The Unattractiveness of Vanity

Martial, Epigrams 1.64

You’re beautiful – yes, we all know it -
And in the prime of youth – that much is true -
And you’re certainly rich – who could deny it?
But Fabulla, when you overpraise yourself,
You’re not rich, or beautiful, or young any longer.

Bella es, nouimus, et puella, uerum est, 
et diues, quis enim potest negare?
Sed cum te nimium, Fabulla, laudas,
nec diues neque bella nec puella es.

Portrait of a Young Girl, Raphael (1483-1520)

Ancient Roman mosaic, depicting a skeleton (perhaps a memento mori) above the Greek maxim from Delphi γνῶθι σεαυτόν (”know thyself”).  Artist unknown; 1st cent. CE (?)  Found during excavations at the convent of San Gregorio on the Via Appia, Rome; now in the National Museum, Rome.  Photo credit: Lessing Photo Archive.

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