Animus in consulendo liber

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Motto on the left wall at NATO headquarters in Brussels, 2013

Animus in consulendo liber (Latin: "A mind unfettered in deliberation") is the official motto of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),[1] originating from The Conspiracy of Catiline (52, 21) by Roman historian Sallust where it was translated by Charles Anthon as "a mind unfettered in deliberation".[2] The motto was chosen by the Dean of the NATO Council André de Staercke to reflect the spirit of consultation envisioned by the then-Secretary General of NATO Paul-Henri Spaak.[1] De Staercke borrowed the quote when he recalled his visit to the Palace of the Chief Magistrate in San Gimignano, where "animus in consulendo liber" was engraved on the Magistrate's seat.[1] The motto is displayed on the wall of the main Council Room at NATO headquarters in Brussels, behind the chairman's seat[1] (with the New Latin letter U instead of V used in Classical Latin).

The motto's original context by Sallust, who cites Cato the Younger's address to the Roman Senate, is: "But there were other qualities which made them [our forefathers] great, which we do not possess at all: efficiency at home, a just rule abroad, in counsel an independent spirit free from guilt or passion" (Latin: "Sed alia fuere, quae illos magnos fecere, quae nobis nulla sunt: domi industria, foris iustum imperium, animus in consulendo liber, neque delicto neque lubidini obnoxius").[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Animus in consulendo liber". NATO. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  2. Sallust, Charles Anthon (1838). Jugurthine war, and, Conspiracy of Catiline: with an English commentary, and geographical and historical indexes. Harper. p. 282. 
  3. "The War With Catiline by Sallust published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1921 (revised 1931)". LacusCurtius. Retrieved 23 March 2015.