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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [l5v p170]

Tumulus Ioannis Galeacii Vi-
cecomitis
primi Ducis Me
diolanensis
.[1]

The tomb of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, first Duke of Milan

CIII.

Pro tumulo pone Italiam, pone arma Ducesque,[2]
Et mare, quod geminos mugit adusque sinus.
Adde his Barbariem[3] conantem irrumpere frustra
Et mercede emptas in fera bella manus.
Anguifer ast[4] summo sistens, in culmine dicat:
Quis 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, and forces hired with money for savage wars. 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?

COMMENTARIA.

Quicunque duci strenuo generoso & ma-
gnanimo tumulum extruere volet, nihil omni-
no aliud praeter foelicem ac imperterritam in-
tegram Italiam ponat, armis Ducibusque suis
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [l6r p171]optimè munitam, & ab utraque parte hîc Tyr-
rheno
illic Adriatico mari clausam. Addat in-
super barbaras multiplices gentes circum cir
ca maximis militum copiis, vehementi ar-
dentique impetu necquicquàm & incassum
eam invadere molientes. Eius nanque sum-
mitate supereminet imperterritus ille angui-
fer, (Mediolanensis Dux, de cuius insigniis
anguem praeseferentibus dictum supra Embl.
1.[5]) aspernans omnia & floccipendens quis
inquiat, me magnum rebus exiguis superim-
posuit? Italiae autem situm amoenitatem, fer-
tilitatem, gloriam, bellicasque virtutes, tam
Cosmographi quàm Chronici Historiogra-
phi innumeri prolixè describunt, inter quos
Strabo libro 5. Deque eius potentia & bellica
eminentia, elegans est oratio Regis Agrippae
apud Iosephum historiographum de bel-
lo Iudaico, libro 2. cap. 16. extat &
Belsolis Regis perpulchra epi-
stola, apud Crinitum libro 8.
cap. 11. de honesta di-
sciplina & Crho-
nici pas-
sim.

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 is presumably a figure of the Duke of Milan, whose arms included a snake; see [A56a001]. 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.

5.  See [A56a001]


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D2r f22r]

Consilio & virtute Chimaeram su-
perari, id est, fortiores &
deceptores.

Wisdom and courage defeat Chimaera (i.e. the powerful and deceivers).

Emblema xiiii.

Bellerophon ut fortis eques superare Chimaeram,
Et Lycii potuit sternere monstra soli:[1]
Sic tu Pegaseis vectus petis aethera pennis,
Consilióque animi[2] monstra superba domas.

Bellerophon, that bold horseman, was able to overcome the Chimaera and lay low the monsters of the Lycian land. You likewise, borne on wings of Pegasus, seek the high heavens and, by the counsel of reason, tame proud monsters.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D2v f22v]

NUlla est adeò magna & versuta calliditas, nulla
insidiosa vis, nullaeque praestigiae, quas non pos-
sit animi magnitudo, prudénsque consilium soller-
ter effugere. Quanquam enim nobis sit interdum
concertandum cum fortioribus & fraudulentis, non
est tamen animus despondendus, sed assumenda
potius firma quaedam animi constantis, saníque iu-
dicii panoplia. Id ostenditur Bellerophontis histo-
ria, qui multis periculis expositus, evasit incolumis,
equo Pegaso vectus, ut traditur à veteribus poëtis.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D3r f23r]

Que par bon advis & vertu, sont vaincus les
plus forts & plus grands trompeurs.

LE brave chevalier Bellerophon vainquit
Les monstres Lyciens, & Chimere defit:
Ainsi par meur advis les plus meschans tu domptes,
Et par un bon conseil les monstres tu surmontes;
Comme si tu estois des ailes soustenu
De Pegase, en ton droict & honneur maintenu.

IL n’y a si grande ou deguisee finesse, ny
force pleine de tromperies, ny ruze quel-
conque que l’on ne puisse bien eviter par
grandeur de courage & meure deliberation.
Car quoy que nous soyons quelquefois con-
trains de combattre plus forts que nous &
autres plus rusez, il ne fault pas pourtant
perdre coeur, mais plustost nous[3] munir comme
d’une armure bien esprouvee d’un esprit fer
me & sain jugement. Ce qui est demonstré
par le narré que l’on faict de Bellerophon,
lequel exposé à plusieurs dangereux hazars,
en eschappa estant porté par le cheval Pe-
gase
, ainsi que disent les anciens Poëtes.

Notes:

1.  Corrected from the Errata

2.  The King of Lycia imposed on Bellerophon, among other tasks, that of killing the Chimaera, a fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, serpent’s tail and goat’s body. He achieved this last with the aid of the winged horse Pegasus, which Athena, goddess of wisdom, helped him to catch.

3.  ‘by the counsel of reason’. The name Bellerophon was interpreted by some as ‘bringer of counsel’. The Chimaera symbolised various uncontrolled passions.


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  • mis-shapen animals; monsters [25F9] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Intellect, Intelligence; 'Intelletto', 'Intelligenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Counsel; 'Consiglio' (Ripa) [52E3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosità dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virtù del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A7(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Virtuousness; 'Amor di Virtù', 'Attione virtuosa', 'Guida sicura de' veri honori', 'Virtù', 'Virtù insuperabile' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57A6(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Cheat, Deceit; 'Fraude', 'Inganno' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA621(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(LYCIA)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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