Sutor, ne ultra crepidam

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Vasari's home in Florence, Apelles

Sutor, ne ultra crepidam is a Latin expression meaning literally "Shoemaker, not beyond the shoe", used to warn people to avoid passing judgment beyond their expertise.

Its origin is set down in Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia [XXXV, 85[1] (Loeb IX, 323–325)] where he records that a shoemaker (sutor) had approached the painter Apelles of Kos to point out a defect in the artist's rendition of a sandal (crepida from Greek krepis), which Apelles duly corrected. Encouraged by this, the shoemaker then began to enlarge on other defects he considered present in the painting, at which point Apelles advised him that ne supra crepidam sutor iudicaret[1] (a shoemaker should not judge beyond the shoe),[1] which advice, Pliny observed, had become a proverbial saying.

The English essayist William Hazlitt most likely coined the term "Ultracrepidarian" as first used publicly in a ferocious letter to William Gifford, the editor of The Quarterly Review:

1819 HAZLITT Letter to W. Gifford Wks. 1902 I. 368 You have been well called an Ultra-Crepidarian critic. (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd ed.)

A related English proverb is "A cobbler should stick to his last".[2] The Russian language commonly uses variants of the phrase "Суди, дружок, не свыше сапога" (Judge not, pal, above the boot), after Alexander Pushkin's poetic retelling of the legend.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Simpson, John (2009). A Dictionary of Proverbs (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-199-53953-7; ISBN 978-0-19953-953-6.
  2. ^ Luximon, Ameersing; Ma, Xiao (30 September 2013). Handbook of Footwear Design and Manufacture. Elsevier Science. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-85709-879-5. Retrieved 14 February 2015.