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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Ll2v p532]

In illaudata laudantes.

Praising the wrong things

EMBLEMA CXXIV.

Ingentes Galatum semiermi milite turmas,
Spem praeter, trepidus fuderat Antiochus:[1]
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Ll3r p533]Lucarum cům saeva boum vis,[2] ira, proboscis,[3]
Tum primům[4] hostiles corripuisset equos.
Ergo trophaea locans Elephantis imagine pinxit;
Insuper & sociis, Occideramus, ait,
Bellua servasset ni nos foedissima barrus:
Ut superasse iuvat, sic superasse pudet.

Antiochus, in spite of his fears, had beyond all expectation routed the huge squadrons of Galatians with his light-armed troops, when the savage might of elephants, their raging and their trunks, for the first time ever fell upon the enemy’s cavalry. So when he set up the trophy, he adorned it with the picture of an elephant and furthermore said to his troops: ‘We would have fallen, if this revolting beast, the elephant, had not preserved us. Pleasing as it is to conquer, it is galling to conquer like this’.

Notes:

1.  For this incident, see Lucian, Zeuxis sive Antiochus 8-11. In 276 BC Antiochus I won against fearful odds by directing his sixteen elephants against the Galatian horsemen and scythed chariots. Not only did the horses turn in panic and cause chaos among their own infantry, but the elephants came on behind, tossing, goring and trampling. Although he had won an overwhelming victory, Antiochus did not consider it a matter for congratulation.

2.  ‘Might of elephants’, lit. ‘might of Lucanian cattle’, supposedly so called by the Romans because they first saw these strange beasts in Lucania in south Italy, when King Pyrrhus of Epirus made use of them in his defeat of the Romans at the battle of Heraclea in 280 BC. See Pliny, Natural History 8.6.16.

3.  Some editions give dira proboscis, ‘their terrible trunk’.

4.  ‘For the first time ever’. The Galatians, Celtic tribes who had invaded Asia Minor, had never seen elephants before. Elephants had often been used in battle on other occasions.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [K2v p148]

In momentaneam felicitatem.

Transitory success

Aëriam propter crevisse cucurbita pinum
Dicitur, & grandi luxuriasse coma.
Cům ramos complexa, ipsumque egressa cacumen,
Se praestare aliis credidit arboribus.
Cui pinus, nimium brevis est haec gloria: nam te
Protinus adveniet quae malč perdat[1] hyems.

A gourd, it is said, grew beside a lofty pine and flourished with abundant foliage. When it had enveloped the branches and grown taller than the tree-top, it then thought itself superior to the other trees. The pine said to it: This glory is exceedingly brief. For winter will shortly come which will utterly destroy you.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [K3r p149]

A la briefve felicite.

La Courbte dung seul grain venue,
Le long dung hault arbre monta:
Et faict tant, quelle est pervenue,
A ce, quelle le surmonta.
Lors sur tous arbres se jacta:
A quoy larbre la portant dit,
Lhiver qui vient une mort a,
Qui effacera ton credit.

Notes:

1.  Textual variant: perdet.


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  • winter, 'Hyems'; 'Inverno' (Ripa) [23D41] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • leaf [25G(+27)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Turn of Fate, Wheel of Fortune (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54F121(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Short Felicity; 'Felicitŕ breve' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [56B22(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Honour, Glory; 'Ampiezza della Gloria', 'Gloria', 'Gloria de prencipi', 'Gloria & Honore', 'Honore', 'Sublimatŕ della Gloria' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [59B31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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