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Mulieris famam, non formam
vulgatam esse oportere.

A woman’s reputation, not her beauty, should be known to the world.

Alma Venus quae nam haec facies, quid denotat illa
Testudo, molli quam pede diva premis?
Me sic effinxit Phidias,[1] sexumque referri
Foemineum, nostra iussit ab effigie,
Quodque manere domi, & tacitas decet esse puellas,
Supposuit pedibus talia signa meis.

Kindly Venus, what form is this, what does that tortoise mean, on which, o goddess, your soft feet rest? Phidias fashioned me like this. He intended the female sex to be represented by this image of me. Girls should stay at home and keep silence, and so he put such symbols under my feet.

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La renommee plus que la beaulte
de femme est de pris.

Phidias feist une statue
De Venus dame en volupte.
Soubz ses piedz meist une Tortue,
Ou le meurs de femme a notte.
La Tortue garde son hostel,
Pour faire voix, ne ouvrant la bouche.
Et tost a teste & piedz boute,
En la maison, dez quon la touche.

Notes:

1.  Phidias’ statue of Aphrodite with one foot on a tortoise, set up at Elis, is mentioned by Pausanias, Periegesis 6.25.1. The tortoise is a symbol of ideal female domesticity, as it keeps silent and never leaves its house see Plutarch Coniugalia praecepta 32 (Mor. 142).



Iconclass Keywords

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Relating to the text:

  • Beauty; 'Bellezza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51D4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Fame; 'Fama', 'Fama buona', 'Fama chiara' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [59B32(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Good Behaviour (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57A1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • male persons from classical history (with NAME) non-aggressive activities of person from classical history [98B(PHIDIAS)5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Taciturnity; 'Secretezza', 'Secretezza overo Taciturnità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52DD3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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