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Cavendum meretricibus.

Beware of whores

Sole satae Circes tm magna potentia fertur
Verterit ut multos in nova monstra viros
Testis equm domitor Picus,[1] tm scylla biformis[2]
Atque Ithaci postquam vina bibere sues.[3]
Indicat illustri meretricem nomine Circe,[4]
Et rationem animi perdere, quisquis amat.

So great, we are told, was the power of Circe, daughter of the Sun, that she turned many persons into new monstrous shapes. A witness to this is Picus, tamer of horses, and Scylla with her double form, and the Ithacans who became pigs after drinking the wine. Circe with her famous name indicates a whore and shows that any man who loves such a one loses his reason.


Vor den Huren sol man sich hten.

So grosser macht gwesen seyn sol
Circes der Sonnen Tochter wol
Das sie verwandelt vil Leut hat
In seltzam art und wunder drat
Das zeugt Picus der Ritter gschwindt
Darzu die zweygstaltet Scyll blindt
Und de Ithaci geselln dschwein
Nach dem sie hatten trunckn irn Wein
Die Circe gibt mit irem Nam
Ein verrmbte Hurn zu verstahn
Und das ein jeder so da bult
Seinr sinn sey braubt und als verwult.


1. Picus, an Italian king, a breeder of horses, turned into a woodpecker by Circe. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 14.320ff.

2. Scylla was transformed into a figure that was half girl, half barking dogs. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 14.51ff. Cf. Emblem 149 ([A67a149]).

3. Ithacans: See Homer, Odyssey, 10.229ff. for the story of Ulysses’ sailors (from the island of Ithaca), who were turned into pigs by Circe with a magic potion of wine.

4. Indicat...meretricem: ‘indicates a whore’. See Anthologia Graeca, 10.50 for this rationalisation of the Circe story.

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    • mis-shapen animals; monsters [25F9] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • fabulous animals ~ mammals [25FF2] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • monsters of mixed human and animal shape; 'Mostri' (Ripa) [31A45] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • whore, prostitute [33C520] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • courtesan, hetaera [33C521] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Reason versus Amorous Lust; 'Combattimento della ragione con l'appetito' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52B513(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Danger; 'Pericolo' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54DD51(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Ulysses' companions are changed into all kinds of animals (+ variant) [7C81(+0)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Picus changed into a woodpecker: Circe changes Picus into a woodpecker because, faithful to his wife Canens, he spurns the love of the goddess (Ovid, Metamorphoses XIV 386) (+ variant) [97D28(+0)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Scylla changed into a sea-monster: Circe, to whom Glaucus has applied for aid in his love suit, changes Scylla the sea-nymph into a sea-monster (Ovid, Metamorphoses XIV 59) (+ variant) [97EE3(+0)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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