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QUAE SUPRA NOS, NIHIL
ad nos.[1]

What lies above us is none of our business

Emblema 101.

Caucasia aeternum pendens in rupe Prometheus[2]
Diripitur sacri praepetis ungue iecur.
Et nollet fecisse hominem: figulosque perosus
Accensam rapto damnat ab igne facem.
Roduntur variis prudentum pectora curis,
Qui caeli affectant scire, Deumque vices.

Suspended for ever from the Caucasian rock, Prometheus has his liver torn by the talons of the sacred bird. He could well wish he had not made man. Hating moulders of clay, he curses the torch lit from the stolen fire. - The hearts of the learned are gnawed by various cares, the learned who strive to know the vicissitudes of heaven and the gods.

Notes:

1.  See Erasmus, Adagia 569, Quae supra nos nihil ad nos.

2.  The Titan Prometheus appears in myth as the champion of men against the ill-will of Zeus. According to one account, he moulded man out of clay (hence the reference to figuli, lit. ‘potters’, in l.3). Again, when Zeus withheld fire from mortals, Prometheus ascended to heaven and stole fire from the chariot of the sun for the benefit of men. As a perpetual punishment, Prometheus was put in chains and suspended from a rock in the Caucasus, where an eagle, the sacred bird of Zeus, in the day-time consumed his liver, which renewed itself every night. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.82ff; Hesiod, Theogony 561ff.


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  • (symbolic) representations ~ creation, cosmos, cosmogony, universe, and life (in the broadest sense) [10] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • fire (one of the four elements) [21C] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Things Unknown, the Unknown (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51AA8(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Curiosity, Inquisitiveness, Desire of Knowledge; 'Curiosità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A12(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Punishment; 'Castigo', 'Pena', 'Punitione' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57BB13(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(CAUCASUS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Prometheus makes man out of clay, usually Minerva present [91E451] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Prometheus steals fire from the chariot of the sun [91E4521] Search | Browse Iconclass

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IN ASTROLOGOS.

Against astrologers.

Emblema 102.

Icare, per superos qui raptus, & aera, donec
In mare praecipitem cera liquata daret,[1]
Nunc te cera eadem, fervensque resuscitat[2] ignis[3]
Exemplo ut doceas dogmata certa tuo.
Astrologus caveat quicquam praedicere: praeceps
Nam cadet impostor dum super astra volat.[4]

Icarus, you were carried through the heights of heaven and through the air, until the melted wax cast you headlong into the sea. Now the same wax and the burning fire raise you up again, so that by your example you may provide sure teaching. Let the astrologer beware of prediction. Headlong will the imposter fall, as he flies beyond the stars

Notes:

1.  Cf. Anthologia graeca 16.107, a poem on a bronze statue of Icarus, translated by Alciato at Selecta epigrammata (Cornarius, ed.) p.333. Icarus and his father Daedalus (see [A15a012], n.) escaped from King Minos of Crete on wings of feathers and wax. Icarus was over-bold and flew too near the sun; when his wings melted, he crashed into the Icarian Sea and was drowned. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.183ff. Icarus, like Phaethon (see [A15a056]) was a type of those who do not keep to their proper station.

2.  Other versions read exsuscitat.

3.  ‘same wax...fire’: a reference to the cire perdue method of casting statues.

4.  Variant reading, super astra vehit, ‘rides beyond the stars’.


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