"I feed on evil" or De mal me paists was recorded by Plutarch sometime between 46 and 125 A.D. Plutarch was a prolific writer who lived in Greece before and after it was sacked by Rome. His essays, collectively titled the Moralia, and his biographical work made him a respected thinker and moralist in the Roman golden age. Plutarch's most notable work, Parallel Lives is a monstrous tome which chronicles the charcter of men and provides lessons and insight into human nature. The folio titled De mal me paists depicts a basket or cauldron seemingly suspended in air with dozens of human limbs dangling from the bottom while fire and blood spew from its open end. The caption underneath is loosely translated as "Ventose, by it's fire and application draws only blood, and the meschant in his heart does not retain what he chooses". It was not included in Parallel Lives, but it is clearly a caution of some kind.

Plutarchian wisdom has been venerated throughout centuries, having influenced notable figures such as Beethoven, Shakespeare, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is partially the reason that so many things he or his contemporary scholars wrote became a quotation for the ages. E Pluribus Unum, the great seal motto of the United States, pro bono meaning "for the public good", carpe diem, seize the day, have survived in common English vernacular as well as Latin phrases that are barely recognized as such anymore like et cetera, A.D.(anno Domini), a.m.(ante meridiem), p.m.(post meridiem), p.s.(post scriptum) and versus.

The use of Latin phrases enjoyed a particularly strong popularity between 1300 and 1500. At that time it was common for any noble house to adopt a crest and a motto such as Malo mori quam foedari or "I would rather die than be dishonored". It has been speculated that the trend started on the battlefield by knights shouting such proclamations to each other before a charge.

The use of Latin mottoes is practiced all over America in every state, many towns and most universities, however, no one has claimed De mal me paists yet.