Rome wasn't built in a day
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Rome wasn't built in a day'?
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 expression, (as "Rome was not built in one day") is given in English in (c. 1538), while Queen Elizabeth referred to the idea in Latin in an address at Cambridge in 1563. The present perfect and oratio recta version of the Latin saying—the version one would use for a stand-alone quotation—would be Roma uno die non est condita.
The proverb was well enough known for Queen Elizabeth I to have in cluded 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.