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Lasting renown won through tribulation

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Crediderat platani ramis sua pignora passer,
Et bene in [=ni] saevo visa dracone forent.
Glutiit hic pullos omnes miseramque parentem,
Saxeus, & tali dignus obire nece,
Haec nisi mentitur chalchas monumenta laboris,
Sunt longi, cuius fama perennis eat.[1]

A sparrow had entrusted her young to the branches of a plane-tree, and all would have been well, if they had not been observed by a merciless snake. This creature devoured all the chicks and the hapless parent too, a stony-hearted beast, turned to stone as it deserved. Unless Calchas speaks falsely, these are the tokens of long toil, the fame of which will go on through all the years.


1. See Homer, Iliad 2.299ff. for this portent which occurred at Aulis, where the Greek fleet was waiting to sail for Troy. Calchas the seer interpreted the eating of the eight chicks and their mother, followed by the death of the snake, as foretelling the nine-year battle for Troy, followed by success.

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  • Industriousness, Assiduity; 'Assiduità', 'Industria', 'Zelo' (Ripa) [54A11] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Difficulty (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54DD4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Punishment; 'Castigo', 'Pena', 'Punitione' (Ripa) [57BB13] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Fame; 'Fama', 'Fama buona', 'Fama chiara' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [59B32(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • sacrifice to Jupiter and Apollo: a snake swallows a nest of eight young birds and their mother; the augur Calchas explains the portent [94D12] Search | Browse Iconclass

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