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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [L4v p168]

Les douze labeurs de Hercules,[1]
par Allegorie.

Plus Eloquence, & moins les forces font.
Vains argumens des Sophistes confond.
Rage, ou fureur, plus que vertu n’est forte,
Richesse, honneur, à Sapience porte.
De rapt ne vit: mais desprise avarice.
Despoille, & vinct foeminine malice.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [L5r p169]Les espritz orne, & les purge d’ordure.
Faict illicite, & les meschantz n’endure,
Fierte barbare en fin elle punit,
Contre ennemis en vertu soy unit.
Biens estrangiers en son pays apporte.
Vole en renom, & à jamais n’est morte.

Par Hercules (qui fut homme magna-
nime, & eloquent) est signifiée vertueu
se eloquence avec sagesse, & par les dou-
ze grandz labeurs qu’il accomplit, sont
allegoricquement entendues les choses
cy dessus escriptes.

Notes:

1.  Hercules was accredited with many victories over men and monsters, but eventually a list of twelve major ones was compiled. See e.g. Anthologia Graeca, 16.92. These ‘Labours’ he carried out at the behest of Eurystheus, incited by Hera. Alciato’s epigram follows this order: i. the Nemean lion; ii. the Hydra; iii. the Erymanthean boar; iv. the golden-antlered Arcadian stag; v. the birds of the Stymphalian Marsh; vi. the belt of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons; vii. the Augean stables; viii. the Cretan bull; ix. the mares of Diomedes; x. the cattle of the three-bodied giant Geryones (see Emblem 38 [FALb038]); xi. the golden apples of the Hesperides; and xii. the three-headed watchdog Cerberus. The Labours were given various allegorical interpretations both in antiquity and later, and Hercules himself becomes a wise man and philosopher, overcoming folly and sin. See Emblem 170 ([FALb170]).



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