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Salus publica.

The nation’s health

Phoebigena erectis Epidaurius insidet aris,[1]
Mitis & immani conditur angue deus.
Accurrunt aegri, veniatque salutifer orant:
Annuit, atque ratas efficit ille preces.

The Epidaurian scion of Phoebus broods on the altars built for him, and the god, all gentle, is concealed in a huge snake. The sick come running and beg him to draw near with healing. He consents and ratifies their prayers.

Notes:

1.  ‘The Epidaurian scion of Phoebus’, i.e. Aesculapius, son of Phoebus [Apollo] and god of medicine and healing. His main sanctuary and centre of healing was near Epidaurus in Greece. The god’s epiphany and symbol was a snake, and a number of sacred snakes were kept at the sanctuary. One of these was brought to Rome in 293 BC in hopes of stopping an outbreak of plague. The snake made its home on the Island in the Tiber, where a shrine and medical centre was subsequently built. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.626ff.


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Respublica liberata.

The republic restored to freedom

Caesaris exitio ceu libertate recepta,
Haec ducibus Brutis cusa moneta fuit,
Ensiculi in primis, queis pileus insuper adstat,
Qualem missa manu servitia accipiunt.[1]

When Caesar had been destroyed, as a sign of liberty regained, this coin was struck by the leaders, Brutus and his brother. In chief are daggers, beside which there also stands a cap, such as slaves receive when set free.

Notes:

1.  Julius Caesar, who had become in effect the sole ruler of Rome, was assassinated on the Ides of March in 44 BC by Marcus and Decimus Brutus, Cassius and other conspirators. Alciato describes the well-known coin-type celebrating the restoration of republican government issued by Brutus after the murder. This bears the legend EID.MAR. (The Ides of March) across the lower section; above this, occupying the upper two thirds of the coin face, are two upright daggers with a cap of liberty between. Alciato had presumably seen or owned such a coin. He wrote a short treatise on ancient coins.


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