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Camarina

Ne moveas Camarinam (Don't meddle with Camarina). Camarina was a lake in Sicily, which, in time of drought, yielded a pestilential stench. The inhabitants consulted an oracle about draining it, and Apollo replied, “Don't meddle with it.” Nevertheless, they drained it, and ere long an enemy marched an army over the bed of the lake and plundered the city. The proverb is applied to those who remove one evil, but thus give place to a greater. The Channel may be an evil to those who suffer sea-sickness, but it is a million times better to endure this evil than to make it a high road to invaders. The application is very extensive, as: Don't kill the small birds, or you will be devoured by insects. One pest is a safeguard against a greater one.

A similar Latin phrase is Anagyrin movëre.

“When the laird of Ellangowan drove the gipsies from the neighbourhood, though they had been allowed to remain there undisturbed hitherto, Dominie Sampson warned him of the danger by quoting the proverb. `Ne moveas Camarinam.' ” —Sir IV. Scott: Guy Mannering, chap. vii.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Camarina from Infoplease:

  • Camarina - Camarina Ne moveas Camarinam (Don't meddle with Camarina). Camarina was a lake in Sicily, ...
  • Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: C - Definitions, origins, and illustrative excerpts for words, phases, and literary allusions starting with "C"

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