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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B8r p31]

EMBLEMA XXV.

Medici Icon.

The emblem of the doctor.

Ad Martinum Aedituum Medicum
insignem.[1]

Sceptriger, & lauro, baculoque instructus acerno,
Quid Draco, quid Gallus vult sibi, quidve Canis?
Imperat hic aegris, operosaque arte medetur,
Sedulus, & fidus, dignus honore, vigil.

What does it mean that he is carrying the sceptre and decked out with crown of laurel and maple rod, What does the Serpent signify, what does the Cockerel, or the Dog? This man rules over the sick, and performs cures with painstaking skill, He is diligent and trustworthy, deserving of honour and wakeful.


Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G7r p109]

Haec germana est & viva Medici Icon:
quae quia propter concisam brevitatem obscurior
est & intricatior, libuit eam per dialogismum
reddere prolixiùs pluribus versibus, ut explica-
tiùs singula paterent.

Qui Deus es? Phoebo satus atque Coronide. habes cur
Sceptrum? aegris ut rex impero. quid resides?
Sit sedato animo medicus. quid verticem inumbrat
Laurea? perpes enim vivit ab arte decus.
Nodoso baculo quid nitere? difficilem artem
Id notat. hinc cur stat Gallus, & inde Draco?
Cura vigil medicum decet ac custodia. quid vult
Sub pedibus Canis? hoc symbolon est fidei.
Quidve tegit mentum propexa incanaque barba?
Longa aetas firmat iudicium atque fidem.

Aesculapius Apollinis ex nympha Coronide filius,
in deorum numerum olim receptus fuit, quoniam
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G7v p110]rudem adhuc & vulgarem medicinae scientiam
paullò subtiliùs excoluisset, ut Cornelius Celsus[2] ait:
quanquam Trismegistus, interprete Apuleio, me-
dicinae repertorem falso nominat. Huius simula-
crum variis modis effigiavit antiquitas: nam a-
pud Sicyonios[3] imberbem stetisse, altera manu
sceptrum; altera pineam nucem obtinentem, me-
morat in Corinthiacis Pausanias. in eadem hi-
storia refert à Thrasymede Pario exsculptum
fuisse Aesculapium in solio sedentem, baculum te-
nentem manu, altera caput Draconis mulcen-
tem, cum accubante cane. Consentit in multis
& Festus Pompeius,[4] lauream insuper illi attri-
buens. Ego collectis symbolis omnibus, & quasi in
unam (quod dicitur) myconum[5] coniectis, talem
fermè medici sive Aesculapii Iconem conflavi.
Virum gravem pinxero, barbatum, throno in-
sidentem, laureatum, sceptrum gerentem altera
manu, nodosum baculum altera, astantes illi
hinc Draconem, hinc gallum, stratumque ad
pedes canem. Nunc commenti, symbolive ra-
tiones subiiciam. Aesculapii nomen haud teme-
rè in medicum competit, quippe cuius sit placidè
curare aegrotos. id quod Graecis sonat vocisetymon
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G8r p111]ἀσκεῖν ἡπίος. Barba illi datur velut adultae & lon
gae multarum rerum experientiae argumentum.
Sedentis imago denotat, sedato animo, neque va-
gum esse debere: Laurea coronatum existimo,
ob eximium et immortale ex arte salutari decus:
quanquam Festus eò referat, quòd laurus arbor
sit plurimorum remediorum. Sceptrum illi
cum Pausania tribuo, ut dignitas medici eo re-
praesentetur, qui Regis in morem aegris imperare
debet: quo spectat invectiva Galeni, libro primo
Therapeutices: medicos sui temporis incusantis,
quod mancipiorum ritu aegris subservirent ac ob-
secundarent, contra maiorum ab Aesculapio oriun
dorum morem, qui velut reges subditis, & velu-
ti duces militibus, praescribebant aegrotis quae fie-
ri vellent. Bacillum nodosum tribuit illi anti-
quitas, ut difficultatem significarent artis pluri-
mis rerum discendarum anfractibus nodisque
difficilibus involutae: tametsi Eusebius hoc
interpretetur aegrotorum sustentaculum: &
Cornutus libro de natura Deorum, quod medici
opera confirmemur, ne tam properè in morbos
incidamus: Draconem assistentem dant omnes.
Cornutus tum propter diligentiam in curandis
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G8v p112]aegris insomnem, tum quòd medici industria aegri
à morbis veluti reiuvenescant, seniumque depo-
nant, serpentium more, unde Macrobius,[6] lib. I.
Saturnaliorum Aesculapii & Salutis simulacris Dra-
co, inquit, subiungitur, quia praestant ut humana
corpora, velut infirmitatis pelle deposita, in pri-
stinum revirescant vigorem. Praeterea constat
aedium sacrarum, adytorum, oraculorum & the-
saurorum custodiam olim Draconibus assignatam
fuisse, cùm quia acutissimè cernant, tum propter invi
ctas vigilias, quod sensit & Festus at Plinius lib. 29.
ca. 4.[7] Draconem Aesculapio sacrum voluit, propter
remediorum, quae illi insunt, multitudinem. Gallus
eidem adiungitur, quòd vigilantissimum sit ani-
mal: nam sollicitum & vigilantem medicum re-
quirunt res aegroti. Canem illi subiicio, ut animal
fidissimum. quid autem medicum magis deceat,
quàm indubitatam fidem, integritatemque aegrotis
servare? quae res Philippum Acarnanem Alexan
dro
commendatum habuit, licet parricidii crimi
ne, sed immerito perstrictum.[8] neque enim placet
quod Festus ait, ideo adhiberi canem, quòd cani-
no lacte sit enutritus. quod tamen apud Lactan-tium[9] etiam legitur.

