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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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Πῆ παρέβην; τί δ’ἔρεξα; τί μοι δέον οὐκ ἐτελέσθῆ;

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

EMBLEMA XVII.

Italicae Samius sectae celeberrimus auctor[1]
Ipse suum clausit carmine dogma brevi:
Qu praetergressus? quid agis? quid omittis agendum?[2]
Hanc rationem urgens reddere quemque 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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