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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G3v p102]

Πῆ παρέβην? τί δ’ἔρεξα? τί μοι δέον, οὐκ ἐτελέσθῆ.
Lapsus ubi? quid feci? aut officii quid
omissum est?

Where have I transgressed? What have I committed? What thing incumbent on me has been left undone?

EMBLEMA XVII.

Italicae Samius sectae celeberrimus auctor[1]
Ipse suum clausit carmine dogma brevi:
Quò praetergressus? quid agis? quid omittis agendum?[2]
Hanc rationem urgens reddere quemque sibi.
Quod didicisse gruum volitantum ex agmine fertur,
Arreptum gestant quae pedibus lapidem:[3]
Ne cessent, neu transversas mala flamina raptent.
Qua ratione hominum vita regenda fuit.

The famous Samian founder of the Italian sect himself put his essential teaching into a short verse: Where have you overstepped the mark? What are you doing? What are you leaving undone that ought to be done? - urging each man to make this reckoning in his own mind. He is said to have learnt this from a skein of flying cranes, which seize a stone and carry it in their claws, to prevent themselves from making no headway, and to stop adverse gusts of wind carrying them off course. Man’s life was ever to be lived on this principle.

Notes:

1.  Italicae Samius sectae...autor, ‘Samian founder of the Italian sect’, i.e. Pythagoras. Born in Samos, he emigrated in 531 BC to Croton in South Italy, where he founded a religious/philosophical sect.

2.  This is a version of the Greek text in the motto, which is recorded in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers, 8.20.

3.  Cranes wisely carrying stones as ballast are likened to men of foresight in Suidas (i.e, the Suda), s.v. geranos. Other reasons were suggested by ancient writers for this habit.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B3v p22]

Νῆφε, καὶ μέμνησ’ἀπιστεῖν. ἄρθρα ταῦτα τῶν φρενῶν.
Sobrius esto, & memineris non temerè
credere: haec sunt membra mentis.

Live soberly; do not believe readily. These are the sinews of the mind.

EMBLEMA XVI.

Ne credas, ne (Epicharmus ait[1]) non sobrius esto:
Hi nervi humanae membraque mentis erunt.
Ecce oculata manus[2], credens id, quod videt: ecce
Pulegium antiquae sobrietatis olus:
Quo turbam ostenso sedaverit Heraclitus,[3]
Mulserit & tumida seditione gravem.

Don’t give easy credence; don’t be intemperate. So said Epicharmus, and these maxims will prove the sinews and limbs of man’s mind. See here a hand with an eye, believing what it can see. See the pennyroyal, the plant of ancient soberness. By showing it, Heraclitus calmed the mob and milked it when heavy with bursting sedition

Notes:

1.  Epicharmus ait, ‘So said Epicharmus’. The saying is quoted in Polybius, The Histories, 18.40.

2.  oculata manus, ‘a hand with an eye’. See Plautus, Asinaria, 202: ‘our hands always have eyes - seeing is believing for them’; Erasmus, Adagia, 73 (Oculatae manus).

3.  turbam...sedaverit Heraclitus, ‘Heraclitus calmed the mob’. For this incident concerning the sixth-century BC philosopher Heraclitus, see Plutarch, De garrulitate, 511C: when faced with a discordant mob, Heraclitus said nothing but took a cup of cold water, sprinkled on barley-meal and stirred it with a sprig of pennyroyal. Pennyroyal represents modest fare, contentment and control. Cf. Emblem 187 ([A21a187]), line 8. Heraclitus lived on a diet of herbs. For his pessimistic view of life see Emblem 152 ([A21a152]).


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  • Precaution (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A24(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Folly, Foolishness; 'Pazzia', 'Sciocchezza', 'Stoltitia' (Ripa) [52AA51] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Carefulness, Diligence; 'Diligenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A2(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Temperance, Moderation; 'Misura' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A43(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • male persons from classical history (with NAME) representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(EPICHARMUS)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Heraclitus, the philosopher representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(HERACLITUS)3] Search | Browse Iconclass

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