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In bellum civile duces cum Roma pararet,
Viribus & cederet Martia terra[1] suis:[2]
Mos fuit in partes turmis coeuntibus, easdem[3],
Coniunctas dextras[4] mutua dona dare.
Foederis haec species, id habet concordia signum.
Ut quos iungit amor, iungat & ipsa manus.

When Rome was marshalling her generals to fight in civil war and that martial land was yeilding to her own might, it was the custom for squadrons coming together on the same side to exchange joined right hands as gifts. This is a token of alliance; concord has this for a sign - those whom affection joins the hand joins also.

Das XXV.


Nach dem die Römischen Fürsten
Wider einander sich rüsten
Und den Bürger Krieg fiengen an
Das durch eigne krefft Rom wurd zam
Ward dieser brauch bey inen gmein
So sie sich verbanden in ein
Die rechte Hand botten sie dar
Einander in treuwen meinend zwar
Diß war ir Bündtnuß, weiß und gstalt
Der einigkeit ein zeichen alt
Das welche die lieb zsammen bind
An denen die Hend nit erwind.


1.  ‘Martial land’, a reference not only to Rome’s bellicose history but to the legend that Rome’s founder Romulus was the son of Mars, the god of war.

2.  Corrected from the errata.

3.  Cf. Horace, Epodes 16.2, ‘Rome is being destroyed by her own might’ (written during the civil conflicts of 41 BC).

4.  These were fashioned in some kind of metal for use as tokens of friendship; see e.g. Tacitus, The Histories 1.54 and 2.8, (referring to another time of civil conflict, 69 - 70 AD). Alciato worked on the text of Tacitus and wrote some annotations.

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