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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [L2v p164]

Tombeau de Jean Galeace Viconte, premier
Duc de Milan.[1]


Metz pour tombeau armes, Ducz, Italie,[2]
Des deux coustéz la mer, & Barbarie,[3]
Voulant entrer: & souldars à main forte,
Sur le tour [=tout] posé un Duc,[4] qui serpent porte,
Disant ces motz, Qui est ce qui ha peu
Mettre, & lever moy si grand sur si peu?

Icy n’est autre signifiance: sinon la louange de Jean
Galeas Marie Viconte
, premier Duc de Milan, duquel l’hi-
stoire on peut lire es Chroniques & Annales, Et la resi
stence qu’il feict aux Turcz, volans entrer en Italie.


1.  Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1351-1402), created first Duke of Milan in 1395. Noted for his ruthlessness, he united most of the Po valley under the rule of Milan for the first time, defeated Bologna, and set his sights on Florence until his death saved that city.

2.  This epigram is based on Anthologia graeca 7.73 (by Geminos, but wrongly attributed to Germanicus in the sixteenth century). The Greek epigram is concerned with what would be a worthy tomb for the Greek hero Themistocles, who was buried in a very simple grave. It suggests one with representations of Salamis and the Persians, recalling the hero’s most famous exploit, the victory over the Persians at the battle of Salamis. Likewise, memorials of Visconti’s achievements are proposed here.

3.  The ‘barbarian’ French, who were induced to become involved in the Milan/Florence conflict and were defeated by Visconti. The French are mentioned specifically in the version of this poem found in Selecta epigrammata p.254, where 1.4 reads: Gallus ut et Theuton Alpe et Hyberus aquis, ‘like the Gaul and the Teuton via the Alps and the Spaniard via the sea’. In Alciato’s day, the French continued to overrun the Italian peninsula and attempt to dictate its internal affairs.

4.  This is presumably a figure of the Duke of Milan, whose arms included a snake; see [FALa001]. In the accompanying woodcut, we have written on a snaking ribbon held by a figure the Greek version (taken from the original Greek epigram) of the Latin words quoted in l.6.

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