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Evil speaking


Archilochi[2] tumulo insculptas de marmore vespas
Esse ferunt,[3] linguae certa sigilla malae.

They say that on the tomb of Archilochus wasps were carved in marble, sure figures of an evil tongue.


1.  It is to be noted that in this edition, as in the 1546, Maledicentia and Contra are treated as one emblem whereas in other editions Contra is treated as an emblem in its own right called Principis Clementia.

2.  Archilochus was an eighth-century BC poet, author of much (now fragmentary) verse, including satire. This last was considered in antiquity to be excessively abusive and violent. See Horace, Ars Poetica, 79; also Erasmus, Adagia, 60 (Irritare crabrones).

3.  ferunt, ‘they say’: words suggested by Anthologia Graeca, 7.71, an epigram concerning the tomb of Archilochus.

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