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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n3r p197]

In nothos.

Bastards

XXVI.

Herculeos spurii semper celebretis honores:
Nam vestri princeps ordinis ille fuit.[1]
Nec prius esse deus potuit,[2] quàm sugeret infans
Lac, sibi quod fraudis nescia Iuno dabat.[3]

Bastards, you should always celebrate the honours of Hercules, for he was the chief of your line. He could not become a god until as a babe he sucked the milk which Juno was giving him, unaware that she was being tricked.

Notes:

1.  Hercules was fathered by Jupiter on Alcmene, wife of Amphitryon of Thebes, and became his father’s favourite. Juno, wife of Jupiter, in jealousy pursued Hercules with implacable hatred.

2.  After all his Labours (see previous emblem) and other exploits, Hercules, by the will of Jupiter, was received among the gods. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9.156ff; Cicero, De officiis, 3.25.

3.  For the story of Juno tricked by Jupiter into suckling the loathed Hercules see Pausanias, 9.25.2. This divine milk apparently counteracted Hercules’ illegitimate birth which otherwise disqualified him for heaven. See Erasmus, Adagia, 2070 (Ad Cynosarges).


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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n5r p201]

    Hedera.

    Ivy

    XXXVIII.

    Haudquaquam arescens hederae est arbuscula, Cisso[1]
    Quae puero Bacchum dona dedisse ferunt:
    Errabunda, procax, auratis fulva corymbis,
    Exterius viridis, caetera pallor habet.
    Hinc aptis vates cingunt sua tempora sertis:[2]
    Pallescunt studiis, laus diuturna viret.

    There is a bushy plant which never withers, the ivy which Bacchus, they say, gave as a gift to the boy Cissos. It goes where it will, uncontrollable; tawny where the golden berry-clusters hang; green on the outside but pale everywhere else. Poets use it to wreathe their brows with garlands that fit them well - poets are pale with study, but their praise remains green for ever.

    Notes:

    1.  Κισσός is the Greek word for ‘ivy’. For the story of Cissos, beloved of Bacchus, and his transformation into the ivy, see Nonnus, Dionysiaca, 12.188ff.

    2.  vates cingunt sua tempora, ‘Poets use it to wreathe their brows’. See Pliny, Natural History, 16.62.147: poets use the species with yellow berries for garlands.


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