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Understanding Is Greater Than Fate

Detailed heraldic chalcedony intaglio

Carving of a lion in a crown as the crest, with a griffin in the shield

Translation of Latin motto, as taken from The Georgics of Virgil, is ‘Understanding is greater than fate’

Why we love it

The literal translation of the motto is Presence is Greater than Fate. Which is a bit of a head scratcher.

Fortunately for us here at BM HQ we were able to establish that this is a quote taken from a poem by the ancient Roman dude, Vergil, likely published circa 29BC. And with this knowledge we can do a bit of cheeky research which has elucidated the intended meaning of the phrase. And in this particular case it is apparent that the intended meaning of the word ‘presence’ was in fact what we today would call ‘understanding’.

Understanding is Greater than Fate. Okay. But are we any further on?!

Well, our take on this phrase is that essentially a tick in the box for science, fact and evidence over the assumed, ethereal or nebulous.

The implication is that if we understand then we can control.

It is an empowering message. If somewhat brutal.

The suggestion here is that if you are learned then you are in a better position to control your own destiny. You are not a leaf being blown hither and thither by the caprice of a weather front. You are not freefalling, rudderless or directionless.

You are a realist. You believe you are the captain of your own ship. You plot your own course. Sure, you are subject to storms, tsunamis and colossal squid just the same as anyone else might be. But the thing is here, you’ve done your research, looked at the charts, checked the weather and brought enough sprats with you to distract Squidney whilst you make your escape.

You do not believe you are at the mercy of fate. You believe you control your own destiny. And you do that through working hard, being thorough and taking the time to learn new stuff every day of your life.

As a talisman it is the anti-woowoo; or at least that is what Emma reckons!

1 in stock

Additional information

Piece of jewellery

Classic pendant, Three arm ring



Seal material


Seal shape

North south rounded rectangle

Seal colour

White / Clear


14.7 x 17.5 x 4.7mm


Excellent antique condition

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