This is a true and living Emblem of the Doctor: which, since it is rather difficult and intricate, on account of its brevity and concision, might be expanded into a number of verses by way of a question-and-answer dialogue, so that the individual elements can be more easily understood.
What God are you? The son of Apollo and Coronis. Why do you hold a sceptre?
Because I rule over the sick like a king. Why are you seated?
The doctor should be a man of sedate spirit. Why does the laurel shade
Your head? Because everlasting honour arises from my art.
Why do you lean on a knotted stick? That signifies
The difficulty of the art. Why does a Cockerel stand on one side, and a Serpent on the other?
A wakeful carefulness and guardianship befits the doctor. Why does
A dog want to be under your feet? This is a symbol of trustworthiness.
And why does a long hoary beard cover your chin?
Long years strengthen my judgment and trustworthiness.
Aesculapius, the son of Apollo by the nymph Coronis, came in olden days to be counted among the number of the gods, since, [p.110] when the science of medicine was still inexperienced and rough, he cultivated it with a little more subtlety, as Cornelius Celsus said: although [Hermes] Trismegistus, as expounded by Apuleius, incorrectly named him as the originator of the science of medicine. The ancients portrayed him in various different ways: for among the Sicyonians he stood, beardless, with a sceptre in one hand, and in the other he held a pine cone, as Pausanias records in the Description of Corinth. But in the same Description he tells us that Aesculapius was sculpted by Thrasymedes of Paros seated on a throne, holding a rod in his hand, and in the other stroking the head of a Serpent, with a dog lying at his feet. Pompeius Festus, too, agrees on many of these details, in addition according him a laurel wreath. I have brought all the symbols together, and as it were conflated them into a single myconum, and come up with a kind of Icon of the Doctor or of Aesculapius. I will portray a serious man, bearded, sitting on a throne, crowned with a laurel wreath, carrying a sceptre in one hand, a knotted staff in the other; standing by him on the one side is a Serpent, on the other a cockerel, and stretched out at his feet a dog. I will now append the meanings of this creation or emblem. It is no accident that the name Aesculapius is suitable for a doctor, seeing as his job is gently to treat the sick - which is what the origin of the name in Greek, [p.111] askein epiôs, signifies. He is given a beard as a symbol of his mature and long experience of a multitude of things. The iconography of the seated man signifies that he should have a sedate soul, and not be a wanderer. I believe that he is crowned with a laurel wreath, on account of the great and undying glory that is due to the art of healing, although Festus takes it to refer to the use of the laurel tree in very many remedies. Like Pausanias, I give him the attribute of a sceptre, to represent the dignity of the doctor, who needs to rule over the sick in the manner of a King. This is what the criticism of Galen refers to, in the first book of the On Healing, where he attacks the doctors of his own time, because they would bow and scrape to the sick like slaves, in contradistinction to the behaviour of their predecessors going back to Aesculapius, who told the patients what they wanted doing like kings dictating to their subjects, or generals to their troops. The ancients gave him the attribute of a knotted staff, that the twistedness of it might signify, by its crookedness and tricky knots, the difficulty of things having to be learnt through many arts: although Eusebius takes this to signify a supporting crutch for the sick; and Cornutus, in his book On the Nature of the Gods, takes it to mean that we should be strengthened by the care and attention of the doctor, so that we succumb less quickly to sickness. All writers include the attendant Serpent. Cornutus includes it on the one hand on account of the tireless attentiveness in curing [p.112] the sick, on the other because the hard work of the doctor as it were rejuvenates the patients from out of their sickness, and sloughs off their decrepitude like snakes do [their old skin]. For the same reason, says Macrobius, Saturnalia, bk. 1, the Serpent is included in representations of Aesculapius and Salus [Health], because are responsible for restoring youthful vigour to human bodies, as if the slough of sickness had been cast off. Besides this, it is agreed that the guardianship of sacred temples, precincts, oracles and treasuries used once upon a time to be entrusted to Serpents, both since they have the keenest eyesight, and because of their unfailing watchfulness, as Festus [Pompeius] also thought. Pliny (bk. 29, ch. 4), though, would have it that the Serpent was sacred to Aesculapius because of the number of remedies that involve it. The same writers also add the Cockerel, because it is the most wakeful of beasts: for the interests of a patient require a painstaking and watchful doctor. I have included the Dog, as being a very loyal animal: for what could be more fitting for a doctor, than to maintain an unquestionable trustworthiness and integrity towards the patient? It was for this that Philip of Acarnania was recommended to Alexander, despite his guilt as a parricide, as nonetheless having been unjustly blamed. For I do not agree with what Festus says, that we should include the dog for the reason that a bitch’s milk is nourishing - something that we read, nonetheless, also in Lactantius.

