Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Acceptum Redditur Officium

Here is today's emblem by Joachim Camerarius, 2:98. This poem uses the exemplum of the trochilus bird and the crocodile as a positive model for human life: when someone does you a good service, you should do them a good service in return. The so-called "crocodile bird" is reported already in Herodotus to have a symbiotic relationship with the crocodile: the crocodiles open their mouths and the birds fly inside, feeding on the bits of food stuck between the crocodiles' teeth. Here in Camerarius's emblem, not only has the crocodile opened its mouth; it has even rolled over on its back!

Acceptum Redditur Officium
Vel trochili meritis crocodili gratia constat.
Praeclare meritis tu quoque redde vicem.


acceptus - accepted, received
reddo - render, return, pay back
officium - office, duty, service
vel - even, actually
trochilus - trochilus bird
meritum - value, reward, merit
crocodilus - crocodile
gratia - favor, thanks
consto - consist of, exist
praeclare - very clearly, brightly
tu - you
quoque - also
vicem - turn, change, repayment (acc.)

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. There are three words which are not on the DCC list:

praeclārus -a -um - very clear, bright, magnificent, excellent
trochilus, trochilī m. - small bird, perhaps a wren
vicis (genitive) - change, turn, interchange

accipio -cipere -cēpī -ceptum: receive
cōnsto -stāre -stitī: agree; constat, it is established that (+ infin.)
grātia -ae f.: favor, influence, gratitude
mereo -ēre meruī meritum: deserve, merit; serve as a soldier
officium -ī n.: service, duty
quoque: also, too
reddo -dere -didī -ditum: return, give back
tū tuī tibi tē: you (sing.)
vel: or else, or; even; vel . . . vel, either… or