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Salus publica.

The nation’s health

Emblema cxlix.

Phoebigena erectis Epidaurius insidet aris,[1]
Mitis, & immani conditur angue Deus.
Accurrunt aegri, veniátque salutifer orant.
Annuit, atque ratas efficit ille preces.

The Epidaurian scion of Phoebus broods on the altars built for him, and the god, all gentle, is concealed in a huge snake. The sick come running and beg him to draw near with healing. He consents and ratifies their prayers.

HOc erutum à fabulis poëtarum, & historia Ro-
mana
, non video ad quem usum maximè con-
vertam, nisi ad eam salutem publicam, quam nobis
attulit Christus Servator, verus animarum lan-
guentium Aesculapius, qui sub serpentis imagine ap-
pensus in deserto à Mose, omnes omnium morbos
sanavit, & in cruce tandem omnes noxas & crimina
expiavit.

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Salut public.

Le fils du Dieu Phebus, AesculapEpidaure,
Que soubs un grand serpent paisible & innocent
Lon prie, lon invoque, on reclame, on adore,
Est salutaire à tous: il guerit, il consent
Aux voeuz des requerans, qui en luy ont fiance:
Brief à tous en effect il monstre sa puissance.

JE ne sçay à quoy je puisse rapporter cecy
tiré des fables poëtiques, & de l’histoire
Romaine, sinon au salut public que nous a
apporté nostre Sauveur Jesus-Christ,
le vray medecin des ames languissantes, le-
quel soubs la figure d’un serpent eslevé au
desert par Moyse, a gueri toutes sortes de
maladies, & a nettoyé toutes faultes & pe-
chez estant attaché à la croix.

Notes:

1.  ‘The Epidaurian scion of Phoebus’, i.e. Aesculapius, son of Phoebus [Apollo] and god of medicine and healing. His main sanctuary and centre of healing was near Epidaurus in Greece. The god’s epiphany and symbol was a snake, and a number of sacred snakes were kept at the sanctuary. One of these was brought to Rome in 293 BC in hopes of stopping an outbreak of plague. The snake made its home on the Island in the Tiber, where a shrine and medical centre was subsequently built. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.626ff.


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