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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [K8v p160]

Tumulus Ioannis Galeacii Vicecomitis,
primi Ducis Mediolanensis.[1]

The tomb of Jovanne Galeazzo Visconti, first Duke of Milan

EMBLEMA CXXXIII.

Pro tumulo pone Italiam, pone arma Ducesque,[2]
Et mare, quod geminos mugit adusque sinus.
Adde his Barbariem[3] conantem irrumpere frustrà,
Et mercede emptas in fera bella manus.
Anguiger[4] [5]est [=ast] summo sistens in culmine, dicat:
Quis parvis magnum me super imposuit?

Instead of the tomb, put Italy, put weapons and leaders, and the sea which roars right up to the twin curving coasts. Add to these the barbarian host, trying in vain to burst in, and forces hired with money for savage wars. But the one holding a snake, standing on the roof of the tomb, may well say: Who has put me, great as I am, on top of little things?

Notes:

1.  Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1351-1402), created first Duke of Milan in 1395. Noted for his ruthlessness, he united most of the Po valley under the rule of Milan for the first time, defeated Bologna, and set his sights on Florence until his death saved that city.

2.  This epigram is based on Anthologia graeca 7.73 (by Geminos, but wrongly attributed to Germanicus in the sixteenth century). The Greek epigram is concerned with what would be a worthy tomb for the Greek hero Themistocles, who was buried in a very simple grave. It suggests one with representations of Salamis and the Persians, recalling the hero’s most famous exploit, the victory over the Persians at the battle of Salamis. Likewise, memorials of Visconti’s achievements are proposed here.

3.  ‘the barbarian host’, i.e. the ‘barbarian’ French, who were induced to become involved in the Milan/Florence conflict and were defeated by Visconti. The French are mentioned specifically in the version of this poem found in Selecta epigrammata p.254, where 1.4 reads: Gallus ut et Theuton Alpe et Hyberus aquis, ‘like the Gaul and the Teuton via the Alps and the Spaniard via the sea’. In Alciato’s day, the French continued to overrun the Italian peninsula and attempt to dictate its internal affairs.

4.  This is presumably a figure of the Duke of Milan, whose arms included a snake; see [A91a001]. In the accompanying woodcut, we have written on a snaking ribbon held by a figure the Greek version (taken from the original Greek epigram) of the Latin words quoted in l.6.

5.  The marginal note indicates the alternative reading ‘&’.


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Single Emblem View

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [S3r f183r]

Ex literarum studiis immortali-
tatem acquiri.

Immortality won through literary pursuits

Emblema cxxxii.

Neptuni tubicen (cuius pars ultima cetum
Aequoreum facies indicat esse Deum)
Serpentis medio Triton comprenditur orbe,
Qui caudam inserto mordicus ore tenet.
Fama viros animo insignes, praeclaráque gesta
Prosequitur, toto mandat & orbe legi.[1]

Triton, Neptune’s trumpeter, whose tail shows him as a sea-monster, his face as a god of the sea, is surrounded by an encircling snake which bites on its own tail, gripped fast in its mouth. Fame follows after men of outstanding intellect and their noble achievements, and bids them be read throughout all the world.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [S3v f183v]

ID petitum è Macrobio Saturnaliorum I. cap. 8.
Tritonas cum buccinis, ait fastigio Saturni aedis
superpositos, quoniam ab eius commemoratione
ad nostram aetatem historia elata, & quasi vocalis
est: antè verò muta & obscura & incognita: quod
testantur caudae Tritonum humi mersae & abscon-
ditae. Haec ille. Sed hic noster ad memoriam nun-
quam intermorituram doctorum virorum retulit.
Tuba, famae & comendationis nota, ut quae ab om-
nibus exaudiatur: serpens in se revolutus aeter-
nitatem designat.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [S4r f184r]

Que des bonnes lettres s’acquiert
immortalité.

LA trompette à Neptun à un Dieu marin semble
Par la face d’enhaut, & par le bas ressemble
A un poisson marin: on le nomme Triton,
Dans le rond d’un serpent (ainsi le descrit-on[2])
Lequel sa queuë mord: monstrant la renommee
Qui suit les gens d’honneur: la memoire imprimee
De la vertu & los, qui s’espanche par tout
Les cantons de la terre, & d’un à autre bout.

CEcy est tiré de Macrobe livre 1. des Sa-
turnales, chap. 8. Il dit que les Tri-
tons
avec leurs trompettes furent mis au
haut du temple de Saturne, parce que de la
memoire de luy jusques à nostre aage l’hi-
stoire a esté commancee, & faicte comme
parlante, qui au paravant estoit muette, ob-
scure, & incongneuë: ce qui est monstré par
les queuës des Tritons qui sont cachees &
couvertes dans terre. C’est ce que dit Ma-
crobe. Mais nostre autheur a rapporté cecy
au bruit & reputation des personnages do-
ctes qui ne se meurt jamais. La trompette,
est une marque de renommee & louange,
d’autant qu’elle est de tous ouïe: le serpent
en rond, signifie eternité.

Notes:

1.  The trumpet represents fame, the encircling serpent eternity.

2.  Corrected from the Errata


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