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Section: FIDES (Good faith). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B2r p19]

Nec quaestioni quidem
cedendum.

Do not yield even to torture.

Cecropia effictam quam cernis in arce Leaenam,
Hermodii (an nescis hospes?) amica fuit.
Sic animum placuit monstrare viraginis acrem
More ferae, nomen vel quia tale tulit.
Quòd fidibus contorta, suo non prodidit ullum
Indicio, elinguem reddidit Iphicrates. [1]

This lioness that you see represented on the Athenian citadel was Harmodius’ lover - stranger, you must know the story. This was how they decided to proclaim the brave woman’s fierce spirit, by representing her as a lioness. Besides, her name was Lioness too. Tortured on the rack, she betrayed no-one by her evidence, and so Iphicrates represented the beast without a tongue.

Notes:

1.  Harmodius and Aristogeiton conspired to kill Hipparchus, the brother of the Athenian tyrant Hippias. Harmodius was killed, Aristogeiton arrested and tortured. Also tortured was Leaena (‘Lioness’) a courtesan, beloved of Harmodius, as she too was suspected of being in the conspiracy. She however revealed nothing. After the fall of Hippias, the two men were treated as tyrannicides and bronze statues were erected in their honour (509 BC). To avoid appearing to honour a courtesan, the Athenians had Leaena represented by Iphicrates (or Amphicrates) as a lioness without a tongue, indicating both her name and the reason for remembering her. See Pliny, Natural History 34.19.72; Plutarch, De garrulitate 505E.


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  • tongue [31A22141] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • torture [44G330] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Taciturnity; 'Secretezza', 'Secretezza overo Taciturnità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52DD3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Courage, Bravery, Valiance, Manliness; 'Ardire magnanimo et generoso', 'Gagliardezza', 'Valore', 'Virtù heroica', 'Virtù dell'animo e del corpo' (Ripa) [54A8] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Honour, Glory; 'Ampiezza della Gloria', 'Gloria', 'Gloria de prencipi', 'Gloria & Honore', 'Honore', 'Sublimatà della Gloria' (Ripa) [59B31] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • names of cities and villages (with NAME) [61E(ATHENS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Harmodius and Aristogiton representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(HARMODIUS & ARISTOGITON)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • male persons from classical history (with NAME) representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(IPHICRATES)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • female persons from classical history (with NAME) suffering, misfortune of person from classical history [98C(LAENA)6] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A6r f6r]

Antiquissima quaeque com-
mentitia.

The oldest things are all invented

Pellenaee senex, cui forma est histrica, Proteu, [1]
Qui modo membra viri fers, modo membra feri,
Dic age quae species ratio te vertit in omnes,
Nulla sit ut vario certa figura tibi?
Signa vetustatis, primaevi & praefero secli: [2]
De quo quisque suo somniat arbitrio.

Proteus, old man of Pallene, whose outward appearance changes like an actor’s, assuming sometimes the body of a man, sometimes that of a beast, come, tell me, what is your reason for turning into all kinds of shapes, so that you have no permanent form as you constantly alter? I offer symbols of antiquity and the very first times, concerning which everyone dreams up what he will.

Notes:

1.  Proteus was ‘the Old Man of the Sea’, who evaded capture by constantly changing his shape. See e.g. Homer, Odyssey, 4.400ff.; Vergil, Georgics, 4. 405-10, 440-2; Erasmus, Adagia, 1174 (Proteo mutabilior). Vergil (Georgics, 4.391) describes him living near the headland of Pallene (on the Macedonian coast). The idea of Proteus as a gifted actor or mime-artist is taken from Lucian, Saltatio, 19.

2.  signa vetustatis primaevi et...secli, ‘symbols of antiquity and the very first times’. Pallene (see n.1.) suggested a connection with the Greek word παλαιός ‘ancient’, as the name Proteus was supposedly connected with πρώτιστος, ‘the very first’.


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