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Nobiles & generosi.

High born and noble

Emblema cxxxvi.

Aurea Cecropias[1] nectebat fibula vestes,
Cui coniuncta tenax dente cicada fuit:
Calceus Arcadico suberat cui lunula ritu,[2]
Gestatur patribus mullea Romulidis.[3]
Indigenas quòd se adsererent, haec signa tulerunt
Antiqua illustres nobilitate viri.

A golden brooch knitted together the robes of Cecrops’ descendants, a brooch which had attached to it a cicada, gripping with a tooth. A shoe called a mullea with a little crescent-shaped ornament below in Arcadian fashion was worn by Romulus’ patrician clans. Because they proclaimed themselves descendants of the earliest inhabitants, men distinguished by ancient noble lineage wore these symbols.

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APud Athenienses, Cicada nobilitatis insigne
fuit: aureas enim cicadas crinibus innodabant,
& vestibus intexebant, quòd iactarent se indigenas
esse & nobiles. Romani verò lunulas habebant in
calceis: quem morem etiam fuisse Arcadibus histo-
riae prodiderunt. quo symbolo conditionem impe-
rii Romani designari quidam sunt commenti: id
enim sensim crevit, & lapsu temporum decrevit, ut
observamus in orbe Lunae: alii superbos animos
admoneri rerum instabilitatis, aiunt.

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Les nobles & de race ancienne.

CEux d’Athenes avoient leurs robes attachees
A une agraffe d’or, à laquelle accrochees
Des cigalles estoient bien & mignonnement:
Et les Arcadiens avoient semblablement
Une Lune és soulliers en demi-rond couppee,
Que pour eux les Romains ont apres usurpee,
Pour autant que du lieu se disoient estre nez,
Ces marques ils ont eu, & si s’en sont ornez:
Et pour rememorer par telle enseigne expresse
Leur race primitive, & ancienne noblesse.

LEs Atheniens ont eu pour enseigne &
marque de leur noblesse la cigale: car ils
entortilloient à leurs cheveux des cigalles
d’or, & en attachoient aussi sur leurs vestemens,
par ce qu’ils se ventoient estre primitifs ha-
bitans, & non venus d’ailleurs, par consequent
nobles. Aussi les Romains avoyent en leurs
soulliers de petites Lunes: que fut pareille-
ment la coustume des Arcades, comme les
histoires en font foy. par telle marque quel-
ques uns ont pensé que la condition de l’Em-
pire Romain estoit signifiee, car il a prins
son accroissance petit à petit, & par traict
de temps est decreu, comme nous voyons que
la Lune croist & decroist. Autres sont que di-
sent que par cela nous sommes advertis de
l’instabilité[4] des choses.

Notes:

1.  Cecropias, ‘of Cecrops’ descendants’, i.e. Athenians claiming descent from Cecrops, the autochthonous first king of Athens. See Emblem 5, n.4.

2.  Arcadico...ritu, ‘in Arcadian fashion’. The Arcadians wore crescent-shaped ornaments because they believed themselves to be the first men on earth and older than the moon. See Ovid, Fastii, 2.290. Evander, who came from Arcadia, was the founder of the primitive settlement on the Palatine hill which preceded Romulus’ Rome. See Vergil, Aeneid, 8.; Plutarch, Quaestiones Romanae, 76.

3.  patribus...Romulidis, ‘Romulus’ patrician clans’, i.e. members of the inner circle of noble Roman families claiming descent from the first senators (patres), one hundred in number, appointed by Romulus, founder and first ruler of Rome. These patrician families wore a distinctive black boot with a crescent-shaped ornament. Those members who achieved high political office wore similar red boots, calcei mullei, so called because their colour was like that of a mullet (according to Isidore, Etymologiae (Origines), 19.34.4 and 10).

4.  Corrected from the Errata.


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