Rome wasn't built in a day
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Rome wasn't built in a day'?
The proverbial saying 'Rome wasn't built in a day' suggests that a complex task or great achievement takes time and effort and should not be rushed.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Rome wasn't built in a day'?
The earliest known version of this expression is found in the collection of mediaeval French poems Li Proverbe au Vilain, which was published around 1190:
Rome ne fu[t] pas faite toute en un jour
The expression is first found in English in Richard Taverner's translation from the Latin of Erasmus's Prouerbes, 1545:
Ye may use this prouerbe when ye wol signifie that one daye... is not ynoughe for... acheuinge... a great matter... Rome was not buylt in one day.
John Heywood's A Dialogue Conteinyng the Nomber in Effect of all the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue, was published within a few months and contained the same proveb:
Rome was not bylt on a daie (quoth he) & yet stood Tyll it was fynysht, as some saie, full fayre.
The proverb was well enough known for Queen Elizabeth I to have included it in a public address that she made on a visit to Cambridge in 1564:
"But this common saying has given me a certain amount of comfort - a saying which cannot take away, but can at least lessen, the grief that I feel; and the saying is, that Rome was not built in one day."
See also: the List of Proverbs.