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CAVENDUM A MERETRICI-
bus.

Beware of whores

Emblema 76.

Sole satae Circes tam magna potentia fertur,
Verterit ut multos in nova monstra viros.
Testis equm domitor Picus,[1] tum 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.

Notes:

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 68 ([A15a068]).

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
  • 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
  • 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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AMULETUM VENERIS.

A charm against love

Emblema 77.

Inguina dente fero sufossum [=suffosum] Cypris Adonin[1]
Lactucae foliis condidit exanimem.
Hinc genitali arvo tantum lactuca resistit:
Quantum eruca salax[2] vix stimulare potest.

The Cyprian goddess wrapped in lettuce leaves the lifeless Adonis, gored in the groin by the savage tusk. For this reason, lettuce deadens the procreative field even more than the aphrodisiac rocket can stimulate it.

Notes:

1. For the story of Venus and Adonis and his fatal wounding by a wild boar, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 10.529ff. and 705ff. Cyprus was one of the main centres of the worship of Venus, hence the name Cypris.

2. eruca salax, ‘the aphrodisiac rocket’. See Emblem 72 ([A15a072]). The effects of the plants rocket and lettuce are contrasted at Pliny, Natural History, 19.44.154.


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