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Section: PERFIDIA (Treachery). View all emblems in this section.

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In fraudulentos.

Deceivers

Parva lacerta, atris stellatus corpora guttis
Stellio,[1] qui latebras, & cava busta colit,
Invidiae, pravique doli fert symbola pictus.
Heu nimium nuribus cognita zelotypis.
Nam turpi obtegitur faciem lentigine quisquis,
Sit quibus immersus Stellio, vina bibat.[2]
Hinc vindicta frequens decepta pellice vino,
Quam formae amisso flore relinquit amans.

The little lizard, called the ‘starred’ gecko from the dark star-shaped marks sprinkled all over its body, a creature that lurks in holes and hollow tombs, is pictured here and presents symbols of resentment and wicked deception, known only too well to jealous wives. For anyone who drinks wine in which a spotted gecko has been soaked comes out in ugly spots all over the face. This is often a way of taking revenge - the husband’s fancy woman is tricked with wine, and, when the flower of her beauty is gone, her lover abandons her.

Notes:

1. stellio, ‘the ‘starred’ gecko’. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 5.461 for the explanation of the name stellio.

2. Nam turpi...vina bibat, ‘anyone who drinks wine...all over the face’. See Pliny, Natural History, 29.22.73.


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Philautia.

Self-satisfaction.

Qud nimium tua forma tibi Narcisse placebat,
In florem, & noti est versa stuporis olus.[1]
Ingenii est marcor, cludesque [=cladesque] philautia, doctos
Quae pessum plures datque deditque viros.
Qui veterum abiecta methodo, nova dogmata quaerunt.
Nilque suas praeter tradere phantasias.

Because your beauty gave you too much satisfaction, Narcissus, it was turned both into a flower and into a plant of acknowledged insensibility. Self-satisfaction is the rot and destruction of the mind. Learned men in plenty it has ruined, and ruins still, men who cast off the method of teachers of old and aim to pass on new doctrines, nothing more than their own imaginings.

Notes:

1. For the story of Narcissus, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.344ff. On the flower, see Pliny, Natural History, 21.75.128: “there are two kinds of narcissus... The leafy one ... makes the head thick and is called narcissus from narce (‘numbness’), not from the boy in the story.” (cf. ‘narcotic’).


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