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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[K1r p145]

Fortuna virtutem superans.

Fortune triumphant over virtue

EMBLEMA CXIX.

Caesareo postquŗm superatus milite, vidit
Civili undantem sanguine Pharsaliam;
Iam iam stricturus moribunda in pectora ferrum,
Audaci hos Brutus protulit ore sonos:
Infelix Virtus; & solis provida verbis,
Fortunam in rebus cur sequeris dominam?[1]

Brutus, defeated by the Caesarean troops, saw Pharsalia flowing with citizen blood. As he was about to plunge the sword into his dying heart, he spoke these words with undaunted voice: ‘Unhappy virtue, prudent only in word - why do you in reality submit to dominating fortune?’

Notes:

1.After the assassination of Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius became the leaders of the Republican cause. The Caesarean troops, led by Mark Antony and Octavian, Caesar’s heir, defeated them in 42 BC in two battles at Philippi in Macedonia. (Pharsalus in Thessaly was the site of the battle in 48 BC in which Julius Caesar had defeated Pompey in a previous round of the Civil Wars. Pharsalia is here loosely used, as in the Roman poets, to refer to both sites of similar civil conflict.) For Brutus’ suicide after the defeat, see the end of Plutarch’s Life of Brutus.


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  • Luck, Fortune, Lot; 'Fato', 'Fortuna', 'Fortuna aurea', 'Fortuna buona', 'Fortuna pacifica overo clemente', 'Sorte' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54F12(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Virtuousness; 'Amor di Virtý', 'Attione virtuosa', 'Guida sicura de' veri honori', 'Virtý', 'Virtý insuperabile' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57A6(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(PHARSALIA)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Marcus Junius Brutus death of person from classical history [98B(BRUTUS, M.J.)68] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Single Emblem View

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[C4v p40]

Paupertatem summis ingeniis obesse
ne provehantur.[1]

Poverty prevents the advancement of the best of abilities

Dextra tenet lapidem, manus altera sustinet alas,
Ut me pluma levat, sic grave mergit onus.
Ingenio poteram superas volitare per arces,
Me nisi paupertas invida deprimeret.

My right hand holds a rock, the other bears wings. As the feathers lift me, so the heavy weight drags me down. By my mental gifts I could have flown through the heights of heaven, if malign poverty did not hold me back.

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[C5r p41]

Povrete empesche les grandz esperitz
quilz ne soient eslevez.

Sans la pierre a mon bras pendant,
Je pourroys haultement voler:
Car la plume ay beaucoup me aydant,
Pour en hault lieu me consoler:
Beaucoup donc me dois desoler:
Quand mon cueur a malheur si rude,
Quil se veult de scavoir saouler,
Et na pour frequenter lestude.

Notes:

1.For the sentiment cf. Juvenal, Satires 3.164-5: ‘it is hard for people to rise when straitened circumstances stand in the way of their natural abilities.’


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  • Progression, Forward Movement (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51L4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Rest, Immobility, Stasis (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51LL1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Regression, Backward Movement (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51LL4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Talent (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A13(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Hindrance, Obstruction (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54EE2(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Poverty; 'Povert√ɬ ', 'Povert√ɬ del doni', 'Povert√ɬ in uno ch'habbia bell'ingegno' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [55BB1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Ambition; 'Ambitione', 'Amor di Fama' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [56F11(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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