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Gula.

Gluttony

LXVI.

Curculione gruis tumida vir pingitur alvo,
Qui laurum, aut manibus gestet onocrotalum[1].
Talis forma fuit Dionysi[2], & talis Apici,[3]
Et gula quos celebres deliciosa facit.

We have here painted a man with a crane’s long gullet and a swollen belly, holding in his hands a gull or pelican. Such was the form of Dionysius, such the form of Apicius, and all those whom gourmet taste makes famous.

Notes:

1. These birds were symbols of ravenous greed. The pelican is called inexplebile animal, ‘insatiable creature’, by Pliny, Natural History, 10.66.131; cf. Emblem 283 ([A56a283]). For the gull, see Erasmus, Adagia, 1133 (Larus: the gull will also fit food-suppliers because it is a bird with an appetite for fish).

2. Dionysius II, Tyrant of Syracuse. After his deposition, he lived in Corinth, and many anecdotes were told of his indulgent way of life there, including the story that he died of being overweight.

3. Apicius was a famous gourmet of the time of the Emperor Tiberius. See Seneca, De consolatione, 10.8-9 and Martial, Epigrams, 3.22: he spent a hundred million sesterces on food items and committed suicide for fear of starvation on discovering that he had only one million left. He composed two cookery books, but the one which has come down to us under his name is a fourth- to fifth-century compilation drawing on his works and several others (ed. princ. Le Signerre, Milan 1498).


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    • Gluttony, Intemperance, 'Gula'; 'Gola', 'Ingordigia', 'Ingordigia overo Avidità ', 'Voracità ' (Ripa) ~ personification of one of the Seven Deadly Sins [11N35] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • water-birds: pelican [25F36(PELICAN)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • shore-birds and wading-birds: gull [25F37(GULL)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • holding something «« KEY (933) TO 31A the (nude) human figure; 'Corpo humano' (Ripa) [31A(+933)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • anthropomorphic beings with parts of abnormal shape (+ abdomen, belly) [31A444(+13)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • anthropomorphic beings with parts of abnormal shape (+ neck) [31A444(+615)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • anthropomorphic beings with parts of abnormal shape (+ neck) [31A444(+615):25F37(CRANE)(+3)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Intemperance, Immoderation (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54AA43(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • specific aspects, allegorical aspects of Bacchus; Bacchus as patron [92L17] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • male persons from classical history (with NAME) representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(APICIUS, Marcus Gavius)3] Search | Browse Iconclass

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    Dicta VII. sapientium.[1]

    Sayings of the Seven Sages

    LVIII.

    Haec habeas, septem sapientum effingere dicta.
    Atque ea picturis qui celebrare velis.
    Optimus in rebus modus est, Cleobulus ut inquit,
    Hoc trutinae examen, sive libella docet.
    Noscere se Chilon Spartanus quenque iubebat.
    Hoc specula in manibus, utraque [=vitraque] sumpta dabunt.
    Quod Periander ait, fraena adde Corinthius irae
    Pulegium[2] admotum naribus efficiet.
    Pittacus at ne quid dixit nimis. haec eadem aiunt,
    Contracto qui gith[3] ore liquefaciunt.
    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [n8r p207]Respexisse Solon finem iubet,[4] ultimus agris
    Terminus[5] haud magno cesserit ipse Iovi.
    Heu qum vera Bias, est copia magna malorum
    Musimoni insideat effice sardus eques.[6]
    Ne praes esto [7]Thales dixit, sic illita visco
    In laqueos sociam parra, meropsque trahit.

    If you wish to represent the sayings of the Seven Sages and celebrate them in picture, you may have the following suggestions. - ‘Moderation is best’, as Cleobulus said. This the balance teaches or the plumbline. - Chilon of Sparta bade each man know himself. A mirror or glass taken in the hand will represent this. - The saying of Periander of Corinth, ‘Rein in your wrath’, pennyroyal held to the nostrils will show. - Pittacus said, ‘Nothing in excess’. The same thing is said by those who suck cassia with wry mouth. - Solon bids us look to the end. Set at the field end is Terminus, who would not yield to mighty Jove. - How truly did Bias say, ‘There is great store of evil men’. Make a Sardinian rider sit upon a wild sheep. - ‘Do not stand surety’, said Thales. Even so, smeared with bird-lime, the lapwing or bee-eater draws its fellow-bird into the snare.

    Notes:

    1. The list of the Seven Sages of the ancient Greek world was not fixed: various selections were made from up to seventeen names (though this one is the most common). Their utterances were variously reported and attributed now to one, now to the other. See Diogenes Laertius, De Clarorum philosophorum vitis, 1.40-42. The list here is derived from Anthologia Graeca, 9.366.

    2. pulegium, ‘pennyroyal’. See Emblem 252, line 4 ([A56a252]).

    3. gith, ‘cassia’ or ‘senna’. See Pliny, Natural History, 20.71.182ff. for its medicinal and culinary uses. It is so bitter that a little goes a long way.

    4. Respexisse finem, ‘look to the end’, i.e.only when his life is over can a man be judged to have been happy. See the story of Solon and Croesus in Plutarch, Solon, 27-8.

    5. Terminus, see Emblem 259 ([A56a259]).

    6. Musmoni insideat effice Sardus eques, ‘make a Sardinian rider sit upon a wild sheep’, i.e. a worthless rider on a worthless beast. Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 505 (Sardi venales, ‘Sardinians for sale’).

    7. Ne praes esto, ‘Do not stand surety’. See Erasmus, Adagia, 597 (Sponde, noxa praesto est, ‘Stand surety and disaster is at hand’).


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