Festina Lente

Stemming from the time of Roman Emperor Augustus, the maxim “Festina Lente” encourages a harmony between urgency and careful deliberation. This philosophy, meaning “Make haste slowly,” has left its mark on diverse fields from the arts to strategic planning.


  • Latin maxim: Means “Make haste slowly.”
  • Attributed to Roman Emperor Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD).

Historical Context

  • Commonly used during the Renaissance.
  • Emphasizes the balance between urgency and caution.

Symbolic Representations

  • Often depicted as a dolphin wrapped around an anchor.
  • Dolphin: Symbol of swiftness.
  • Anchor: Symbol of stability and caution.

Philosophical Implications

  • Balancing act between action and reflection.
  • Suggests efficiency comes from a combination of speed and careful deliberation.

Practical Application

  • Advocates for meticulous planning followed by decisive action.
  • Encourages avoiding recklessness in the pursuit of a goal.

Modern Usage

  • Cited in various contexts such as literature, business strategies, and personal development.
  • Utilized to advise against rushing blindly into situations.

Related Concepts

  • The Tortoise and the Hare – Aesop’s fable highlighting the value of persistence and consistent effort over speed.
  • “Measure twice, cut once” – Proverb emphasizing the importance of careful planning before taking action.

Criticisms and Counterpoints

  • Some argue that in certain contexts, rapid action without much deliberation is necessary.
  • There’s a potential risk of over-planning or overthinking, leading to paralysis by analysis.