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VIRTUTI FORTUNA COMES.

Good fortune attendant on virtue

Anguibus implicitis geminisque caduceus[1] alis,
Inter Amaltheae cornua[2] rectus adest.
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B1v]Pollentes sic mente viros, fandique peritos,
Indicat, ut rerum copia multa beet.

The caduceus, with entwined snakes and twin wings, stands upright between the horns of Amalthea. It thus indicates how material wealth blesses men of powerful intellect, skilled in speaking.

Notes:

1. This was the herald’s staff, attribute of Mercury, god of eloquence, intellectual pursuits and financial success. The entwined serpents are a symbol of peace. See Pliny Natural History 29.12.54. The caduceus was Alciato’s personal device and was carved on his tomb at Pavia.

2. Amalthea was the she-goat that suckled the infant Jupiter. Her horn became the cornucopia, the horn of plenty. See Erasmus, Adagia 502, Copiae cornu.


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  • Eloquence; 'Eloquenza', 'Fermezza & Gravità dell'Oratione' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Success; 'Evento buono' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54F1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Luck, Fortune, Lot; 'Fato', 'Fortuna', 'Fortuna aurea', 'Fortuna buona', 'Fortuna pacifica overo clemente', 'Sorte' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54F12(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Virtuousness; 'Amor di Virtù', 'Attione virtuosa', 'Guida sicura de' veri honori', 'Virtù', 'Virtù insuperabile' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57A6(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • 'Cornucopia', Horn of Plenty [92B11221] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B8v p32]

In avaros, vel quibus melior conditio
ab extraneis offertur.[1]

On the avaricious; or being treated better by strangers.

Delphini insidens vada caerula sulcat Arion[2],
Hocque aures mulcet, fraenat & ora sono.
Qum sit avari hominis, non tam mens dira ferarum est,
Quique viris rapimur, piscibus eripimur.

Astride a dolphin, Arion cleaves the dark blue waves, and with this song charms the creature’s ears and muzzles its mouth: “The mind of wild beasts is not so savage as that of greedy man. We who are savaged by men are saved by fish”.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [C1r p33]

De ceulx qui ont bon heur
par estrangiers.

Lon gectoit Arion en mer,
Qui tenant sa Harpe, supplie
Quil joue, avant que en eaue pasmer:
Il chet sa chanson accomplye.
Mais leaue de poissons remplye,
Preste ung Daulphin, qui le supporte:
Ainsi la beste ayde desplye,
Contre le mal que lhomme apporte.

Notes:

1. The first Wechel edition in 1534 had a different woodcut.

2. The crew of the ship on which the celebrated musician Arion was travelling, after robbing him, prepared to throw him overboard. He persuaded them to allow him to play his lyre for the last time. Then, after invoking the gods, he jumped into the sea, whereupon a music-loving dolphin conveyed him to land. See Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 16.19.


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