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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [g5v p106]

Nec questioni quidem ce-
dendum.

Do not yield even to torture

LXIII.

Cecropia effictam quam cernis in arce Leaenam,
Harmodii, an nescis hospes? amica fuit.
Sic animum placuit monstrare viraginis acrem
More ferae, nomen vel quia tale tulit.
Quòd fidibus contorta suo non prodidit ullum
Indicio, elinguem reddidit Iphicrates.[1]

This lioness that you see represented on the Athenian citadel was Harmodius’s lover - stranger, you must know the story. This was how they decided to proclaim the brave woman’s fierce spirit, by representing her as a lioness. Besides, her name was Lioness too. Tortured on the rack, she betrayed no-one by her evidence, and so Iphicrates represented the beast without a tongue.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [g6r p107]

COMMENTARIA.

Harmodius & Aristogiton iuvenes fortis-
simi, cives Athenienses de Reipublica [=Republica] optimè
meriti: nam libertatis recuperandae ac Rei-
publicae conservandae gratia de Tyranno interfi-
ciendo coniurare atque id aggredi ausi fuere,
ideoque in eorum honorem à Civibus publi-
co decreto sancitum fuit ut nemo unquam
ipsorum nomine vocaretur, refert Gellius lib. 9.
cap. 2. Hi scortum eius lyrae cantu & benevo-
lentiae officio maximè coniunctum & fami-
liare habebant, nomine Leaena, quae à Tyran-
no capta, torta & ad mortem usque excruciata,
eorum tamen de Tyrannicidio consilia &
conspirationem prodere nec revelare voluit,
quin potius (ut acris animi) praecisam denti-
bus linguam in Hippiae Tyranni faciem ex-
puit. Idcirco Athenienses ei quoque quid ho-
noris tribuere volentes, nec tamen ut scor-
tum celebrare, sed animal eius nominis in
arce Cecropia (arx Athenis à Cecrope Rege
conditore appellata, ut Plinius lib. 7. cap. 56.) per
Iphicratem eximium sculptorem, efficere, utque
clarius honoris causa intelligeretur, in opere
Leaenae linguam non addidere. Meminere Pli
nius lib. 7. cap. 23. idemque prolixius libro 34.
cap. 8. & eleganter Crinitus lib. 9. cap. 8. de ho-
nesta disciplina.

Notes:

1.  Harmodius and Aristogeiton conspired to kill Hipparchus, the brother of the Athenian tyrant Hippias. Harmodius was killed, Aristogeiton arrested and tortured. Also tortured was Leaena (‘Lioness’) a courtesan, beloved of Harmodius, as she too was suspected of being in the conspiracy. She however revealed nothing. After the fall of Hippias, the two men were treated as tyrannicides and bronze statues were erected in their honour (509 BC). To avoid appearing to honour a courtesan, the Athenians had Leaena represented by Iphicrates (or Amphicrates) as a lioness without a tongue, indicating both her name and the reason for remembering her. See Pliny, Natural History 34.19.72; Plutarch, De garrulitate 505E.


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  • (story of) Harmodius and Aristogiton representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(HARMODIUS & ARISTOGITON)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Courage, Bravery, Valiance, Manliness; 'Ardire magnanimo et generoso', 'Gagliardezza', 'Valore', 'Virtù heroica', 'Virtù dell'animo e del corpo' (Ripa) [54A8] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • female persons from classical history (with NAME) suffering, misfortune of person from classical history [98C(LAENA)6] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • male persons from classical history (with NAME) representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(IPHICRATES)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • names of cities and villages (with NAME) [61E(ATHENS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Taciturnity; 'Secretezza', 'Secretezza overo Taciturnit�' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52DD3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • tongue [31A22141] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • torture [44G330] Search | Browse Iconclass

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