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IN ADULATORES.

Flatterers

De Chameleonte vide Plinium naturalis historia
libro. VIII. Cap. XXXIII.

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Semper hiat, semper tenuem qua vescitur auram[1],
Reciprocat chamaeleon[2].
Et mutat faciem varios sumitque colores,
Praeter rubrum vel candidum.[3]
Sic & adulator populari vescitur aura,[4]
Hiansque cuncta devorat.
Et solum mores imitatur principis atros.
Albi & pudici nescius.

The Chameleon is always breathing in and out with open mouth the bodiless air on which it feeds; it changes its appearance and takes on various colours, except for red and white. - Even so the flatterer feeds on the wind of popular approval and gulps down all with open mouth. He imitates only the black features of the prince, knowing nothing of the white and pure.

Notes:

1. Corrected from the Errata and by hand in this copy.

2. This creature was supposed to feed only on air, keeping its mouth wide open to suck it in. See Pliny, Natural History 8.51.122. For the chameleon cf. Erasmus, Parabolae pp.144, 241, 252.

3. ‘except for red and white’. See Pliny, ib.

4. ‘the wind of popular approval’. This is a common metaphor in Latin, e.g. Horace, Odes 3.2.20, ‘at the behest of the wind of popular approval.’


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    EMBLEMA XV.

    Nobiles & generosi.

    High born and noble

    Aurea Caecropias[1] nectebat fibula vestes:
    Cui coniuncta tenax dente cicada fuit.
    Calceus, Arcadico suberat cui lunula ritu,[2]
    Gestatur patribus mullea Romulidis.[3]
    Indigenas quod se adsererent haec signa tulerunt,
    Antiqua illustres nobilitate viri.

    A golden brooch knitted together the robes of Cecrops’ descendants, a brooch which had attached to it a cicada, gripping with a tooth. A shoe called a mullea with a little crescent-shaped ornament below in Arcadian fashion was worn by Romulus’ patrician clans. Because they proclaimed themselves descendants of the earliest inhabitants, men distinguished by ancient noble lineage wore these symbols.

    Das XV.

    Edel und Wolgeborn.

    Die Edlen trugen zu Athen
    An irn Kleidern glden hafften
    Daran waren Cicaden gmacht
    Damits zsammen hefften zum pracht
    An den Schuhen die Gschlechter zRom
    Theten tragen ein gldin Mon
    Auff Arcadisch monier und wei
    Den sie hielten mit grossem flei
    Damit zeigen sie an gar fein
    Das sie innwohner di Lands seyn
    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [C8v f11v]Von andern orten nit her komm
    Sonder da iren anfang gnomm.

    Notes:

    1. Cecropias, ‘of Cecrops’ descendants’, i.e. Athenians claiming descent from Cecrops, the autochthonous first king of Athens. See Emblem 144 ([A67a144]), notes.

    2. Arcadico...ritu, ‘in Arcadian fashion’. The Arcadians wore crescent-shaped ornaments because they believed themselves to be the first men on earth and older than the moon. See Ovid, Fastii, 2.290. Evander, who came from Arcadia, was the founder of the primitive settlement on the Palatine hill which preceded Romulus’ Rome. See Vergil, Aeneid, 8.; Plutarch, Quaestiones Romanae, 76.

    3. patribus...Romulidis, ‘Romulus’ patrician clans’, i.e. members of the inner circle of noble Roman families claiming descent from the first senators (patres), one hundred in number, appointed by Romulus, founder and first ruler of Rome. These patrician families wore a distinctive black boot with a crescent-shaped ornament. Those members who achieved high political office wore similar red boots, calcei mullei, so called because their colour was like that of a mullet (according to Isidore, Etymologiae (Origines), 19.34.4 and 10).


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