„Sic Parvis Magna“ is Latin and means something like „from the small to the great“. It is the life motto of Sir Francis Drake, a notorious english navigator. His motto perfectly describes his own life path. Drake was born in simple circumstances and reached the very highest circles in his life.
However, he was not a simple sailor, but also a pirate and privateer. He did not shy away from plundering, slave trading and murder to achieve his goals of becoming a „great“.
What does „Sic Parvis Magna“ mean in english? Meaning, definition, explanation, translation, Sir Francis Drake
Drake lived from 1540 to 1596 and grew up in a Protestant farming family in Great Britain. Early on, he had to earn his own money to support the family. At 13, he began his career as a ship’s boy. These beginnings describe his simple circumstances from which he came and from which he wanted to rise.
He was very ambitious and inquisitive. After the death of his then captain, who was teaching him, he took over his ship. However, he had to sell it quickly for financial reasons.
On his first big sea voyage he went on behalf of his cousin as a purser as far as Spain. There he also made his first experiences as a privateer. English pirates and privateers often acted on behalf of the English crown.
The special hunting ground of Drake became the Portuguese and Spanish ships. He also participated extensively in the Atlantic Triangle trade, the slave trade between Europe, Africa and America. On the west coast of Africa, goods were exchanged for slaves, which were then sold in the Caribbean.
Pirate in the service of the Queen: Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake also had great successes in raids and sea battles and thus recommended himself to the English queen – Elizabeth I. Among the Spaniards he soon became known as „El Draque“ – the Dragon. They feared him and his raids in the Spanish Caribbean. The relationship between Britain and Spain continued to deteriorate, including Drake’s raids.
In 1573, Drake returned to England, intending to embark on a great voyage. Where exactly he wanted to travel to is no longer known today. However, what became of it in the end was the second known circumnavigation of the world in seafaring.
Afterwards, he returned to England via detours, not without plundering and capturing extensively. He was received by his queen, who good-naturedly called him a scoundrel. Nevertheless, she had him knighted.
Drake thus received his reward for his services to the English crown.
Naval war against the Spaniards
After his knighthood, however, something unthinkable happened: Sir Francis Drake, pirate and privateer in the service of the Crown, settled down. He bought estates in Plymouth and became one of the largest landowners there. However, he still undertook further privateering voyages.
He also opposed the Spanish invasion, which Philip II ordered after the execution of Mary Stuart. Here Drake proved himself once again. The naval battle lasted ten days, during which the Spanish suffered heavy losses.
Drake also sailed in the counter-armada in 1589. However, this attempt to gain a position of supremacy for England on the world’s seas failed dramatically. As a result, Drake lost his standing with the queen.
The last foray
After the dramatic failure of the counter-armada, Drake spent some time as a member of parliament. He set out on his last foray in 1595, at the age of 55. It was a foray against the Spanish settlers in the Caribbean. However, Mr. Francis Drake was never to return from this foray.
On January 28, 1596, he died on board his ship. Not in a battle, however, but from a disease – dysentery.
He died as he lived. His body was given to the sea.
Even today Sir Francis Drake is known and famous in England. He will forever be remembered there as a lovable rogue who is nonetheless revered. Just as the queen held.
Sic Parvis Magna: meaning, translation, explanation in german
The path of Sir Francis Drake is a reflection of his life’s motto. From a peasant, he worked his way up until he was in the service of the queen and even knighted. Surely no one would have expected that at his birth. From the very bottom, i.e. from the very small, he worked his way up to the top, to the great. All by his own efforts and without the support of names or family.
Today we see his methods and procedures certainly more critical than his contemporaries at that time. Slave trade, murders, rapes – for Sir Francis Drake this was part of everyday life. At that time, this was completely normal, even if Sir Francis Drake certainly belonged to the more brutal contemporaries.
For us today, his actions are simply brutal and inhumane. Especially the slave trade is no longer understandable for us today. To own a human being, to sell him on, that seems incomprehensible to us. At that time, however, it was quite a normal procedure.
Even though Sir Francis Drake’s approach certainly doesn’t fit into our modern times, he still made his way and is one of the most famous Englishmen to this day. He fulfilled his life’s motto and at the end of his life had achieved everything he dreamed of. He should not be seen with today’s eyes, but in connection with the time he came from. At least he made it, went from a small to a great and died a great and remained unforgettable.
The romantic image as a „pirate in the service of the English queen“ is certainly not all that Drake’s life encompassed. To achieve this goal he was broad to do even terrible things. However, it is too easy to fall for this image and ideal that he portrayed.