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

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B5r p25]

Prudens, magis quàm

Wise head, close mouth.

Noctua Cecropiis[1] insignia praestat Athenis,
Inter aves sani Noctua consilii.
Armiferae meriṭ obsequiis sacrata Minervae est,
Garrula quo cornix cesserat antè loco.[2]

The owl provides the symbol for Athens, Cecrops’ city, for among the birds the owl is known for wise counsel. Deservedly was it dedicated to the service of weapon-bearing Minerva, in the place vacated by the chattering crow.


1.  Cecrops was a legendary wise early king of Athens, a city renowned as a place of learning. See above, Emblem 5 ([A50a005]), line 7.

2.  garrula quo cornix cesserat, ‘vacated by the chattering crow’. The crow was dismissed from Athena’s service for telling tales, and was replaced by the owl. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 2.562-5. This story is represented in Aneau, ‘Periculum in terra, periculum in mari’ ([FANa029]).

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