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Unum nihil, duos plurimum posse.

One can do nothing, two can do much

Laertae genitum, genitum quoque Tydeos unŕ[1]
Hac cera expressit Zenalis apta manus.[2]
Viribus hic praestat, hic pollet acumine mentis.
Nec tamen alterius non eget alter ope.
Cům duo coniuncti veniunt, victoria certa est,
Solům mens hominem, dextrave destituit.[3]

The son of Laertes together with him that Tydeus begot, the skilful hand of Zenas expressed in this moulded form. One of them is superior in strength, the powers of the other lie in sharpness of mind, yet neither of them can do without the other’s aid. When the two come united, victory is assured. Mind or strength in isolation has often left man in the lurch.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P8r]

Ung nest rien, deux est beaucop.

Diomedes & Ulixes
Lung fort, lautre plain de prudence,
Furent par Zenalis laisses
En ung tableau: pour demonstrance,
Que ung fort homme sans providence,
Et le sage, qui nest grand maistre,
Ne font cas de grand evidence.
Pour ce fault, ces deux ensemble estre.

Notes:

1.  ‘The son of Laertes...him that Tydeus begot’, i.e. (the cunning) Odysseus and (the strong) Diomedes. They collaborated in a successful night raid raid into Troy, for which see Homer, Iliad 10.218ff. See further Erasmus, Adagia 2051, Duobus pariter euntibus. (This title translates Iliad 10.224, a line which appears in Greek in the woodcut)

2.  ‘the hand of Zenas’. Two unidentified busts signed by Zenas are in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. Two sculptors of the second, or third century AD, possibly father and son, are known by this name.

3.  ‘Mind or strength in isolation has often left man in the lurch’. Cf. Horace, Odes 3.4.65: force without counsel is destroyed by its own might.


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  • Counsel; 'Consiglio' (Ripa) [52E3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Intellect, Intelligence; 'Intelletto', 'Intelligenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • male persons from classical history (with NAME) [98B(ZENAS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Necessity of Mutual Co-operation (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54E11(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generositŕ dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virtů del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A7(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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