Ad Utrumque : Does the Seal of Lund University Suggest a Preparation for Fighting the Evil Danes or a Preparation to Consider the Opposing Viewpoint?

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Ad utrumque (paratus), latin for “prepared for both”, is the motto of Lund University. When the University was founded in 1666 its primary mission was to secure the southern provinces of Scania to the Swedish king. Scania had previously belonged to Denmark, but the peace settlement of 1658 made them part of Sweden. The seal of the university also shows the carolingian lion reading a book while holding a sword. The motto is usually interpreted as referring to the need for physical and spiritual exercises, encouraging students to defend the country as part of the military and to teach the population the Swedish language as clergy preaching in Swedish.
I would suggest an alternative interpretation of the motto, a reference to the rhetorical tradition which ever since the antilogos of Protagoras has emphasized the need to be prepared to consider the opposing viewpoint. This sophistic ideal has been at the center of rhetorical education, sometimes framed as the need to consider the devil’s advocate. Thus interpreted the motto of Lund University would encourage faculty and students to consider the opposing viewpoint after a period of war and bloodshed, thus seeking reconciliation with the former enemies. If ad utrumque is a reference to the rhetorical tradition the exhortation to consider the opposing viewpoint might also have a message to contemporary situations where countries meet at a border with potential conflicts.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Historia
  • Kommunikationsvetenskap


StatusUnpublished - 2014
Peer review utfördJa
EvenemangThe 16th Biennial Rhetoric Society of America Conference - San Antonio, TX, USA
Varaktighet: 2014 maj 222014 maj 26


KonferensThe 16th Biennial Rhetoric Society of America Conference
OrtSan Antonio, TX