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Ἐχθρῶν ἄδωρα δῶρα.[1]

The gifts of enemies are no gifts

EMBLEMA CLXVII.

Bellorum cepisse ferunt monumenta vicissim
Scutiferum Aiacen, Hectoraque Iliacum.
Baltea Priamides, rigidum Telamonius ensem;
Instrumenta suae cepit uterque necis.
Ensis enim Aiacem confecit; at Hectora functum
TraxÍre AEmoniis cingula nexa rotis.
Sic titulo obsequii, quae mittunt hostibus hostes
Munera, venturi praescia fata ferunt.[2]

The story tells that shield-bearing Ajax and Hector of Troy exchanged souvenirs of battle. Priam’s son took the sword-belt, Telamon’s descendant the rigid sword, each accepting the instrument of his own death. For the sword destroyed Ajax, and the belt, attached to Thessalian wheels, dragged the dead Hector. So the gifts which enemies give to enemies, seemingly doing honour, knowing what is to come, bring doom.

Notes:

1.The gifts of enemies are no gifts. See Sophocles, Ajax 665, where Ajax so speaks of the ill-fated sword he had received from Hector.

2.See Homer Iliad 7.299, for the occasion in the Trojan War when Hector (the Trojan hero, son of Priam) and Ajax (Telamon’s descendant, one of the best fighters on the Greek side) met in single combat and afterwards, the honours being even, exchanged gifts. (Ajax was carrying the vast shield for which he was famed). Later, he committed suicide by falling on the sword he received from Hector (see [A91a028] n. and [A91a175] n.). Hector was later killed in single combat by Achilles (prince of Thessaly, the Greek champion), who desecrated the body by tying it behind his chariot (it is suggested here that he used the sword-belt Hector had received from Ajax) and dragging it about before the eyes of the Trojans. See [A91a153].


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ΑΝΤΈΡΩΣ AMOR VIRTU-
tis alium cupidinem superans.

Anteros, Love of Virtue, conquering the other Love.

Aligerum aligeroque inimicum pinxit amori,
Arcu arcum atque ignes igne domans Nemesis.[1]
Ut quae aliis fecit, patiatur, at hic puer olim,
Intrepidus gestans tela[2] miser lachrymat.
Ter spuit inque sinus imos[3] (res mira) crematur,
Igne ignis furias odit amoris amor.

Nemesis has fashioned a form with wings, a foe to Love with his wings, subduing bow with bow and flames with flame, so that Love may suffer what he has done to others. But this boy, once so bold when he was carrying his arrows, now weeps in misery and has spat three times low on his breast. A wondrous thing - fire is being burned with fire, Love is loathing the frenzies of Love.

Notes:

1.This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 16.251. The punishment of Cupid (Amor) for the hurt he inflicts on men is a common theme in Hellenistic Greek poetry and art. This punishment is often carried out by Nemesis, goddess of retribution. Cupid’s arrows and torch are taken from him and destroyed, and he himself is bound, beaten, burned, and pricked with his own arrows.

2.‘when he was carrying his arrows’. The corresponding line of the Greek text reads γευσάμενος βελέων, ‘getting a taste of the arrows’, and Alciato probably wrote here gustans tela, ‘tasting the arrows’, though this reading is not attested in the editions. Velius’ translation of the same poem in Selecta epigrammata reads expertus spicula, ‘experiencing the darts’.

3.‘has spat three times low on his breast’. This is a charm to avert the anger of Nemesis for some overbold thought or action. See Erasmus, Adagia 594, In tuum ipsius sinum inspue.


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