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Non vulganda consilia.

Keep counsels secret.

Limine quod caeco obscura & caligine monstrum[1]
Gnosiacis clausit Daedalus in latebris,
Depictum Romana phalanx in praelia gestat,
Semiviroque nitent signa superba[2] bove,
Nosque monent, debere ducum secreta[3] latere
Consilia, authori cognita techna nocet.

The monster that Daedalus imprisoned in its Cretan lair, with hidden entrance and obscuring darkness, the Roman phalanx carries painted into battle; the proud standards flash with the half-man bull. These remind us that the secret plans of leaders must stay hid. A ruse once known brings harm to its author.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B6r p27]

Tenir encloz secret.

Jadiz Romains firent portraire
Minotaurus en leur enseigne:
Dire en ce voulans, quon doibt taire
Secret de quelque part quil viegne:
Et affin que surce on compreigne
De te le [=tel] paincture la raison,
Nul nest vivant qui entrepreigne,
Tirer tel monstre hors sa maison.

Notes:

1. ‘The monster that Daedalus imprisoned’, i.e. the Minotaur, the half-man, half-bull monster kept in the famous Labyrinth at Knossos, which Daedalus, the Athenian master-craftsman, constructed for King Minos.

2. According to Pliny, Natural History 10.5.16, before the second consulship of Marius (104 BC) Roman standards bore variously eagles, wolves, minotaurs, horses and boars. Marius made the eagle universal.

3. Cf. Festus, De verborum significatu (135 Lindsay): the Minotaur appears among the military standards, because the plans of leaders should be no less concealed than was the Minotaur’s lair, the Labyrinth.


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Section: PRUDENTIA (Wisdom). View all emblems in this section.

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Vigilantia, & custodia.

Vigilance and protection

Instantis qud signa canens det gallus oi,
Et revocet famulas ad nova pensa manus:
Turribus in sacris effingitur, aerea mentem
Ad superos pelvis qud revocet vigilem,
Est leo. sed custos oculis quia dormit apertis:[1]
Templorum idcirco ponitur ante fores.

Because the cock by its crowing gives the signal of approaching dawn and recalls working hands to fresh tasks, it is placed on top of church towers. A bronze bell (is hung there) because it recalls the waking mind to heaven. But a lion is on guard because it sleeps with its eyes open. For that reason it is placed before church doors.

Notes:

1. oculis quia dormit apertis, ‘because it sleeps with its eyes open’. See Isidore, Etymologiae, 12.2.5: when lions are asleep, their eyes remain awake. See also Aelian, De natura animalium, 5.39.


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