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GRAMEN.

Grass

Emblema. 26.

Gramineam Fabio patres tribuere corollam,[1]
Fregerat ut Poenos, Anniballemque mora.
Occulit inflexo nidum sibi gramine alauda,
Vulgņ aiunt, pullos sic fovet illa suos.
Saturnņ, Martique sacrum, quo Glaucus adeso
Polybīdes[2] factus creditur esse Deus.
His merito arguitur nodis tutela, salusque:
Herbaque tot vires haec digitalis habet.[3]

The Roman Senate bestowed on Fabius a crown of grass, when he had by his delaying tactics broken the Carthaginians and Hannibal. The lark hides its nest among the bent grass, as they say, and so it protects its young. This grass is sacred to Saturn and to Mars, and Glaucus, son of Polybus, is believed to have become a god by eating it. - Rightly is protection and safety indicated by these knotted stems: this plant, the finger-grass, has so many powers.

Notes:

1.  Quintus Fabius Maximus was nicknamed Cunctator, ‘the Delayer’, for his strategy of avoiding pitched battles with Hannibal’s triumphant army in the Second Punic War. This contributed to Hannibal’s eventual withdrawal from Italy. Cf. Ennius’ famous line, Annals, 370: unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem: ‘one man by his delaying tactics saved the day for us’. A crown of fresh grass plucked from the spot was given to its general by a whole army if delivered from a state of siege. Fabius was awarded such a crown by general consent for saving all Italy from the threat of Hannibal. See Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 5.6.10; Pliny, Natural History, 22.4.6ff.

2.  Some of the divine herb sown by Cronos (a Greek divinity equated with the Roman Saturn) was eaten by Glaucus the fisherman, who then became a sea-god; see Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 7.296e; 15.679a; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 13.917ff.

3.  tot vires habet, ‘has so many powers’. See Pliny, Natural History, 24.118.178-83 for the medicinal uses of grass. The finger-grass (ib.183) is common in Mediterranean areas.


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  • Upper House, Senate [44B511] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Safety (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54D5(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Protection; 'Custodia', 'Difesa contra nimici, malefici & venefici', 'Difesa contra pericoli', 'Riparo da i tradimenti' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54E42(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Polyidus brings Glaucus back to life with a herb he has seen a snake use to revive its dead fellow [95A(GLAUCUS, SON OF MINOS)681] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • male persons from classical history (with NAME) non-aggressive activities of person from classical history [98B(FABIUS, Q. MAXIMUS)5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Hannibal representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(HANNIBAL)3] Search | Browse Iconclass

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TANDEM, TANDEM IUS-
tītia obtinet.

At long last, justice wins the day.

Emblema. 28.

AeacidaeHectoreo perfusum sanguīne scutum,
Quod GraecorumIthaco concio iniqua dedit,
Iustior arrīpuit Neptunus in aequora iactum
Naufragio, ut dominum posset adire suum.
Littoreo Aiacis tumulo nanque intulit unda,
Quae boat, & tali voce sepulchra ferit.
Vicisti Telamoniade, tu dignior armis.
Affectus fas est cedere iustitiae.[1]

The shield of Aeacus’ descendant, stained with Hector’s blood, the unjust assembly of the Greeks awarded to the Ithacan. Neptune, showing more respect for equity, seized upon it when it was cast into the sea in the shipwreck, so that it could go to its proper master. For the wave carried it to Ajax’ tomb upon the shore, the wave which booms and smites the sepulchre with these words: ‘Son of Telamon, you have conquered. You are more worthy of these arms’. It is right for partiality to yield to justice.

Notes:

1.  This is a version of Anthologia graeca 9.115-6. See Homer, Odyssey 11.541ff. for the contest for ownership of the divine armour of the dead Achilles (i.e. Aeacus’ descendant), who had earlier killed Hector. The Greek assembly awarded the armour to smooth Odysseus (the Ithacan) rather than to brave Ajax (son of Telamon), and, according to later tradition, Ajax became mad with fury and humiliation. Returning to sanity he committed suicide in shame. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.1.ff; and [A15a174]. Ajax was buried on a promontory near Rhoeteion, not far from Troy.


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