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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O6v p220]

Littera occīdit, spiritus vivificat.[1]

The letter kills but the spirit gives life

EMBLEMA CLXXXV.

Vipereos Cadmus dentes ut credidit arvis,
Sevit & Aonio semina dira solo:
Terrigenūm clypeata cohors exorta virorum est,
Hostili inter se qui cecidere manu.
Evasere quibus monitu Tritonidos armis
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O7r p221]Abiectis data pax, dextraque iuncta fuit.[2]
Primus Agenorides[3] elementa, notasque magistris
Tradidit, iis suavem iunxit & harmoniam.[4]
Quorum discipulos contraria plurima vexant,
Non nisi Palladia quae dirimuntur ope.

When Cadmus entrusted the dragon’s teeth to the furrows and sowed the dread seed in Aonian [Theban] soil, there sprang up a shield-bearing band of earth-born men, who fell by fighting among themselves. Those escaped who at Tritonia’s [Athena’s] command threw down their arms, granted peace and joined right hands. Agenor’s son first gave to teachers letters and symbols and also put together for them sweet musical concord. Many adversities assail those who follow these disciplines, adversities which are resolved only by Pallas Athena’s aid.

Notes:

1.  II Corinthians 3:6.

2.  For the story of Cadmus, founder of Thebes (in Aonia, or less correctly in the French, in Thessaly), and the dragon’s teeth, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.99ff. Athena, goddess of wisdom - here called Tritonia, from the place of her birth in North Africa - brought the internecine struggle between the earth-born warriors to an end.

3.  Agenorides, ‘Agenor’s son’, i.e. Cadmus, who supposedly introduced writing to Greece. The scattering of the dragon’s teeth was interpreted as the invention of the alphabet.

4.  harmoniam, ‘musical concord’. Cadmus’ wife was called Harmonia.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [p171]

Che la lettera occide, e lo spirito porge vita.

The letter kills and the spirit gives life


I fratelli, che nacquer de la terra
D’i denti seminati del Serpente,
Fecero insieme l’uno a l’altro guerra.
E s’occisero molti parimente,
Palla serbonne alcun, che su la terra
Diposer l’arme, e unirsi finalmente.
Cadmo trovņ le lettre, ond’č; inquieta
L’alma, se la prudenza non l’acqueta.


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  • 'litterae', symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ literature; 'Lettere' (Ripa) [48C90] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ science, 'Scientia'; 'Scienza', 'Studio' (Ripa) [49C0] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • invention of letters [49L10] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Wisdom; 'Sapienza', 'Sapienza humana', 'Sapienza vera' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A51(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
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