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SIGNA FORTIUM.

The mark of the brave

Quae te causa movet volucris Saturnia[1] magni,
Ut tumulo insideas ardua Aristomenis[2]?
Hoc moneo quantum inter aves ego robore praesto,
Tantum semideos inter Aristomenes.
Insideant timidae timidorum busta columbae,
Nos aquilae intrepidis signa benigna damus.

Saturnian bird, what cause brings you to stand with uplifted wings on the tomb of mighty Aristomenes? - I tell you this - as I stand out among the birds in power, so does Aristomenes among the sons of gods. Fearful doves may perch on the graves of the fearful. We eagles give signs of favour to the fearless.

Notes:

1. volucris Saturnia, ‘Saturnian bird’, i.e. the eagle, attendant on Jupiter, son of Saturn.

2. Aristomenes was a Messenian hero of the seventh century BC, of semi-divine origin, who performed incredible exploits while leading his country for many years in resistance to the Spartans. On one occasion an eagle aided his miraculous escape from captivity.


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  • doves, pigeons [34B231] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosit… dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virtu del animo', 'Forza'(Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Courage, Bravery, Valiance, Manliness; 'Ardire magnanimo et generoso', 'Gagliardezza', 'Valore', 'Virtù heroica', 'Virtù dell'animo e del corpo' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A8(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Cowardice [54AA8] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Fear, Dread; 'Paura', 'Timidità o Timore', 'Timore' (Ripa) [56DD1] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Section: PUDICITIA (Chastity). View all emblems in this section.

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PUDICITIA.

Chastity

Porphirio domini si incestet in aedibus uxor,
Despondetque animum, praeque dolore perit.
Abdita in arcanis naturae est causa. sit index
Syncerae haec volucris certa pudicitiae.[1]

If the wife in its master’s house is unfaithful, the moorhen despairs and dies of grief. The reason lies hidden in the secrets of nature. This bird may serve as a sure sign of untarnished chastity.

Notes:

1. For this information about the porphyrio (purple gallinule, a kind of moorhen) see Aelian, De Natura animalium, 3.42; Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 9,388C: the purple gallinule ... when it is domesticated, ... keeps a sharp eye on married women and is so affected if the wife commits adultery, that it ends its life by strangling and so gives warning to its master.


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