Single Emblem View

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[n3v p198]

Sapientia humana stultitia
est apud Deum.[1]

The Wisdom of Man is folly to God

XXVII.

Quid dicam? quonam hoc compellem nomine monstrum?
Biforme quod non est homo, nec est draco:[2]
Sed sine vir pedibus, summis sine partibus anguis,
Vir anguipes dici, & homiceps anguis potest.
Anguem pedit homo, hominem eructavit & anguis,
Nec finis hominis est, initium nec est ferae.
Sic olim Cecrops[3] doctis regnavit Athenis,
Sic & gigantes terra mater protulit.
Haec vafrum species, sed relligione carentem,
Terrena tamtum quique curet,[4] indicat.

What shall I say? By what name call this monster? a two-fold thing that is neither man nor snake? A man without feet, a snake without its upper parts - this can be called a snake-footed man, a man-headed snake. The man farts a snake, the snake has vomited a man, the man has no end, the beast no beginning. In such a form did Cecrops once rule in learned Athens, in such a form did Mother Earth once bring forth the Giants. This is an image of clever men, but indicating one without religion, who cares only for the things of the earth.

Notes:

1.This epigram is based on Anthologia Graeca, 16.115-6, descriptions of a hippocentaur, the second of which was translated by Alciato at Sel. Ep. p.335. Metre: dactylic hexameters paired with iambic senarii.

2.Variant reading, ‘monstrum Biforme quod...’, ‘ two-fold monster that is neither ...’.

3.Cecrops, the mythical wise first king of Athens, the city of Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom. Cecrops, like the Giants (l.8) was born of the earth and was represented as half-man, half snake.

4.Terrena tantum quique curet, ‘who cares only for the things of earth’. See Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.20.9: the fact that the Giants’ bodies terminated as snakes shows that they had not a single thought that was right or elevated, but that their life in all its comings and goings tended to what was base.


Related Emblems

Show related emblems Show related emblems

Hint: You can set whether related emblems are displayed by default on the preferences page


Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

    Relating to the text:

    Hint: You can turn translations and name underlining on or off using the preferences page.

    Single Emblem View

    Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[O5r p217]

    Insignia PoŽtarum.

    Insignia of poets

    EMBLEMA CLXXXIII.

    Gentiles clypeos sunt qui in Iovis alite gestant,
    Sunt quibus aut serpens, aut leo, signa ferunt:
    Dira sed haec vatum fugiant animalia ceras,
    Doctaque sustineat stemmata pulcher Olor.
    Hic Phoebo sacer[1], & nostrae regionis alumnus:
    Rex olim[2], veteres servat adhuc titulos.

    Some have a family crest distinguished by the bird of Jove, for others the serpent or the lion provides the sign. But let these dread beasts flee from poets’ images; let the lovely swan support their learned clan. This bird is sacred to Phoebus and is a nursling of my homeland. A king once, it still preserves its ancient titles.

    Notes:

    1.‘sacred to Phoebus’, i.e. to the god of music and poetry (Apollo).

    2.‘a king once’. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.367ff. for the story of Cycnus, king of Liguria, turned into a swan and inhabiting the marshes and lakes of the plain of the Po (Alciato’s homeland).


    Related Emblems

    Show related emblems Show related emblems

    Hint: You can set whether related emblems are displayed by default on the preferences page


    Iconclass Keywords

    Relating to the image:

    Relating to the text:

    Hint: You can turn translations and name underlining on or off using the preferences page.

     

    Back to top