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Emblema. 39.

In bellum civile duces cum Roma pararet,
Viribus & caderet Martia terra[1] suis.[2]
Mos fuit in partes turmis coeuntibus easdem,
Coniunctas dextras[3] mutua dona dari.
Faederis haec species: id habet Concordia signum,
Ut quos iunxit amor, iungat & ipsa manus.

When Rome was marshalling her generals to fight in civil war and that martial land was being destroyed by her own might, it was the custom for squadrons coming together on the same side to exchange joined right hands as gifts. This is a token of alliance; concord has this for a sign - those whom affection joined the hand joins also.


1. а‘Martial land’, a reference not only to Rome’s bellicose history but to the legend that Rome’s founder Romulus was the son of Mars, the god of war.

2. аCf. Horace, Epodes 16.2, ‘Rome is being destroyed by her own might’ (written during the civil conflicts of 41 BC).

3. аThese were fashioned in some kind of metal for use as tokens of friendship; see e.g. Tacitus, The Histories 1.54 and 2.8, (referring to another time of civil conflict, 69 - 70 AD). Alciato worked on the text of Tacitus and wrote some annotations.

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