Even in the Garden [of Eden] there is a serpent.


New Member
This quote in both Latin and English is at the end of Inspector Morse episode "Ghost in the machine>" I heard something like "Ego in Arcadia ____[ a word I could not decipher, but it sounded like 'victri']" I thought the final word might be viper in Latin, but only vipera exists and it didn't sound like vipera.

It comes at the very end of the video and I presume it is in the book as well, but I don't have access to it. On the Internet I did find "Et in Arcadia ego" referring to a French pastoral painting depicting shepherds looking at an old gravestone. Wikipedia says it refers to death, but nothing about a serpent. I'd appreciate any help anyone can give. Thanks.


Civis Illustris
Hello Fredcfx,
following church latin (OLD Testament, genesis chapter), you could express it as:
Et in Paradiso/ Eden/ Horto Edenis serpens.
This is just a proposition, please wait for further suggestions.


New Member
eureka! A similar discussion is found at http://www.reddit.com/r/latin/comments/1iajtu/et_ego_in_arcadia_vixi_anyone_have_some_good/
The quote in the Inspector Morse episode is "Et Ego in Arcadia vixi!" referring to the devil or the principle of evil being even in the most idyllic placs. It fits the context of the episode and now that I know what it is I can hear it in the sound bite:

Thanks to all who read the question and the two or three wo submitted very intelligent suggestions!


New Member
The phrase "et ego in arcadia vixit" is also used in an unfinished novel by C. S. Forester, Hornblower in the Crisis, set about midway in his Horatio Hornblower series. It's uttered by a clergyman and convicted forger awaiting hanging who has been brought from his cell, explaining to Hornblower and several higher-ranking officials the intricacies involved in a good forgery and how neglecting one of them led to his apprehension. I suspect a liberal translation might be "...and I in the woods am captured."


Homo Sapiens
Staff member
I suspect a liberal translation might be "...and I in the woods am captured."
"am captured" makes no sense here. "vixi" means "I have lived". Also "et" here most likely means not "and", but "even". I don't think "arcadia" means "the woods" either, but I'm not fully sure what it does mean here.


Staff member
So, et ego in Arcadia vixi = "I too have lived in Arcadia".

Note that it should be vixi, not vixit (the latter would be wrong here).


New Member
Entirely possible on both counts. My copy of Hornblower During the Crisis is packed for a move, so I'm going from memory as to the quotation, and my Latin studies, such as they were, were long ago in a distant land. I do recall the context of the quote clearly, though. Hornblower and a pair of highly-placed government officials are discussing using a private letter from Napoleon to one of his commanders, taken from documents seized by Hornblower during a sea battle, as the basis for a forged command to be sent to create confusion in the French forces. The convicted forger, a defrocked clergyman, has been brought in as an expert on the subject. He has just finished explaining that a nearly perfect forgery may be detected if it is thrown into a pile of other letters from the same source, where trifling differences in the size and texture of the paper become glaring discrepancies. He finishes with the "arcadia" line, clearly lamenting on having been caught and brought to his present state, in chains and awaiting a date with the hangman. If you can find a copy of the book, the reference is presented along with several other short stories. It was compiled from fragments and notes for a novel that Forester never completed and is well under a thousand words. The scene with the forger is toward the end.