That Motto

“Per aspera ad astra”??
Isn’t it the other way around:
“Ad astra per aspera”?
“To the Stars Through Difficulties,” The State Motto of Kansas.

Santa Cruz, California


From this column:

Can I declare a “no-flight zone” over my house?

Since Cecil wasn’t specifically quoting the Kansas motto, isn’t it correct either way? “Through difficulties, to the stars” means the same thing.

Actually, I’m sure our guest read a classic column posted today–

Does passionate kissing cause your chewing gum to disintegrate?. Now where, pray tell, did Cecil say this in that column. It’s pretty buried, but I’ll quote the relevant portion.


The Latin saying is quoted in History both ways. Win-win.

Thanks Samclem. My “yes” was about the Kansas motto. Didn’t know the provenance.

No. Latin, being a heavily inflected language, did not depend heavily on word order.

That’s why they could use chiasmus and zeugma (try finding that in the dictionary when you’re not certain how to spell it) and even the much maligned ablative absolute, which really is a handy little device.