Notes:

1.  Martinus Aedituus (Dutch Martin de Costere) was a lifelong friend and compatriot of Junius; they got their degrees in medicine at the same time in Bologna.

2.  Aurelius Cornelius Celsus, Roman medical writer, first century AD.

3.  From Sicyon (Vasiliko) in the Peloponnese.

4.  Sextus Pompeius Festus, fourth-century author of the lexicographical De Verborum Significatione.

5.  cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 2.4.47, Omnia sub unam Myconum, drawing on Strabo, Geographia, book 10, which describes the Island of Mykonos being used by Hercules to bury the last of the race of the Giants, and implying how nature embraces different things beneath one title (see P. Manutius, Adagia Optimorum Utriusque Linguae Scriptorum, p. 585).

6.  Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, fourth- to fifth-century pagan author, who also wrote Commentary on the Dream of Scipio.

7.  Pliny, Natural History 29.4.22.72.

8.  Curtius, Historiae Alexandri Magni, 3.6.

9.  Lucius Caelius Firmianus Lactantius, fourth-century Christian writer, defended Christian theology against pagan writers.



Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

Relating to the text:

  • Alertness, Vigilance; 'Guardia', 'Vigilanza', 'Vigilanza per difendersi & oppugnare altri' (Ripa) [52A23] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Frankness, Loyalty; 'Lealtà', 'Realtà' (Ripa) [57A611] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • healing of sick person [49G23] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • historical person (with NAME) other representations to which the NAME of a historical person may be attached (with NAME of person) [61B2(KOSTER, Maerten)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Honour, Glory; 'Ampiezza della Gloria', 'Gloria', 'Gloria de prencipi', 'Gloria & Honore', 'Honore', 'Sublimatà della Gloria' (Ripa) [59B31] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • patient, sick person [49G2] Search | Browse Iconclass

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