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Nunquam procrastinandum.

Never procrastinate.


Alciatae gentis insignia sustinet Alce,[1]
Unguibus & μηδὲν fert ἀναβαλλόμενος.
Constat Alexandrum sic respondisse roganti,
Qui tot obivisset tempore gesta brevi?
Nunquam, inquit, differre volens.[2] Quod & indicat Alce,
Fortior haec, dubites,[3] ocyor anne siet.[4]

An elk bears the insignia of the family Alciato - between its hooves it carries (the motto) “Postponing nothing”. Alexander, as is well known, thus answered one who asked him how he had performed so many exploits in a short time: “By never wanting”, he said, “to postpone”. ‘Elk’ in fact indicates this - you may well ask whether it is strong or fast.


1. An elk, representing the family name, is carved on Alciato’s tomb in Pavia.

2. nunquam...differre volens, ‘By never wanting...to postpone’. The Latin words translate Alexander’s Greek motto, quoted in line 2. See Erasmus, Adagia, 3400 (Nunc tuum ferrum in igne est, ‘Strike while the iron is hot’), where Alexander’s saying is quoted.

3. Corrected on the basis of Betty Knott’s edition.

4. Alce, ‘Elk’. The Greek word ἀλκή means not only ‘elk’ but ‘strength’. The animal ‘elk’ was famed for its speed: see Pliny, Natural History, 8.16.39.

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View emblem in Mason Tung: Variorum Edition of Alciato. (PDF)

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  • (story of) Alexander the Great [98B(ALEXANDER THE GREAT)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Delay [51FF521] Search | Browse Iconclass
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