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Section: RESPUBLICA (The State). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [L1v p162]

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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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E5r f37r]

Contra.[1]

A contrary view.

Vesparum quòd nulla unquam Rex spicula figet.[2]
Quodque aliis duplo corpore maior erit,
Arguet imperium clemens, moderataque regna,
Sanctaque iudicibus credita iura bonis.

The king of the wasps will never implant any sting and will be twice as big as the rest. This will be a sign of mild dominion, a disciplined kingdom, and inviolable law entrusted to good judges.

Notes:

1.  It is to be noted that in this edition, Maledicentia and Contra are treated as one emblem whereas in other editions Contra is treated as an emblem in its own right called Principis Clementia.

2.  According to Pliny, Natural History, 11.21.74, wasps do not have ‘kings’: it is the ‘mother’ wasps that are without stings. On the other hand, the ‘king’ bee (the ancients believed the queen bee to be male) and its lack of sting, or refusal to use its sting, was often mentioned; e.g. Aelian, De natura animalium, 5.10; Pliny, ibid., 17.52. For the analogy with kingship, see e.g. Seneca, De Clementia, 1.19; Erasmus, Adagia, 2601 (Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit).


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