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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G5r p105]

QUI SE NON NOVIT BELLUA EST
NON HOMO.[1]

ANYONE WHO DOES NOT KNOW HIMSELF IS A BEAST, NOT A MAN

Illud de coelo descendens ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΕΑΥΤΟΝ
In templo Delphis extat Apollineo.
Omnia cui cedant divini oracula Phoebi,
Ecquid enim melius, quid sapientius est?
Te ergo nisi noris Sunamitis,[2] bestia fies
Atque sequêre tuum Buccula facta gregem.

Descended from the sky, the commandment, ‘Know thyself’, stands in Delphi in the temple of Apollo. All divine Phoebus’ oracles defer to it, for what, indeed, is better or wiser? Therefore, Shunammite, if you don’t know yourself, you’ll be a beast, a little cow forced to follow her herd.

Notes:

1.  Image used is the same as Emblem 34 ([FANa034])

2.  This reference is unclear: the Shunammite (or Sunamite) woman was a rich widow from Shunem (northern Palestine), who welcomed Elisha into her home, and he later restored her son’s life (2 Kings, 4:8-37). She is a symbol of hospitality and not very relevant here. The name is also applied to two other women in the Bible, to Abishag, the young woman brought to court to soothe King David in his final days (1 Kings 1:3, 15; 2:17-22), and the Shulamite (Shunem is also spelled Shulam or Solam), the woman sought and lost by King Solomon (Song of Solomon, 6:10-13). Some traditions interpret this passage as the woman deciding her own fate and returning to her shepherd lover (perhaps even to David...a shepherd), thus placing her within the sphere of ‘knowing herself’, and being part of a ‘flock’...but this seems a bit obscure.



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