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Tumulus meretricis.

The courtesan’s tomb

Quis tumulus? cuia urna? Ephyraeae est Laidos,[1] & non
Erubuit tantum perdere Parca[2] decus?
Nulla fuit tum forma, illam iam carpserat aetas,
Iam speculum Veneri cauta dicarat[3] anus.
Quid scalptus sibi vult Aries[4], quem parte leaena
Unguibus apprensum posteriore tenet?
Non aliter captos, qud & ipsa teneret amantes,
Vir gregis est aries, clune tenetur amans.

What tomb, whose urn is this? - It belongs to Lais of Ephyre. - Ah, was not the goddess of Fate ashamed to destroy such loveliness? - She had no beauty then. Age had already worn it away. She had become an old woman and had already wisely dedicated her mirror to Venus. - What’s the meaning of the ram carved there, which a lioness holds tight, gripping its hind-quarters with her claws? - It is there because she too would hold her captive lovers in just this way. The male of the flock is the ram. The lover is held by the buttocks.

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Le sepulchre dune paillarde.

Ou Lays estoit enterree,
Lon fit ung mouton en paincture,
Ayant au cul pate serree
Du lyon, aspre a la pasture:
Et designe tel pourtraicture,
Que ung amoureux est pris par leine:
Comme telle simple creature,
Prise est au derrier par sa laine.

Notes:

1. ‘Lais of Ephyre’. Ephyre is an old name for Corinth, the home of several famous courtesans called Lais.

2. One of the Parcae or Fates, here presumably Atropos, the Fate who cut off the thread of the individual’s life.

3. As a symbol of retirement, the tools of one’s trade were dedicated to the presiding deity. For Lais dedicating her mirror to Venus, see Anthologia graeca 6.1 and 18.

4. Scalptus...aries, ‘the ram carved there’. Pausanias Periegesis 2.2.4 describes such a tomb of Lais at Corinth.


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Concordia.

Concord

In bellum civile duces cm Roma pararet,
Viribus & caderet Martia terra[1] suis,[2]
Mox [=Mos] fuit in partes turmis countibus hasdem,
Coniunctas dextras[3] mutua dona dari.
Foederis haec species, id habet Concordia signum,
Ut quos iungit amor, iungat & ipsa manus.

When Rome was marshalling her generals to fight in civil war and that martial land was being destroyed by her own might, it was the custom for squadrons coming together on the same side to exchange joined right hands as gifts. This is a token of alliance; concord has this for a sign - those whom affection joins the hand joins also.

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Concorde.

Pour la paix faire & casser guerre,
Les anciens touchoient aux mains:
Et navoient pour serment aultre arre,
Les capitaines des Romains.
Ce signe feist les cueurs humains,
Et joignoit la main les concordes:
Ores tel signe nest ferme, ains,
Lon rompt bien du serment les cordes.

Notes:

1. ‘Martial land’, a reference not only to Rome’s bellicose history but to the legend that Rome’s founder Romulus was the son of Mars, the god of war.

2. Cf. Horace, Epodes 16.2, ‘Rome is being destroyed by her own might’ (written during the civil conflicts of 41 BC).

3. These were fashioned in some kind of metal for use as tokens of friendship; see e.g. Tacitus, The Histories 1.54 and 2.8, (referring to another time of civil conflict, 69 - 70 AD). Alciato worked on the text of Tacitus and wrote some annotations.


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