Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Modo Vita Supersit

Here is today's emblem by Joachim Camerarius, 2:93. This emblem is based on the famous natural history legend that tells how the beaver, whose testicles had a medicinal value, would bite off those testicles and throw them to the hunter, thus making his escape safely. Aelian even tells us about some especially tricky beavers who would pull up their testicles, concealing them, and then expose themselves to the hunters, who, seeing that the beaver seemed to have no testicles, would let them go unharmed. Sneaky beavers! You can see more illustrations of the legend at the Bestiary.ca website, and you can read the Aesop's fable about the beaver here.

Modo Vita Supersit
Ut vivat castor sibi testes amputat ipse;
Tu quoque, si qua nocent, abiice: tutus eris.


modo - only, if only, just
vita - life
supersum - survive, remain
ut - so, so that, in order to
vivo - live
castor - beaver
se - reflexive pronoun
testis - testicle
amputo - cut off, prune back
ipse - (him/her/it)self
tu - you
quoque - also
si - if
aliqua - somehow, in any way
noceo - do harm, injure
abiicio - cast off, throw away
tutus - safe