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Eloquentia fortitudine praestantior.[1]

Eloquence superior to strength

Emblema clxxx.

Arcum laeva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam,
Contegit & Nemees corpora nuda leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? non convenit illud
Qud vetus, & senio tempora cana gerit
Quid qud lingua illi levibus traiecta catenis,
Queis fissa faciles allicit aure viros?
An ne qud Alciden lingua, non robore Galli
Praestantem populis iura dedisse ferunt?
Cedunt arma togae,[2] & quamvis durissima corda
Eloquio pollens ad sua vota trahit.

His left hand holds a bow, his right hand a stout club, the lion of Nemea clothes his bare body. So this is a figure of Hercules. But he is old and his temples grizzled with age - that does not fit. What of the fact that his tongue has light chains passing through it, which are attached to men’s pierced ears, and by them he draws them unresisting along? The reason is surely that the Gauls say that Alceus’ descendant excelled in eloquence rather than might and gave laws to the nations. - Weapons yield to the arts of peace, and even the hardest of hearts the skilled speaker can lead where he will.

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SUmpta haec designatio ex Luciani quadam prae-
fatione: qua significatur Herculem illum scri-
ptoribus decantatissimum, Gallum fuisse, virum
prudentissimum & eloquentissimum, qui cm vir-
tutibus iis quae civilem hominem decent esset ex-
cultus, populum Gallicum prima illa feritate &
cultu barbaro ad vitam placidiorem sapienti ora-
tione & nomothesia revocavit.

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Que l’eloquence a plus de vertu que les
forces du corps.

LE pourtrait d’Hercules est expos en veu,
Dont l’arc est la gauche, dextre une massue.
De la peau d’un lion arm au corps il est.
Quoy? cela convient-il ce qu’un chacun set?
Car il semble icy vieil, & tel se fait cognoistre,
Et le contempler, chauve & ride paroistre.
A sa langue coulant petites chesnes sont
Attachees en ordre, & par l’oreille vont
Des oyans, retenus sans aucune contrainte.
Et c’est que les Gaulois d’une opinion sainte
Maintiennent qu’Hercules, non de force de corps,
Mais par son bien parler fit des peuples concords,
Ausquels il donna loy ce qu’ils se soubmissent.
Ainsi aux gens diserts les armes obeyssent,
Et les hommes plusdurs, malapprins, malfaisans,
Se rangent aux propos en fin des bien-disans.

CEste pourtraitture est prinse d’un trait-
t de Lucian: par laquelle nous appre-
nons que Hercules tant celebr des auteurs
anciens, a est Gaullois, homme fort bien ad-
vis, & des mieux disans, lequel estant bien
fourny des parties qui appartiennent l’hom-
me propre au gouvernement du public, il
reduit par ses sages remonstrances, & esta-
blissemens de bonnes loix le peuple Gaul-
lois premierement impoly & barbare une
vie plus douce & civile.

Notes:

1. This epigram is closely based on Lucian’s essay, The Gallic Hercules.

2. Cf. Cicero’s notorious line, Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea linguae, ‘Let weapons yield to the arts of peace, let laurels yield to eloquence’ (quoted in Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 11.1.24).


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  • 'litterae', symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ literature; 'Lettere' (Ripa) [48C90] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • extinct, 'historical' peoples (with NAME) [32B2(GAULS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Power of Eloquence; 'Forza sottoposta all'Eloquenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosit dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virt del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass

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