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EMBLEMA XI.

Improb Deum fatigamus, votis ut
nostris serviat.

Improperly do we tire out God, asking him to attend to our prayers.

Ad Splinterum ab Hargen Equitem auratum.[1]

Latoiden Cadmaea Tyros devinxerat auro:
Gradivum tenuit compede Sparta gravem:
Praepete privarunt penna Victoriam Athenae,
Quisque suis votis cogit adesse Deum.

Cadmean Tyre had bound up Apollo with gold: Sparta held grievous Mars in shackles: Athens stripped Victory of her swift wings, Whoever thinks to approach God with his prayers [sc. perhaps should remember this].

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Memoriae proditum est Diodoro Sicu-
lo
Bibliothecae decimoseptimo, & Quinto Curtio,
Tyrios eximia religione coluisse Apollinem: cuius
numen sibi tutelare ut propitiarent, sibique mo-
dis omnibus conciliarent, tempore obsidionis, quam
gravem & funestam ab Alexandro Magno ex-
perti sunt, simulachrum eius Dei aurea catena
basi columnae, cui insistebat alligasse, ut ille scri-
bit; aut ut alter, arae Herculis vinculum illud in-
servisse, velut illo Deo Apollinem retenturos.
Similiter Pausanias in Laconicis[2] refert pervetu-
stum Spartae exstare simulachrum Martis com-
pedibus irretiti, quo vinculo proprium sibi ac
Reipublicae perpetuum bellatorem illum Deum, nec
unquam suae urbis desertorem futurum, velut in
peculio obligatum voluerunt. Neque aliorsum Vi
ctoriam
deam, cui pennas dedit, volucremque fin
xit antiquitas, ἄπτερον, involucrem, alisque orbam
& fano & statua decorarunt Athenienses, augu-
rantes perennem ipsis fore Deae praesentiam, nega
tis illi alis quibus avolaret. Gentilitatis delirae som
nium istud fuit, nimis qum superstitiosum, exi-
stimantis quali quali honoris obsequiique lenoci-
nio, Deum in vota nostra, eaque perfunctoria &
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [F3r p85]inutilia pellici, ad modum pueritiae, quae crepundiis
deliniri capique solet; atque ita in ordinem cogi
posse. Quare stultum est, ne dicam impium ac pro-
fanum, putare divinum numen toti mortalitati
iuvandae comparatum, tam pusillum esse & otio-
sum, ut palpationibus tantm non nostris ac ve-
luti poppysimis titillationibusque cedat & expu
gnetur. Pingantur tres isti dii seorsum in templis
concameratis, Apollo catena aurea columna alli-
gatus: caetera peculiaria indicia Fulgentius &
Cornutus ista tradunt,[3] nempe ut pingatur iuve-
nis, imberbis, capillo promisso aureoque, laureo
serto redimitus, cum arcu & sagittis in dextra,
citharam tenens laeva, cum Corvo ave illi sacra
adstante. Mars sit compedibus vinctus, alioqui
loricatus, galeatus, pugione accinctus, flagellum
manu tenens, ut Albericus philosophus scribit,
altera clypeum, nudo pectore, ut Isidoro placet,
cum lupo animali ipsi sacro, aut gallo secundum
alios. Victoria, quam apteron, id est, involucrem
dixerunt Athenienses pingatur sine alis, virago
ut solet dextra manu punicum malum tenens, lae-
va cassidem: nam hac specie colebatur Athenis,
ut Heliodori testimonio confirmat Harpocration:
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [F3v p86] posteri deinde sculptores alas illi iunxerunt, ni-
mirum Bubali pater Anthermus, aut, uti Aristo-
phanis
scholiastes vult, Aglaophon Thasius pi-
ctor;[4] quam alis areis ornat Comicus Aristopha-
nes illo versiculo:
Ἀυτίκα πέταταινίκη πτερύγοιν χρυσαῖν.
Mox aureis pennis volat Victoria. Exstitit &
Romae simulacrum Victoriae alis viduum, quae
caelitus tactae defluxerant; in quod Pompeii titulo
epigramma legitur, in hanc sententiam:
Roma caput rerum, nunquam tua gloria obibit:
Nam victrix Dea te haud deseret involucris.

