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Section: IUSTITIA (Justice). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C4r p39]

Bonis à divitibus, nihil
timendum.

The good have nothing to fear from the rich.

Iunctus contiguo Marius mihi pariete, nec non
Subbardus[1], nostri nomina nota fori,[2]
Aedificant bene nummati, sataguntque vel ultrò
Obstruere heu nostris undique luminibus.
Me miserum, geminae quem tanquam Phinea raptant
Harpyiae,[3] ut propriis sedibus eiiciant.
Integritas nostra, atque animus quaesitor honesti,[4]
His nisi sint Zetes, his nisi sint Calais.

Marius is joined to me by a connecting wall, and so is Subbardus, names well-known in our little community. Having plenty of cash, they are building, and what’s more, busily doing their best, without any provocation on my part, to block my windows, alas, on every side. What a plight I am in - I am like Phineus, attacked by two Harpies, trying to throw me out of my own home, unless my integrity, my mind that is a seeker of the right, act as my Zetes and my Calais against them.

Notes:

1.  Marius, the typical self-made man (referring to humble origins of Gaius Marius, the consul and general). Subbardus, possibly ‘Mr. Thick’.

2.  nostri...fori, ‘in our little community’, probably a reference to the forum in any Roman town as a centre of commercial and legal activities. So these are businessmen or lawyers, possibly the second, as they are acting illegally on several counts.

3.  The Harpies, symbols of injustice, were carrying off or soiling Phineus’ food so that he could not eat. He was delivered by Zetes and Calais, the winged sons of the North Wind and Oreithyia. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.711-7.4.

4.  Integritas...quaesitor. These words (‘integrity’, ‘seeker’) are probably a punning reference to supposed etymologies of Calais and Zetes as if derived from Greek καλός ‘beautiful, good’ and ζητειν ‘to seek’. For the sentiment of lines 7 - 8, cf. Horace, Odes 1.22.1-2: he whose life is blameless and who knows no sin has no need of Moorish weapons.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q2r p243]

Gramen.

LXXXVII.

Pour Annibal matté, le Senat Rommain donne
Au prudent Fabius de gramen la couronne.[1]
Ses petits l’alouëtte avec le gramen cache,
Les en entoure, & puis les couver elle tasche.
A Saturne & à Mars le gramen est sacré:
Glauque en ayant mangé devint Dieu consacré.[2]
Ceste herbe pour plusieurs vertus est fort insigne,[3]
Et pource de tutele & salut elle est signe.

Commentaires.

La couronne graminee, qu’on appelle aussi obsi-
dionale, estoit donnee à celuy qui avoit delivré ceux
qui estoyent assiegés: & se faisoit avec le gramen qui
estoit creu dans l’enclos des assiegés.Ceste couronne,
la plus noble de toutes, fut baillee au grand Fabius,
pource que par sa patience & bon conseil, il avoit
rompu tout les desseings d’Annibal. Glauque, pe-
scheur, & excellent nageur, ayant pris grande quan-
tité de poissons, qui luy pesoyent beaucoup, les des-
chargea sur le rivage, desquels l’un, qui se mouroit,
ayant gousté d’une herbe qu’il fouloit, revint soudain
en vie & en vigueur, & saillit dans l’eau: ce
qu’ayant apperceu Glauque, en voulut aussi manger
& ceste viande luy apporta immortalité. Saturne
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q2v p244] sema cest [=ceste] herbe, & l’appella, le gramen des Dieux:
Il croissoit en quantité au champ de Mars. Le gra-
men est distingué par plusieurs noeuds, & ce qui est
entre deux noeuds, s’appelle doigt: tellement qu’on
appelle ceste herbe digitale: nom qu’on baille aussi à
l’aristolochie.

Notes:

1.  Quintus Fabius Maximus was nicknamed Cunctator, ‘the Delayer’, for his strategy of avoiding pitched battles with Hannibal’s triumphant army in the Second Punic War. This contributed to Hannibal’s eventual withdrawal from Italy. Cf. Ennius’ famous line, Annals, 370: unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem: ‘one man by his delaying tactics saved the day for us’. A crown of fresh grass plucked from the spot was given to its general by a whole army if delivered from a state of siege. Fabius was awarded such a crown by general consent for saving all Italy from the threat of Hannibal. See Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 5.6.10; Pliny, Natural History, 22.4.6ff.

2.  Some of the divine herb sown by Cronos (a Greek divinity equated with the Roman Saturn) was eaten by Glaucus the fisherman, who then became a sea-god; see Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 7.296e; 15.679a; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 13.917ff.

3.  See Pliny, Natural History, 24.118.178-83 for the medicinal uses of grass. The finger-grass (ib.183) is common in Mediterranean areas.


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