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MULIERIS FAMAM NON
formam vulgatam esse
oportere.

A woman’s reputation, not her beauty, should be known to the world.

Alma Venus quae nam haec facies quid denotat illa,
Testudo molli quam pede diva premis?
Me sic effinxit phidias,[1] sexumque referri,
Foemineum nostra iussit ab effigie,
Quodque manere domi & tacitas decet esse puellas,
Supposuit pedibus talia signa meis.

Kindly Venus, what form is this, what does that tortoise mean, on which, o goddess, your soft feet rest? Phidias fashioned me like this. He intended the female sex to be represented by this image of me. Girls should stay at home and keep silence, and so he put such symbols under my feet.

Notes:

1.Phidias’ statue of Aphrodite with one foot on a tortoise, set up at Elis, is mentioned by Pausanias, Periegesis 6.25.1. The tortoise is a symbol of ideal female domesticity, as it keeps silent and never leaves its house see Plutarch Coniugalia praecepta 32 (Mor. 142).


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  • Beauty; 'Bellezza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51D4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Taciturnity; 'Secretezza', 'Secretezza overo Taciturnit√†' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52DD3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Good Behaviour (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57A1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Fame; 'Fama', 'Fama buona', 'Fama chiara' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [59B32(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • male persons from classical history (with NAME) non-aggressive activities of person from classical history [98B(PHIDIAS)5] Search | Browse Iconclass

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BONIS A DIVITIBUS nihil
timendum.

The good have nothing to fear from the rich

Iunctus contiguo Marius, mihi pariete, nec non,
Subbardus[1] nostri nomina nota fori.[2]
Aedificant bene nummati, sattaguntque vel ultro,
Obstruere heu nostris undique luminibus.
Me miserum geminae, quem tamquam phinea restant [=raptant]
Harpyae,[3] ut propriis sedibus eiiciant.
Integritas vestra [=nostra] , atque animus quesitor honesti,[4]
His nisi sunt [=sisnt] Zetes, his nisi sint Calais.

Marius is joined to me by a connecting wall, and so is Subbardus, names well-known in our little community. Having plenty of cash, they are building, and what’s more, busily doing their best, without any provocation on my part, to block my windows, alas, on every side. What a plight I am in - I am like Phineus, attacked by two Harpies, trying to throw me out of my own home, unless my integrity, my mind that is a seeker of the right, act as my Zetes and my Calais against them.

Notes:

1.Marius, the typical self-made man (referring to humble origins of Gaius Marius, the consul and general). Subbardus, possibly ‘Mr. Thick’.

2.nostri...fori, ‘in our little community’, probably a reference to the forum in any Roman town as a centre of commercial and legal activities. So these are businessmen or lawyers, possibly the second, as they are acting illegally on several counts.

3.The Harpies, symbols of injustice, were carrying off or soiling Phineus’ food so that he could not eat. He was delivered by Zetes and Calais, the winged sons of the North Wind and Oreithyia. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.711-7.4.

4.Integritas...quaesitor. These words (‘integrity’, ‘seeker’) are probably a punning reference to supposed etymologies of Calais and Zetes as if derived from Greek kalos ‘beautiful, good’ and zetein ‘to seek’. For the sentiment of lines 7 - 8, cf. Horace, Odes 1.22.1-2: he whose life is blameless and who knows no sin has no need of Moorish weapons.


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