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EMBLEMA CXXXVI.

Fortuna virtutem superans.

Fortune triumphant over virtue

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Caesareo postquàm superatus milite, vidit
Civili undantem sanguine Pharsaliam.
Iamiam stricturus moribunda in pectora ferrum,
Audaci hos Brutus protulit ore sonos.
Infelix virtus & solis provida verbis,
Fortunam in rebus cur sequeris dominam?[1]

Brutus, defeated by the Caesarean troops, saw Pharsalia flowing with citizen blood. As he was about to plunge the sword into his dying heart, he spoke these words with undaunted voice: ‘Unhappy virtue, prudent only in word - why do you in reality submit to dominating fortune?’

Das CXXXVI.

Das Glück das die Tugend uber-
windt.

Als Brutus sach das hett den Sieg
Der Keysrisch hauff im Burger Krieg
Und gantz Pharsali ward befleckt
Mit Bürgerlichem Blut bedeckt
Auch jetzund gleich wolt in sein Hertz
Sein Wehr stossen tapffer on schertz
Trutzlich und keck auß seinem Mundt
Diß red erschal und wurde kundt
O Tugend wie unselig bist
Und nur allein mit worten grüst
Warumb erkennst sglück für den Herrn
Und folgst im in den wercken gern?

Notes:

1.  After the assassination of Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius became the leaders of the Republican cause. The Caesarean troops, led by Mark Antony and Octavian, Caesar’s heir, defeated them in 42 BC in two battles at Philippi in Macedonia. (Pharsalus in Thessaly was the site of the battle in 48 BC in which Julius Caesar had defeated Pompey in a previous round of the Civil Wars. Pharsalia is here loosely used, as in the Roman poets, to refer to both sites of similar civil conflict.) For Brutus’ suicide after the defeat, see the end of Plutarch’s Life of Brutus.


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  • (story of) Marcus Junius Brutus death of person from classical history [98B(BRUTUS, M.J.)68] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(PHARSALIA)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Luck, Fortune, Lot; 'Fato', 'Fortuna', 'Fortuna aurea', 'Fortuna buona', 'Fortuna pacifica overo clemente', 'Sorte' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54F12(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Virtuousness; 'Amor di Virtù', 'Attione virtuosa', 'Guida sicura de' veri honori', 'Virtù', 'Virtù insuperabile' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57A6(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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