It is recorded by Diodorus Siculus in book seventeen of the Library, and by Quintus Curtius [Rufus], that the people of Tyre worshipped Apollo with uncommon attentiveness; and that, in order to propitiate Apollo as guardian divinity, and keep him by all means possible on their side, at the time of their being besieged by Alexander the Great, at great cost of life, they bound the statue of that God with a golden chain at the base of the column on which he stood. This is what Diodorus writes; according to the other, the chain was attached to the altar of Hercules, as if they were keeping Apollo in thrall to that god. Pausanias similarly recounts in the Description of Laconia that there stood at Sparta a very ancient statue of Mars bound in fetters, by means of which chains they intended the god of war to be their own and their state’s for all time, and never to be a traitor to their city, as if he were bound by obligations of property [i.e. as if he were their slave]. With the same thing in mind, though the ancients accorded her wings and portrayed her as able to fly, the Athenians honoured the goddess Victory, both in her temple and her statue, but depicted her as apteron, that is unable to fly, bereft of wings; predicting that the Goddess would be ever-present for them, since they had denied her the wings with which to fly away. That was the dream of deluded paganism, a dream superstitious in the highest degree, of thinking that by some sort of sycophantic bestowal of honour and flattery, God can be sweet-talked into attending to our prayers - perfunctory and [p.85] vain as they are - like a little boy who can be mollified and won over with rattles, and thus be brought into line. So it is foolish, not to mention impious and blasphemous, to think that the divine godhead, compared to the power of all mortality to help itself, is so petty and trivial that it just rolls over and gives in to our flattering and as it were our clucking and tickling. These three gods should be depicted each in his or her vaulted temple. Apollo is bound to a pillar by a golden chain; the other details are related to us by Fulgentius and Cornutus, namely of course that he should be depicted youthful, beardless, with long golden hair, crowned with a laurel wreath, with bow and arrows in his right hand, and holding a lyre in his left, and with a Raven (the bird sacred to him) standing beside. Mars should be bound by fetters, and for the rest, mail-clad, helmed, with a dagger in his belt, holding a whip in his hand (as the philosopher Alberich writes), in the other a shield, bare-breasted (following Isidore [of Seville]), with a wolf, his sacred animal, or (according to others) a cockerel. Victory, whom the Athenians called apteron, that is to say wingless, should be depicted without wings, a warrior maiden, holding in her right hand - as was her wont - a pomegranate, and in her left a helmet: for it was with this appearance that she was worshipped at Athens, as Harpocration asserts, on the authority of Heliodorus: [p.86] later sculptors subsequently gave her wings - Anthermus the father of Bubalus, no doubt, or according to the scholiast on Aristophanes, the painter Aglaophon of Thasos; and Aristophanes the comedian beautifies her with golden wings in the line: ‘Soon Victory flies on golden wings.’ Also there stood at Rome a statue of Victory bereft of its wings, which had fallen off after being struck by lightning, on which was written an epigram of Pompey in an inscription, to this effect:
Rome, capital of the world, never will your glory pass away:
For the Goddess of Victory, being flightless, will not desert you.

Notes:

1. This dedicatee is not properly identified; the surname seems to be Splinter (or Spalant) van Hargen (a town in Holland). Is he related to the dedicatee Andreas Ostervicus Splinteri filius (emblem 35)?

2. The book describing the country around Sparta in the southern Peloponnese.

3. Fabius Planciades Fulgentius, a grammarian of the 6th century AD. Lucius Annaeus Cornutus, stoic philosopher, 1st century AD, wrote about stoic view of Greek mythology.

4. Anthermus, father of Bupalus (or Bubalus), sculptor from Chios, 6th century BC (his name was also spelled Archermus). Aglaophon of Thasos was a celebrated painter from the 5th century BC.



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