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Section: ASTROLOGIA (Studying the stars). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G7v p110]

Scyphus Nestoris.

Nestor’s cup

Nestoreum geminis cratera hunc accipe fundis,[1]
Quod gravis argenti massa profudit opus.
Claviculi ex auro: stant circum quatuor ansae:
Unam quanque super fulva columba sedet.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G8r p111]Solus eum potuit longaevus tollere Nestor.
Meonidae doceas quid sibi musa velit?
Est coelum scyphus ipse. color argenteus illi est:
Aurea sunt coeli sidera claviculi.
Pleiadas esse putant, quas dixerit ille columbas.[2]
Umblici [=Umbilici] gemini,[3] magna minorque fera est.[4]
Haec Nestor longo sapiens intelligit usu,
Bella gerunt fortes, callidus astra tenet.

Receive this bowl of Nestor with its double support, a work which a heavy mass of silver shaped. Its studs are of gold. Four handles stand about it. Above each one sits a yellow dove. Only aged Nestor was able to lift it. Do tell us what Homer’s Muse intended. The cup itself is the heavens; its colour is silvery; the studs are the golden stars of heaven. They think that what he called doves are the Pleiades. The twin bosses are the great and lesser beast. The wise Nestor understood this by long experience: the strong wage war, the wise man grasps the stars.

Notes:

1.  Nestor’s bowl is described at Homer, Iliad, 11.632-7. Only Nestor, for all his great age (see Emblem 25. n.5, [A50a025]) could lift it when full. For the interpretation of Nestor’s cup (or mixing bowl) given here, see Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 11.487 F ff.

2.  The Greek word for ‘doves’ is πελειάδες.

3.  ‘twin bosses’, i.e. possibly the protuberances inside the bowl where it was joined to the two supports.

4.  ‘great and lesser beast’, i.e. the Great and Little Bear, a phrase based on Ovid, Tristia, 4.3.1: ‘magna minorque ferae’.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B3r f11r]

Strenuorum immortale nomen.

Achievers have an immortal name

Aeacidae tumulum Rhoetaeo in littore cernis,[1]
Quem plerunque pedes visitat alba Thetis.[2]
Obtegitur semper viridi lapis hic amarantho,[3]
Quòd nunquam herois sit moriturus honos.
Hic Graium murus.[4] magni nex Hectoris haud plus
Debet Maeonidae, quàm sibi Maeonides.[5]

You see the tomb of Aeacus’ descendant on the Rhoetean shore, which white-footed Thetis often visits. This stone is always covered with green amaranth, because the honour due to heroes shall never die. This man was‘the wall of the Greeks’, and the destruction of great Hector, and he owes no more to the Lydian poet than the poet does to him.

Notes:

1.  ‘Aeacus’ descendant’, i.e. Achilles, the greatest warrior on the Greek side in the Trojan War. Rhoeteum was a promontory on the Trojan coast (though normally associated with the tomb of Ajax).

2.  Thetis, a sea-nymph, mother of Achilles, called ‘silver-footed’ by Homer.

3.  amarantho: the name of the plant means ‘never-fading’. See Pliny, Natural History, 21.23.47.

4.  ‘the wall of the Greeks’, translating Homer’s description of Achilles at Iliad, 3.229.

5.  Maeonidae, ‘to the Lydian poet’, i.e. Homer, who told in the Iliad the famous story of Achilles’ wrath and refusal to fight during the Trojan War, and of his eventual slaying of Hector, the chief warrior on the Trojan side. For the sentiment that great deeds need to be sung in order not to be forgotten, see Horace, Odes, 4.8.20ff; and that great literature needs great themes, see Tacitus, Dialogus de oratoribus, 37.


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