The College Coat of Arms

ARMS    

Per pale Gules and Or on a chevron between three roses two pears all counterchanged the roses barbed and seeded proper.

CREST       

On a wreath of the colours in front of a representation of an arch in Iffley Church two rods of Aesculapius in saltire proper surmounted by a torch or inflamed proper.

MOTTO

Humani nil alienum

The arms echo those of Sir Isaac Wolfson. The heraldic language, unpunctuated since it is a legal document, describes a shield divided down the middle into red (left) and yellow (right), overlaid by a chevron divided in the opposite way, into yellow (left) and red (right). Distributed symmetrically over shield and chevron are three roses with their thorns and seeds in natural colours, and two pears, each flower or fruit being coloured red if the background is yellow, and yellow if it is red.

Above the shield is a knightly helmet, the crest above its red and yellow banded wreath symbolising the College’s origins and aspirations: the Norman arch of the west door of Iffley Church for Iffley College which it incorporates, the crossed staffs with serpent of the Greco-Roman god of healing for Sir Isaac’s gift to medical research, a yellow torch with natural-coloured flame for the pursuit of knowledge.

The Latin motto expresses the College’s ideal of intellectual curiosity in humanity, which embraces the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It is part of a well-known line by the Roman playwright Terence: homo sum; humani nil alienum a me puto. ‘I am a human being; in my opinion nothing to do with human beings is foreign to me.’

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