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Eloquentia fortitudine prae-
stantior.[1]

Eloquence superior to strength

XCIII.

Arcum laeva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam,
Contegit & Nemees corpora nuda leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? non convenit illud
Qud vetus & senio tempora cana gerit.
Quid qud lingua illi levibus traiecta catenis.
Queis fissa facileis allicit aure viros?
Anne qud Alciden lingua, non robore Galli
Praestantem populis iura dedisse ferunt?
Cedunt arma togae,[2] & quamvis durissima corda
Eloquio pollens ad sua vota trahit.

His left hand holds a bow, his right hand a stout club, the lion of Nemea clothes his bare body. So this is a figure of Hercules. But he is old and his temples grizzled with age - that does not fit. What of the fact that his tongue has light chains passing through it, which are attached to men’s pierced ears, and by them he draws them unresisting along? The reason is surely that the Gauls say that Alceus’ descendant excelled in eloquence rather than might and gave laws to the nations. - Weapons yield to the arts of peace, and even the hardest of hearts the skilled speaker can lead where he will.

COMMENTARIA.

Describit pictam hc imaginem, quae arcum
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [k4v p152]sinistra, dextra ver ferream Clavam tenet,
indutaque pelle Leonis ex Nemea (regio est
Arcadiae, in cuius quadam sylva Hercules in-
gentem occidit Leonem, eius deinde pelle
vestiebatur, ut apud Theocritum lib. 21.) Hercu-
lis igitur est figura, sed non convenit cani-
cies, nec cathena illa: quae sibi lingua haeret:
leviter autem auriculas plurium virorum te-
net. Hoc autem significatur fortissimum Alcidem
(id est, Herculem sic dictum Graeco nomi-
ne ἀλκὴ quod est robur) iura dedisse & sub-
egisse feroces populos, non ut iuvenis forti-
tudine seu armis, sed instar senis prudentis,
eloquentia sua singulari. Cedunt arma togae,
id est, bella interdum aspera eloquentiae vi &
persuasione docta facilis dirimuntur & se-
dantur, toga enim pro pace accipitur, nam
huiusmodi habitu utebantur prisci Romani
praesertim pacis tempore. Disertus denique
poterit vel durissimos etiam homines & fe-
rocissimos eloquentia citius qum ro-
bore & violentia, in suam senten-
tiam trahere ut de Her-
cule habetur apud
Xenophon-
tem
.

Notes:

1. This epigram is closely based on Lucian’s essay, The Gallic Hercules.

2. Cf. Cicero’s notorious line, Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea linguae, ‘Let weapons yield to the arts of peace, let laurels yield to eloquence’ (quoted in Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 11.1.24).


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  • 'litterae', symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ literature; 'Lettere' (Ripa) [48C90] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • extinct, 'historical' peoples (with NAME) [32B2(GAULS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Power of Eloquence; 'Forza sottoposta all'Eloquenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosit� dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virt� del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass

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