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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H2r p115]

Doctorum agnomina.[1]

Professors’ nicknames


Moris vetusti est, aliqua professoribus
Superadiici cognomina.
Faciles apertosque explicans tantum locos,
Canon vocatur Curtius.
Revolvitur qui eodem, & iterat qui nimis
Maeander,[2] ut Parisius.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H2v p116]Obscurus & confusus, ut Picus fuit,
Labyrinthus appellabitur.[3]
Nimis brevis, multa amputans, ut Claudius,
Mucronis agnomen feret.
Qui vel columnas voce erumpit,[4] Parpalus,
Dictus truo[5] est scholasticis.
Contrŕ est vocatus tenuis esset Albius
Quňd voce, vespertilio.[6]
At ultimas mutilans colobotes syllabas,
Hirundo Crassus dicitur.[7]
Qui surdus aliis solus ipse vult loqui,
Ut sturnus in proverbio est.
Hic blaesus, ille raucus, iste garriens:
Hic sibilat ceu vipera.
Tumultuatur ille rictu & naribus,
Huic lingua terebellam facit.
Singultit alius, atque tussit haesitans.
At conspuit alius, ut psecas.[8]
Quŕm multa rebus vitia in humanis agunt,
Tam multa surgunt nomina.

It’s an old custom for professors to be given nicknames. Curtius, the one who lectures only on easy and obvious passages, is called Straight and Narrow. The one who keeps going back to the same point and repeats everything too often is called Maeander, like Parisius. If he’s difficult to follow and muddled, like Picus, he’ll be called the Labyrinth. The one who is too concise, chops a lot off, like Claudius, will get the name of Clippers. Parpalus, who even cracks the pillars with his voice, gets the name of Pelican from the students. On the other hand, Albius who had a squeaky voice was called the Bat. Crassus, the mutilator, who mangles the ends of all his words is called the Swallow. The one who won’t listen and insists on talking himself is like the starling in the proverb. This one stammers, that one is hoarse, the third talks too fast, the other hisses like a snake. One grimaces with mouth and nostrils running riot, another has a tongue like a drill. One breaks off to cough and clear his throat, another sputters all over you like a dripping gutter. For every fault displayed in human behaviour a name arises to match.


1.  For the giving of nicknames to teachers cf. Lucian, Symposium, 6.

2.  Maeander, a river in Asia Minor famous for its meanderings.

3.  The Labyrinth: See Emblem 12, n.1 ([A91a012]).

4.  columnas voce rumpit, ‘even cracks the pillars with his voice’. Cf. Juvenal, Satires, 1.13: ‘the pillars cracked with continual recitations’.

5.  Truo, ‘Pelican’. See previous emblem..

6.  Vespertilio, ‘Bat’. See Emblems 61 and 62 ([A91a061], [A91a062]).

7.  Hirundo, ‘the Swallow’. Cf. Emblem 70 ([A91a070]). The Greeks compared the persistent twittering of the swallow to barbarian jabbering.

8.  psecas, ‘a dripping gutter’, a word explained in the Suda.

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