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Inanis impetus.

Antagonism that achieves nothing


Lunarem noctu, ut speculum,[1] canis inspicit orbem,
Seque videns, alium credit inesse canem,[2]
Et latrat: sed frustra agitur vox irrita ventis,
Et peragit cursus surda Diaaa [=Diana] suos.[3]

A dog at night is looking into the moon’s disk as into a mirror and seeing himself, thinks there is another dog there; and he barks - but the sound is carried away, ineffectual, on the winds. Diana, unhearing, pursues her course.


1. For the theory of the moon’s disk as a mirror reflecting things on earth, see Plutarch, De facie in orbe lunae, Moralia, 920ff.

2. Variant reading, altum credit inesse canem, ‘thinks there is a dog up there’.

3. Diana is of course goddess of the moon.

Iconclass Keywords

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Relating to the text:

  • Inutility, Noxiousness; 'Nocumento', 'Nocumento d'ogni cosa' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54BB3(+4):56E3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Diana as moon-goddess, i.e. Luna (Selene) [92C371] Search | Browse Iconclass

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