Sunday, December 11, 2011

Morte Medetur

Here is today's emblem by Joachim Camerarius, 4:95. As you can see from the emblem, Camerarius is writing about the scorpion. A live scorpion can bite you and bring about your death, but according to Pliny, the ashes of a dead scorpion, mixed into a drink, had the power to cure a scorpion bite. This allows Camerarius to indulge in some wonderful paradoxes of how birth and death can alternate in turn: the live scorpion brings death to the man, but the dead scorpion brings life to that same man. Mira indeed!

Morte Medetur
Vivens mortem homini instillo, moriensque medelam:
Quam mira alternant vitaque morsque vice!


mors - death
medeor - heal, cure
vivo - live
homo - person, man
instillo - pour in drop by drop
morior - die
que - and
medela - healing power, health
quam - how
mirus - amazing, wonderful
alterno - alternate
vita - life
vice - in turn, by change (ablative)