vobis poem by Virgil? [scroll for the answer]

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I wrote the lines, another has gained the praise

So you do not for yourselves draw plows, ye kine (cows)

So you do not for yourselves make honey, bees

So you do not for yourselces bear fleeces, sheep

So you do not for yourselves build nests, O birds.

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