For ten years hast thou climbed hither unto my cave: thou wouldst have wearied of thy light and of the journey, had it not been for me, mine eagle, and my serpent.

Found this in Nietzche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra and I was wondering what it meant. Hither means "to or toward this place" and unto means "to", so what does "hither unto" mean? I am a little bit confused. Could it be possible that unto means something else here? Even if it meant "until" or "by" it would not make much sense.

  • 3
    You found it in an English translation of that German-language work, Also Sprach Zarathustra. Jan 25, 2019 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


Those are two different (archaic) prepositions, not a collocation.

For ten years you have climbed here to my cave.

hither (from-elsewhere-herewards)

  • Ah, ok, so hither means here and unto means to? Jan 25, 2019 at 15:02
  • Ah, wait the definition means "to this place" or "toward this place", or simply "here". I read it as being "to" or "toward this place". Jan 25, 2019 at 15:06
  • It's more of an adverb than a preposition. It modifies the verb, implying motion in a direction.
    – Robusto
    Jan 25, 2019 at 15:07
  • Hither is "to here", and is one of a threefold set of forms: "hither", "here", "hence". "Hence" means "from here", and survives largely in mathematical and similar contexts. There were similar groupings for "there" ("thither", "thence") and "where" ("whither", "whence").
    – Darael
    Jan 25, 2019 at 18:05

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