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Inanis impetus.

Antagonism that achieves nothing

Lunarem noctu, ut speculum,[1] canis inspicit orbem:
Seque videns, alium credit inesse canem,[2]
Et latrat: sed frustra agitur vox irritas ventis,
Et peragit cursus surda Diana suos.[3]

A dog at night is looking into the moon’s disk as into a mirror and seeing himself, thinks there is another dog there; and he barks - but the sound is carried away, ineffectual, on the winds. Diana, unhearing, pursues her course.

Notes:

1.  For the theory of the moon’s disk as a mirror reflecting things on earth, see Plutarch, De facie in orbe lunae, Moralia, 920ff.

2.  Variant reading, altum credit inesse canem, ‘thinks there is a dog up there’.

3.  Diana is of course goddess of the moon.


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  • Inutility, Noxiousness; 'Nocumento', 'Nocumento d'ogni cosa' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54BB3(+4):56E3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Diana as moon-goddess, i.e. Luna (Selene) [92C371] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Dolus in suos.

Treachery against one’s own kind.

Altilis allectator anas, & caerula pennis
Adsueta ad dominos ire redire suos,
Congeneres cernens volitare per aera turmas
Garrit, in illarum se recipitque gregem,
Praetensa incautas donec sub retia ducat.
Obstrepitant captae, conscia at ipsa silet.
Perfida cognato se sanguine polluit ales,
Officiosa aliis, exitiosa suis.[1]

The well-fed decoy duck with its green-blue wings is trained to go out and return to its masters. When it sees squadrons of its relations flying through the air, it quacks and joins itself to the flock, until it can draw them, off their guard, into the outspread nets. When caught they raise a protesting clamour, but she, knowing what she has done, keeps silence. The treacherous bird defiles itself with related blood, servile to others, deadly to its own kind.

Notes:

1.  Cf. Aesop, Fables, 282, where the decoy birds are pigeons.


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