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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [d1r p49]

Quae supra nos, nihil ad nos.[1]

What lies above us is none of our business


Caucasia aeternum pendens in rupe Prometheus[2]
Diripitur sacri praepetis ungue iecur.
Et nollet fecisse hominem figulosque perosus
Accensam rapto damnat ab igne facem.
Roduntur variis prudentum pectora curis,
Qui coeli affectant scire deumque vices.

Suspended for ever from the Caucasian rock, Prometheus has his liver torn by the talons of the sacred bird. He could well wish he had not made man. Hating moulders of clay, he curses the torch lit from the stolen fire. - The hearts of the learned are gnawed by various cares, the learned who strive to know the vicissitudes of heaven and the gods.


Prometheus Iapeti filius primus fuit qui ex
luto simulacra finxit, hinc fabulantur quòd in
Coelum ascendens ignem divinum furatus sit,
quo simulacrum à se factum animaverit, ob
hoc Iupiter indignatus alligari illum iussit ad
Caucasum montem Scythiae altissimum, aspe
rum, & inhospitalem. Adhibuitque sibi Aquilam
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [d1v p50]quae perpetuò eius iecur renascens devoraret
in poenam temeritatis suae, ut scribit Plato in lib.
de natura hominis: & Lucianus in suis Dialo-
gis, in dial. 1. Sic roduntur miserè & cruciantur
variis assiduisque curis & imaginationibus qui
coelestia atque divina perscrutari conantur.


1.  See Erasmus, Adagia 569, Quae supra nos nihil ad nos.

2.  The Titan Prometheus appears in myth as the champion of men against the ill-will of Zeus. According to one account, he moulded man out of clay (hence the reference to figuli, lit. ‘potters’, in l.3). Again, when Zeus withheld fire from mortals, Prometheus ascended to heaven and stole fire from the chariot of the sun for the benefit of men. As a perpetual punishment, Prometheus was put in chains and suspended from a rock in the Caucasus, where an eagle, the sacred bird of Zeus, in the day-time consumed his liver, which renewed itself every night. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.82ff; Hesiod, Theogony 561ff.

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  • (symbolic) representations ~ creation, cosmos, cosmogony, universe, and life (in the broadest sense) [10] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Curiosity, Inquisitiveness, Desire of Knowledge; 'Curiosit�' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A12(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • predatory birds (with NAME) [25F33(VULTURE)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Prometheus makes man out of clay, usually Minerva present [91E451] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Punishment; 'Castigo', 'Pena', 'Punitione' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57BB13(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Things Unknown, the Unknown (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51AA8(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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