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In fraudulentos.

Deceivers

IX.

Parva lacerta, atris stellatus corpora guttis
Stellio,[1] qui latebras, & cava busta colit,
Invidiae parvique doli fert symbola pictus,
Heu nimium nuribus cognita zelotypis.
Nam turpi obtegitur faciem lentigine quisquis.
Sit quibus immersus Stellio, vina bibat.[2]
Hinc vindicta frequens decepta pellice vino.
Quam formae amisso flore relinquit amans.

The little lizard, called the ‘starred’ gecko from the dark star-shaped marks sprinkled all over its body, a creature that lurks in holes and hollow tombs, is pictured here and presents symbols of resentment and wicked deception, known only too well to jealous wives. For anyone who drinks wine in which a spotted gecko has been soaked comes out in ugly spots all over the face. This is often a way of taking revenge - the husband’s fancy woman is tricked with wine, and, when the flower of her beauty is gone, her lover abandons her.

Notes:

1. ástellio, ‘the ‘starred’ gecko’. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 5.461 for the explanation of the name stellio.

2. áNam turpi...vina bibat, ‘anyone who drinks wine...all over the face’. See Pliny, Natural History, 29.22.73.


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    Scyphus Nestoris.

    Nestor’s cup

    Nestoreum geminis cratera hunc accipe fundis, [1]
    Quod gravis argenti massa profudit opus.
    Claviculi ex auro: stant circum quattuor ansae:
    Unam quanque super fulva columba sedet.
    Solus eum potuit longaevus tollere Nestor.
    Maeonidae doceas quid sibi musa velit.
    Est coelum scyphus ipse. color argenteus illi est:
    Aurea sunt coeli sidera claviculi.
    Pleiadas esse putant, quas dixerit ille columbas.[2]
    Umblici [=Umbilici] gemini,[3] magna minorque fera est.[4]
    Haec Nestor longo sapiens intelligit usu.
    Bella gerunt fortes, callidus astra tenet.

    Receive this bowl of Nestor with its double support, a work which a heavy mass of silver shaped. Its studs are of gold. Four handles stand about it. Above each one sits a yellow dove. Only aged Nestor was able to lift it. Do tell us what Homer’s Muse intended. The cup itself is the heavens; its colour is silvery; the studs are the golden stars of heaven. They think that what he called doves are the Pleiades. The twin bosses are the great and lesser beast. The wise Nestor understood this by long experience: the strong wage war, the wise man grasps the stars.

    Notes:

    1. áNestor’s bowl is described at Homer, Iliad, 11.632-7. Only Nestor, for all his great age could lift it when full. For the interpretation of Nestor’s cup (or mixing bowl) given here, see Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 11.487 F ff.

    2. áThe Greek word for ‘doves’ is πελειάδες.

    3. á‘twin bosses’, i.e. possibly the protuberances inside the bowl where it was joined to the two supports.

    4. á‘great and lesser beast’, i.e. the Great and Little Bear, a phrase based on Ovid, Tristia, 4.3.1: ‘magna minorque ferae’.


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