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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Frederick III.

  • [Emperor of Germany; born 1415; elected emperor, 1440; crowned at Rome, 1452; was incapable of successfully defending the empire against Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, who took possession of Vienna and Croatia, 1485; died 1493.]
  • A. E. I. O. U.

  • These vowels, which Frederick stamped upon coins and medals, and inscribed upon public buildings, were originally used at the coronation of his predecessor Albert II., in the sense, “Albertus Electus Imperator Optamus Vivat.” The motto was changed, after the coronation of Frederick III. at Aix-la-Chapelle, to “Archidux Electus Imperator Optime Vivat.” The librarian of Leopold I. saw a manuscript of Frederick’s in which a German version was given, “Aller Ehren Ist Oesterreich Voll” (Austria is crowned with all honor); and the emperor removed an unflattering inscription in the Burg, “Aller Erst Ist Oesterreich Verdorben.” As, however, there was no generally accepted motto for these letters, learned men amused their leisure in fitting words to the vowels: one of them, Rasch, organist of the Schottencloster, about 1580, discovered two hundred possible applications. Three of them are well known in Germany: “Austriæ Est Imperare Orbi Universo;” “Austria Erit In Orbe Ultima;” and, “Alles Erdreich Ist Oesterreich Unterthan.” The last may be rendered in English, “Austria’s Empire Is Overall Universal.”
  • John, Elector of Saxony, called “the Steadfast” (der Beständige) had a motto, “Verbum Dei Manet In Æternum” (The word of God endures throughout eternity), the initials of which, V.D.M.I.Æ., he had engraved, says Carlyle, “on all the furniture of his existence, on his standards, pictures, plate, on the very sleeves of his lackeys, and, I can perceive, on his own deep heart first of all.”—Frederick II., III. 5.
  • Ulric von Württemberg, an Imperialist general (1617–71), had the initials of the following words embroidered on his livery: “Gottes Wort Bleibt Ewig” (God’s word lasts forever).