Sic Parvis Magna is the Latin motto of the famous privateer of Queen Elisabeth, Sir Francis Drake. The phrase roughly translates to “Greatness From Small Beginnings” or “Thus, Great Things From Small Things Come.”
It was recently popularized by the Uncharted series, where players are following the story of Nathan Drake, a descendant of the notorious pirate. Nathan is in possession of a family heirloom, a ring from Sir Francis Drake, which has the motto “Sic Parvis Magna” engraved in it.
The popularity of the video game has led to several gamers researching about the origins and meaning of the Latin phrase.
“Sic Parvis Magna”, or “Greatness From Small Beginnings” has been around for millennia. The phrase itself first appears in a similar form in the work of ancient Roman poet, Virgil, who included the expression in his First Eclogue, in the twentieth line.
The original quote goes as follows: “Sic parvis componere magna solebam:”, translating to “Thus I used to arrange small things into great things”
This ancient quote was adopted as the motto of Queen Elisabeth’s number one explorer and personal pirate, Sir Francis Drake, who was the most successful privateer of the 16th century. This legendary persona served as an ancestor for the fictional character Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series of Naughty Dog studios, who possesses a ring, with the Latin inscription.
The first Uncharted title was released for the PlayStation console in 2007, with several games in the series following in the subsequent years. In these games, players are led on an adventure, playing as Nathan Drake, a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, the legendary pirate.
The ring of Drake, included in the video games, has led many fans of the series to speculate and research about the origins of the quote, eventually finding the meaning and story of “Sic Parvis Magna.”
The quote itself is a perfect example, how an ancient expression may be adopted and popularized in modern contexts, thanks to the use of popular media, such as video games.