In Philip K. Dick's novel Counter-Clock World, the following inscription is said to be written on the Anarch's tomb:

Sic igitur magni quoque circum moenia mundi
expugnata dabunt labem putresque ruinas.

What does it mean in English?

  • Google translation isn't much help: "So, then, around the walls of the world, too, of the great and rotten with the stain will be stormed and laid waste."
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 0:49

2 Answers 2


The quote is by Lucretius. In the translation of W.H. Mallock:

"So likewise the walls of the great universe assailed on all sides shall suffer decay, and fall into mouldering ruin."

--Book ii 1144, 1145, Lucretius on Life and Death: In the Metre of Omar Khayyam

  • Mallock's translation is easier to understand. Leonard's is more poetic.
    – user56
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 1:04
  • @Gilles I agree with you, this translation is easier to uderstand.
    – wip
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 3:14

This is a quote from Lucretius's De rerum natura, near the end of book II (lines 1144–1145).

In the translation by William Ellery Leonard:

Thus, too, the ramparts of the mighty world
On all sides round shall taken be by storm,
And tumble to wrack and shivered fragments down.

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