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Polish Language/Article translation for "Semper Invicta"


Would you be kind enough to help me with the translation of this article?

I'm trying to find out when "Semper Invicta" became the motto of the city of Warsaw, and I've found this article about it:

The full text of the article is: 'Semper invicta (łac. Zawsze niezwyciężona) - dewiza miasta stołecznego Warszawy. 9 listopada 1939 która decyzją naczelnego wodza generała dywizji Władysława Sikorskiego, została wraz z orderem Virtuti Militari dodana do herbu Warszawy "w uznaniu bohaterskiego, wytrwałego męstwa dowiedzionego przez ludność stołecznego miasta Warszawy w obronie przeciw najazdowi niemieckiemu".'

As I understand it from the article, "Semper Invicta" became the motto of Warsaw on the 9th of November 1939. Is that right? I'm a writer, and it's quite important to the plot of the short story I'm writing that "Semper Invicta" was the motto of Warsaw by late 1940.

Thank you so much for your time.

Best wishes,


Dear Minnie,

I think that the translation is not necessary as you have understood
perfectly well the main point of the text.(*) Despite the fact, that the
Polish text badly needs correcting into proper Polish.

I can see that you have posted the same mesage on another forum and have already obtained an answer.

I have found the other post of yours because as a rule I never trust the
information from Wikipedia if it does not quote any sources. And the more I
doubt it if it is formulated in a "cripped Polish". So I was looking for the
source information about the facts (the date), rather than for the
translation. The translation given in Polishforum has also some flaws (one
does not write 'Virtutti' but 'Virtuti Militari'), but the comment is
correct: the divisional general(*) Władysław Sikorski, the first Prime Minister
of the Polish Government in Exile and the Commander in Chief of the Polish
Army (Wódz Naczelny) was already in France by the 9th of November and the
battles of September Campaign were over.

(*) equivalent to general-major of Anglo-American armies.
(NB. Check every information taken from Wikipedia against a more reliable

Instead of asking those who have translated for you the text from Wikipedia:
'So, I am correct that it was awarded on the 9th of November 1939? That is
the right date?' you should have asked some historian. Which I am not.
The person who has answered you 'yes you are correct' has been wrong in one
point, he/she has not understood your question. You've been asking about the
date - and gumishu has answered about your understanding of the text from
Wikipedia. But she/he has been right in one point, your original request has
been for a translation - so you have received an answer about the meaning of
the text to be translated. But you should be aware that you have never
received the answer you need. So you'd rather still be perplexed.

Instead of providing for you yet another translation of this highly dubious
text from Wikipedia, let me comment on some other issues, assuming
provisionally that the information about the 9th of November 1939 is

Was the fact already well known in Warsaw by 1940? (That seems to me to be
the main point for you). One may doubt, Warsaw was under German occupation
and Germans certainly weren't eager to broadcast such an information. On the
other hand, the Polish underground press was already printed (even if in
small number of copies) and distrubuted hand-to-hand, so the fact might have
been published and known to a fraction of the population. As this motto
could be important for the morale of the inhabitants of Warsaw during the
time of German occupation: 'many times conquered yet never ultimately
conquered'(**), efforts to make it widely known could have been made by the
Polish Resistance Army and the Polish Government in Exile - Polish
Underground Government (***).

(**) Compare Horace: 'Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit' and its common
paraphrase: 'Graecia victa victorem vicit' (at least, common in Poland, as
it appears in Polish school manuals of Latin since 1920-ies).

(***) I have no time now to check since when the name 'Delegatura Rządu na Kraj'
was used and which names of the government and resistance army were used in
1940, you have to check it with a good historian (or else trust Wikipedia).

Yet, it ('Semper invicta' as the motto of Warsaw) is not so widely known
in Poland even now, as I have to admit (with a dose of shame)
that myself I haven't known about the issue before your question.
I have heard once or twice the words "Semper invicta" in the
context of Warsaw somewhere, and sometimes, but I was unaware that it is its
motto. It seems to me that it might have been modelled on the motto of Lwów
(Lvov, Lviv): '[Leopolis] Semper fidelis', which the latter city had used
during the Polish times (don't ask me since when and until when), and on the
Rome's motto 'Roma invicta'.

The coat of arms of Warsaw that is known to everybody in Poland
is the one above, without the motto. It is of daily use and it is printed in
school manuals, on maps etc. The Grand Coats of Arms seems to me unknown.
Anyhow, it was adopted as such only in 2004 (if we are to trust the
Wikipedia, again), and is probably used only for some highly ceremonial

So, if you really want to know the date, I advice that you rather ask at
Warsaw Rising Musem, or another historical research
institution (Why not try with Prof. Norman Davies, an unquestioned authority on
Warsaw history and the IInd World War? I have had the oportunity and the
honour to meet him twice during some public lecture and a meeting with
students - he is a very open person, indeed).



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Maciej St. Zięba


I am native Polish and from time to time I teach Polish to foreigners. I know (passively of actively) more than 15 other languages - so I can answer many questions concerning Polish grammar, pronounciation, spelling, etymology and usage - as compared to English, French, German, Russian, Dutch, Esperanto or Norwegian. Also questions concerning other Slavic languages, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, or general linguistics, especially scripts (writing systems and transcriptions) - are welcome.


Teaching English, French, and Esperanto to Poles, Polish to foreigners, teaching Sanskrit, Mandarin Chinese, Classical Chinese and Tibetan. Tour Guide in English, French, Russian and German. Former President of the Regional Examination Committee for Tourist Guides (English and French)(1999-2005).

Polish Oriental Society (since 1979); International Association of Buddhist Studies (since 1986); Klingon Language Institute (since 1986); Learned Society of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (since 1989); Polish Philosophical Association (since 1997); Universala Esperanto-Asocio (since 1978).

Books: "Origin of the World According to Rigveda" (Montreal 1996); "Our River Bug. Creating Conditions for Development of the Border Areas of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus through Enhancement and Preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage" (Lublin 2008); "Migration - a Challenge to the 21st century" (Lublin 2008); "Migracja zarobkowa do Woch" (Job migration to Italy) (Lublin 2008); more than 100 articles in "Powszechna Encyklopedia Filozofii" (Universal Encyclopedia od Philosophy) vol. 1-10 (Lublin 2000-2009); many more in Polish, some of them available online, see: here and here (a list up to 2012.

Studying philosophy at Catholic University of Lublin (Poland) 1976-81; PhD in Philosophy (1989). Having learned languages in Gdansk and Gdynia (Russian, Esperanto, Latin, English - International Bacalaureate), Lublin (KUL - French, German, Dutch, Sanskrit, Latin, Ancient Greek; UMCS - Chinese, Japanese; elsewhere - Esperanto, Spanish, Italian), Paris (IIAP - French; INALCO - Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese; Sorbonne - Sanskrit), Asker (Norwegian, while working in a kindergarten!), Montreal (McGill - Chinese); Rome and Venice (Italian); Taichung, Taiwan (Chinese), Shimla, India (sanskrit). Self-taught: Slavic languages (other than Polish and Russian), Hungarian, Korean, Vietnamese, Klingon and several other.

Awards and Honors
2012 Golden Medal of Civil Service of Poland; 2012-13 Taiwan Fellowship - Tunghai University (Taichung)

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