Latin proverb. Translates to "Nobody ridicules me unpunished". According to Edgar Allan Poe the motto of a rich aristocratic family in Venice during the Renaissance.
Poe describes how a young member of said family is jokingly insulted by his best friend during Carnival. Acting according to his ancient family motto, he lures his friend into the wine cellar, gets him drunk, and then locks the door from the outside and erects a wall in front of it.
The motto is also found on the side of a third of all British One Pound coins.

This motto, found on the milling of 'Scottish' pound coins, which also bear a thistle on the obverse, is formally known as 'the royal Scottish motto'. Scottish pound coins are those which, although minted by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant in Wales, bear the insignia of the kingdom of the Scots. They differ from scottish banknotes, which are issued in Scotland, by Scottish banks, and are not technically legal tender. It occasionally appears below the royal arms for Scotland, and is the motto of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle. The traditional Scots translation is 'There's nane dare meddle wi' me'.

In Poe's The Cask of Amontillado, "nemo me impune lacessit" is the motto of the Montresor family. It is exemplified in their family crest, which depicts a human foot crushing a snake that is simultaneously sinking its fangs into the heel of the foot.

This is an extremely literal depiction of the motto, which means "No one (offends/attacks) me (unpunished/with impunity)". Both snake and foot are attacking, and both are being punished with violence. The question is, which represents Montresor's family, and which represents their enemies? There are quite different connotations, depending; the foot would appear more oppressive crushing the snake, even in retribution for a mortal wound, whereas the snake in its disadvantaged position seems justified in attacking the foot that treads on it. On the other hand, the human foot is easier to sympathize with for most people, while snakes have a more sinister connotation.

One cannot tell which element represents Montresor, but it would have to be whichever did not strike first - the one that is taking revenge. For that is the role Montresor takes on in the story, avenging himself against Fortunato for the latter's antagonism.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.