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Ei qui semel sua prodegerit, aliena
credi non oportere.

Others’ property should not be entrusted to a person who has once squandered his own

XCVIII.

Colchidos in gremio nidum quid congeris? eheu
Nescia cur pullos tam mal credis avis.
Dira parens Medea suos saevissima natos
Perdidit, & speras parcat ut illa tuis?[1]

Why do you build your nest in the bosom of the woman from Colchis? Alas, ignorant bird, why do you entrust your nestlings so mistakenly? That frightful mother, Medea, in her savagery slew her own children. Do you expect her to spare yours?

COMMENTARIA.

Reprehendit aviculam (hirundinem ni fal-
lor) cur misera illa nidificet in sinu Colchi-
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [l1v p162]dis, illius crudelissimae foeminae Medeae, quan-
do quidem sanguinaria illa mater propriis non
pepercerit filiis multo minus alienis misera-
bitur pullis. Fuit autem Medea filia Oetae re-
gis Colchorum, quae etiam Colchis vocatur
regione patriae (cuius meminimus & supr
Embl. 44.[2]) Venefica & incantatrix maxima,
quae cm Iasonem ex Thessalia venientem, per-
dit amaret, illum adiuvit ut vellus aureum,
quod in templo Dracone custo diebatur ac-
quireret, & Draconem occideret, quo facto
un cum Iasone clm aufugit, ut prolix scri-
bit Valerius Flaccus in Argonauticis & attingit
Ovidius lib. 7. Metamorphoseon in principe. Ob hoc pater
eam celerrim prosequebatur: illa ver fra-
trem suum parvulum quem secum abduxerat
occidit, & in frusta multa secavit, ac sparsim
in variis locis proiecit, ut scilicet pater perse-
quens in colligendis hinc inde dissipatis mem
bris retardaretur, ipsaque interim commodius
aufugere posset. Cm ver iam diu cum Ia-
sone vixisset & multos liberos procreasset,
tandem Iason pertaesus eam repudiavit, &
Creusam Corinthiorum Regis filiam uxo-
rem accepit, quamobrem illa indignata in
vindictam, omnes quos ex Iasone habuit fi-
lios, occidit: Creusam una cum domo Re-
gia exussit & aufugit. Hinc illud Ovidius lib. 1.
de arte amandi:

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [l2r p163]

Cui non defleta est Ephyraeae flamma Creusae,
Et nece natorum sanguinolenta parens.

Notes:

1. This is based on Anthologia graeca 9.346, a much-translated epigram, on the subject of a swallow that built her nest on a representation of Medea. Colchidos, ‘of the woman from Colchis’, refers to Medea, from Colchis on the Black Sea, who slew her children by Jason, leader of the Argonauts, to avenge his unfaithfulness. See further [A56a033].

2. See [A56a044]


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  • Squandering, Extravagance, Prodigality, Waste; 'Prodigalit�' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [55C11(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Misplaced Trust, False Confidence, 'Pax Falsa'; 'Speranza fallace' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [56D29(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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TUMULUS IOANNIS GA-
leacii Vicecomitis
primi Ducis
Mediolani.[1]

The tomb of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, first Duke of Milan

Pro tumulo pone Italiam, pone arma ducesque,[2]
Et mare quod geminos mugit adusque sinus.
Adde his barbariem[3] conantem irrumpere frustra
Gallus uti, & Teuton alpe & hyberus aquis.[4]
Anguiger aut[5] summo sistens in culmine dicat,
Ques parvis magnum me super imposuit?

Instead of the tomb, put Italy, put weapons and leaders, and the sea which roars right up to the twin curving coasts. Add to these the barbarian host, trying in vain to burst in, like the French, the German over the Alps and the Spanish by sea. But the one holding a snake, standing on the roof of the tomb, may well say: Who has put me, great as I am, on top of little things?

Notes:

1. Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1351-1402), created first Duke of Milan in 1395. Noted for his ruthlessness, he united most of the Po valley under the rule of Milan for the first time, defeated Bologna, and set his sights on Florence until his death saved that city.

2. This epigram is based on Anthologia graeca 7.73 (by Geminos, but wrongly attributed to Germanicus in the sixteenth century). The Greek epigram is concerned with what would be a worthy tomb for the Greek hero Themistocles, who was buried in a very simple grave. It suggests one with representations of Salamis and the Persians, recalling the hero’s most famous exploit, the victory over the Persians at the battle of Salamis. Likewise, memorials of Visconti’s achievements are proposed here.

3. ‘the barbarian host’, i.e. the ‘barbarian’ French, who were induced to become involved in the Milan/Florence conflict and were defeated by Visconti. The French are mentioned specifically in the version of this poem found in Selecta epigrammata p.254, where 1.4 reads: Gallus ut et Theuton Alpe et Hyberus aquis, ‘like the Gaul and the Teuton via the Alps and the Spaniard via the sea’. In Alciato’s day, the French continued to overrun the Italian peninsula and attempt to dictate its internal affairs.

4. This line is revised in later editions.

5. This is presumably a figure of the Duke of Milan, whose arms included a snake; see [A34a001]. In the accompanying woodcut, we have written on a snaking ribbon held by a figure the Greek version (taken from the original Greek epigram) of the Latin words quoted in l.6.


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