There is a quote in Kingdom of Heaven, when Balian explains to Liam Neeson's character the meaning of a phrase he has carved in wood in his workshop.

He says the meaning is "What man is a man who does not make the world better."

I have two questions regarding this phrase:

  1. In what language and alphabet is the phrase carved in the wood? Can you reproduce it here with a great degree of confidence?

  2. Was this phrase invented for the movie, or does it have a historical precedence? Does it appear elsewhere in literature or history?


1 Answer 1


The film script indicates that it's Latin

ODO, still eating his apple, sees: a LATIN PHRASE CUT DEEP INTO A BLACKENED BEAM (or painted, like a frieze, onto the plaster). He points with the sword.

That being the case, the translation would be

Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem

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  • Did you find the script online? Could you ad a reference to it? Thanks! Nov 23, 2015 at 0:12
  • @jotadepicas - Done and done
    – user7812
    Nov 23, 2015 at 0:15
  • 1
    As far as I can tell, the phrase was invented for the movie. I've seen references on wikiquotes suggesting that the DVD commentary confirms this but I've not yet located a copy.
    – user7812
    Nov 23, 2015 at 0:23
  • You might also want to adress the 2nd question, though. In its current form this seems to provide only half an answer (the less important/interesting half even, but that might be subjective).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Nov 23, 2015 at 9:33
  • 1
    @NapoleonWilson - Partial Answers deserve love too...
    – user7812
    Nov 23, 2015 at 9:46

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