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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n1v p194]

Strenuorum immortale
nomen.

Achievers have an immortal name

XVII.

Aeacidae tumulum Rhoetaeo in littore cernis,[1]
Quem plerunque pedes visitat alba Thetis.[2]
Obtegitur semper viridi lapis hic amarantho,[3]
Quòd nunquam herois sit moriturus honos.
Hic Graium murus,[4] magni nex Hectoris, aut [=haud] plus
Debet Maeonidae, quam sibi Maeonides.[5]

You see the tomb of Aeacus’ descendant on the Rhoetean shore, which white-footed Thetis often visits. This stone is always covered with green amaranth, because the honour due to heroes shall never die. This man was‘the wall of the Greeks’, and the destruction of great Hector, and he owes no more to the Lydian poet than the poet does to him.

Notes:

1.  ‘Aeacus’ descendant’, i.e. Achilles, the greatest warrior on the Greek side in the Trojan War. Rhoeteum was a promontory on the Trojan coast (though normally associated with the tomb of Ajax).

2.  Thetis, a sea-nymph, mother of Achilles, called ‘silver-footed’ by Homer.

3.  amarantho: the name of the plant means ‘never-fading’. See Pliny, Natural History, 21.23.47.

4.  ‘the wall of the Greeks’, translating Homer’s description of Achilles at Iliad, 3.229.

5.  Maeonidae, ‘to the Lydian poet’, i.e. Homer, who told in the Iliad the famous story of Achilles’ wrath and refusal to fight during the Trojan War, and of his eventual slaying of Hector, the chief warrior on the Trojan side. (For which see Emblem 057, [A56a057]). For the sentiment that great deeds need to be sung in order not to be forgotten, see Horace, Odes, 4.8.20ff; and that great literature needs great themes, see Tacitus, Dialogus de oratoribus, 37.


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    Single Emblem View

    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M3v p182]

    Ceux qui vivent en concorde ne peu-
    vent estre surmontés.

    XVIII.

    Telle fut la concorde en trois freres germains,
    Tel leur amour commun, telle leur charité,
    Que jamais Prince aucun ne les a surmonté,
    Quoy que les Geryons eussent ennemis maints.[1]

    Commentaires.

    Par la concorde les petits choses croissent &
    s’aggrandissent, & par la discorde les grandes vien-
    nent à s’escouler & perir entierement. Pline recite
    qu’il y a certaines pierres en l’Isle Cycladique, lesquel-
    les estans entieres, nagent & sont portees sur l’eau:
    mais estans rompues & mises en pieces, elles vont au
    fonds. Scilure le Scythe, estans pres de sa fin, persuada
    à ses enfans de vivre en bonne amitié & concorde, par
    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M4r p183] l’exemple qu’il leur bailla d’un trousseau de dards,
    lequel pas un deux ne peut rompre, ny faire ployer:
    mesmes s’estans joincts ensemble, & employans tou-
    tes leurs forces, n’en peurent venir à bout: mais le
    trousseau estant deslié & desjoinct, le plus foible de
    tous les rompoit facilement un à un. Geryon, comme
    dit S. Hierosme, vient du mot gera, qui signifie adve-
    naire. Il fut fils de Hiarbe Numidien. Plutarque, &
    quelques autres, appliquent ainsi ceste fiction poëti-
    que. Geryon fut un personnage de grand sens, de
    grand courage, de grande entreprise. Il avoit avec
    soy deux grands Capitaines, qui executoyent diligem-
    ment & vaillamment tout ce qui leur estoit com-
    mandé par Geyron: & pource qu’ils l’executoyent
    avec tant de fidelité, qu’il sembloit que ce fust Ge-
    ryon luy mesme, la posterité s’est imaginé, que Ge-
    ryon avoit six bras & six jambes, avec lesquels luy
    seul venoit à bout de tous ses desseings.

    Notes:

    1.  This is a rationalisation of Geryones, the unconquerable giant with three heads or three bodies, who dwelt on the island Erytheia of the mythic Hesperides, eventually vanquished and killed by Hercules during his abduction of Geryones’ famous cattle. See Emblem 25 ([FALe025]).


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