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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [b1v p18]

Non vulganda consilia.

Keep counsels secret.

VIII.

Limine quod caeco, obscura & caligine monstrum[1]
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [b2r p19]Gnosiacis clausit Daedalus in latebris:
Depictum Romana phalanx in praelia gestat,
Semiviroque nitent signa superba[2] bove.
Nosque monent, debere ducum secreta[3] latere
Consilia, authori cognita techna nocet.

The monster that Daedalus imprisoned in its Cretan lair, with hidden entrance and obscuring darkness, the Roman phalanx carries painted into battle; the proud standards flash with the half-man bull. These remind us that the secret plans of leaders must stay hid. A ruse once known brings harm to its author.

COMMENTARIA.

Pasiphaë filia Solis uxor Minois Regis
Cretensis, in nefandum amorem Tauri de-
lapsa fuit, adeoque exarsit, ut pateretur se in-
cludi ligneae vaccae, quo Tauro illo potire-
tur: Diodori lib. 5. Vergilii Aeglogae 6. Ovidii lib.
1. de Arte amandi & Higini Fabula 49.[4] Ex quo
concepit & genuit horribile monstrum for-
mam habens partim hominis & partim Tau-
ri, unde appellatum est Minotaurus: semi-
bovemque virum, semivirumque bovem. Ovidius
lib. 2. de Arte amandi. Idem lib. 8. Metamorphoseon
Vergilius lib. 6. Aeneidos Minos autem Rex vo-
lens monstrum illud Minotauri ex homi-
num oculis occultare, iussit Daedalum (Athe-
niensem
artificem ingeniosissimum: qui etiam
ligneam illam vaccam, de qua suprà, fabrica-
verat) praeparare & extruere sibi labyrinthum,
aedificium & inextricabilibus erroribus clau-
sum, adeoque ut quicunque ingrediebatur vix
unquam iterum egredi poterat: in quo Mi-
notaurum abscondidit. Autores sunt pro-
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [b2v p20]xim citati. Hanc picturam Minotauri olim
Romani in suis vexillis bellicis gerebant, si-
gnificantes secreta principum consilia, de-
bere esse multum abscondita, ea enim pro-
dita & revelata, ipsomet Autori erunt noci-
va: haud etenim temerè, praesertim hi qui Rei-
publicae aliisve arduis praesunt negotiis, animi
consultationes, nec intimis etiam amicis com
mittere debent: Cecilii Metelli viri summae
prudentiae atque consilii, exemplo, qui (ut
Valerius Maximus refert) cuidam suo Amico, quid
ille in re quadam magni momenti acturus
esset, interroganti, ita respondit ingenuè: Tu-
nicam, inquit, hanc, meam rescinderem
& abiicerem, si eam scire meum
consilium existimarem. Respon-
sum hoc argutum, extolli-
tur etiam à Crini-
to
libro 19.
cap. 7.

Notes:

1.  ‘The monster that Daedalus imprisoned’, i.e. the Minotaur, the half-man, half-bull monster kept in the famous Labyrinth at Knossos, which Daedalus, the Athenian master-craftsman, constructed for King Minos.

2.  According to Pliny, Natural History 10.5.16, before the second consulship of Marius (104 BC) Roman standards bore variously eagles, wolves, minotaurs, horses and boars. Marius made the eagle universal.

3.  Cf. Festus, De verborum significatu (135 Lindsay): the Minotaur appears among the military standards, because the plans of leaders should be no less concealed than was the Minotaur’s lair, the Labyrinth.

4.  Caius Julius Hyginus (or Higinus), first century writer on mythology, astrology, agricultre, biography and literature, superintendent of the Palatine library under Augustus.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [b3r p21]

In Victoriam dolo partam.

On victory won by guile.

IX.

Aiacis tumulum lacrymis ego perluo virtus,
Heu misera albentes dilacerata comas.
Scilicet hoc restabat adhuc, ut iudice Graeco[1]
Vincerer, & causa stet potiore dolus.[2]

I, Virtue, bedew with tears the tomb of Ajax, tearing, alas, in my grief my whitening hairs. This was all it needed - that I should be worsted with a Greek as judge, and that guile should appear to have the better cause.

COMMENTARIA.

Virtus ipsa eiulans, Aiacis deflet sepulchrum.
(quod est prope Sigaeum promontorium
Troiae, Plinius lib. 5. cap. 30.) obid nimirum, quòd
illa dolo suppressa & victa fuerit, quodque
Graeci contra eam iniquè iudicaverint. Hoc
ideo quia cùm Aiax fortissimus heros, inter-
fecti Achillis arma peteret (quae meritò sibi
ob strenua sua facta virtutesque eximias, de
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [b3v p22] quibus apud Homerum, cessissent). Ulysses
fraude & calliditate sua tantum effecit, ut
Graeci Iudices, spreto Aiace, sibi arma illa ad-
iudicaverint, quod adeò molestè tulit Aiax
ut ad insaniam pervenerit, ac tandem ob iram
& verecundiam semetipsum necaverit, per-
pulchrè Ovidius lib. 13. Metamorphoseon. Sic doli causa
potior fuit quàm ipsius virtutis: quod qui-
dem & hodie haud rarum est, virtutique flendi
ansa datur frequentissima.

Notes:

1.  The Greek assembly awarded the arms of the dead Achilles to the cunning and eloquent Ulysses, not the brave and straight-forward Ajax. For Ajax’ subsequent suicide, [A56a038].

2.  See Anthologia graeca 7.145.


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