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In sordidos.

Disgusting people

Quae rostro clystere velut sibi proluit aluum
Ibis, Niliacis cognita littoribus,[1]
Transiit opprobrii in nomen, quo Publius hostem
Naso suum appellat, Battiadesque suum. [2]

The ibis, a bird familiar on the banks of the Nile, washes out its bowels using its beak like a syringe. ‘Ibis’ has become a term of insult. Publius Naso [Ovid] called his enemy Ibis; and the inhabitant of Battus’ town did the same.

Notes:

1.  For this information about the ibis, see Aelian, De natura animalium, 2.35; Cicero, De natura deorum, 2.126; Pliny, Natural History, 8.41.97.

2.  Battiades, ‘the inhabitant of Battus’ town’, i.e. the poet Callimachus, a native of Cyrene, a town founded by Battus. Ovid refers to Callimachus’ invective (not now extant) in his own poem Ibis, 53ff.


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  • enema, squirt (+ variant) [49G331(+0)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Impurity (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA63(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Insult; 'Ingiuria', 'Offesa' (Ripa) [57BB22] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(EGYPT)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(NILE)] 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(CALLIMACHUS)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Ovid representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(OVID)3] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Πῆ παρέβην; τί δ’ἔρεξας; τί μοι δέον, οὐκ
ἐτελέσθαι;

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

Italicae Samius sectae celeberrimus auctor[1]
Ipse suum clausit carmine dogma brevi.
Quo praetergressus? quid agis? quid omittis agendum,[2]
Hanc rationem urgens reddere quenque 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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