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QUO DII VOCANT EUNDUM.

Go where Heaven calls

In trivio mons est lapidum, supereminet illi,
Trunca dei effigies pectore facta tenus.
Mercurii est igitur tumulus, suspende viator,
Serta Deo, rectum qui tibi monstrat iter.[1]
Omnes in trivio sumus, atque hoc tramite vitae
Fallimur, ostendat ni deus ipse viam.[2]

At a parting of the ways, there is a hillock of stones. Rising above it is a half-statue of a god, fashioned as far down as the chest. So the hill is Mercury’s. Traveller, hang wreaths in honour of the god who points out the road to you. We are all at the crossroads, and on this track of life we go wrong, unless God himself shows us the way.

Notes:

1.  Mercury was, among his many other functions, the god of travellers.

2.  In the emblem In studiosum captum amore [A31a071], we also see Mercury with horns.


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PAX.

Peace

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Turrigeris humeris, dentis quoque barrus eburni,
Qui superare ferox Martia bella solet. [M]
Supposuit nunc colla iugo stimulisque subactus,
Caesareos currus ad pia templa vehit.
Vel fera cognoscit concordes undique gentes,
Proiectisque armis munia pacis obit.[1]

The elephant, with its tower-bearing shoulders and ivory tusk, a beast accustomed to dominate the conflicts of Mars with savage ravings, has now submitted its neck to the yoke: subdued by goads, it draws Caesar’s chariot to the holy temples. Even the beast recognises nations reconciled on every side, and rejecting the weapons of war, it performs the duties of peace.

[Marginalia - link to text]Vide Suetonium in vita Gaii [Julii] Caesaris.[2]

Notes:

1.  This is translated from Anthologia graeca 9.285, which refers to an occasion under the Emperor Tiberius when the statue of the Deified Augustus was for the first time borne in procession in a chariot drawn by elephants.

2.  The episode in Suetonius’s ‘Life of Julius Caesar’ (ch. 37) is not really relevant to this text.


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