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SUBMOVENDAM IG-
norantiam.

Ignorance must be done away with

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Quod monstrum id? sphinx[1] est, cur candida virginis ora,
Et volucrum pennas, crura leonis habet?
Hanc faciem assumpsit rerum ignorantia, tanti
Scilicet est triplex causa, & origo mali.
Sunt quos ingenium leve, sunt quos blanda voluptas,
Sunt & quos faciunt corda superba rudes.
At quibus est notum quid Delphici litera[2] possit,
Praecipitis monstri guttura dira secant.
Namque vir ipse, bipesque, tripesque, & quadrupes idem est
Primaque prudentis laurea nosse virum.

What monster is that? - It is the Sphinx. - Why has it the bright face of a maiden, the wings of birds, the legs of a lion? - Ignorance has assumed this form, because the cause and origin of this great evil is threefold. There are some whom frivolity makes ignorant, others the blandishments of pleasure, still others arrogance. But those who are aware of the force of the Delphic letter, these cut the dread throat of the lowering monster. For man himself is two-legged, three-legged, four-legged, one and the same, and the first victory of the wise is to know the man.

Notes:

1.  The Sphinx was a monster which lay in wait on the road to Thebes and killed all travellers who could not answer its riddle: What goes on four legs in the morning, two at mid-day, three at evening? Oedipus destroyed the monster by giving the correct answer, ‘Man’ (i.e the baby crawls on all fours , the youth walks upright on his two legs, the old man requires a stick). See below, 1.9 (Namque vir ipse...). See also Erasmus, Adagia 1209, Boeotica aenigmata.

2.  ‘the Delphic letter’, i.e. the letter E. See Plutarch, De E apud Delphos, an essay which discusses various explanations put forward for the ‘E’, a letter cast in bronze. At the end of the essay (392ff.), the letter is brought into connection with the inscription Gnothi sauton, ‘Know thyself’ (cf. 1.10), which greeted those who came to consult the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. See also Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.6.6.


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Ex bello pax.

Peace succeeding to war

XLV.

En galea intrepidus quam miles egesserat, & quae
Saepius hostili sparsa cruore fuit.
Parta pace apibus tenuis concessit in usum,
Alveoli atque favos grataque mella gerit.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [e8v p80]Arma procul iaceant, fas sit tunc sumere bellum.
Quando aliter pacis non potes arte frui.[1]

See here a helmet which a fearless soldier previously wore and which was often spattered with enemy blood. After peace was won, it retired to be used as a narrow hive for bees; it holds honey-combs and nice honey. - Let weapons lie far off; let it be right to embark on war only when you cannot in any other way enjoy the art of peace.

COMMENTARIA.

Adstat galea, quae olim in bello feroci ser-
viebat militi, atque hostili saepe sanguine ma-
culata fuerat, eadem nunc pacis tempore, ef-
fecta est habitaculum sive alveolus apum, fa-
vis & melle repleta (ut mihi videtur ex Ger-
mania
ad Lusitaniam translata, ibi nanque fre-
quentia bella, hîc veṛ pacifica & tranquilla
omnia). Similiter etiam ex rugienti voracissi-
moque leone, quem postquam Samson discer-
pserat, suavissimus mellis cibus exivit, unde
ipse conveniens aenigma proposuit, de co-
medente exivit cibus & de forti egressa est
dulcedo, in lib. Iudicum cap. 14. Abiicienda
igitur, quiniṃ abominanda, damni-
fera & crudelia bella, nec nisi
tunc demum assumenda ar
ma, quando in pace
nullo modo vi-
vere conce-
ditur.

Notes:

1.  Cf. Anthologia graeca, 6.236, where bees nest in what were once the beaks (projections at the prow) of war-galleys.


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