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TERMINUS.

Terminus

Emblema 156.

Quadratum infoditur firmissima tessera saxum,
Stat cirrata super pectore imago tenus,
Ft [=Et] sese nulli profitetur cedere, talis
Terminus est,[1] homines qui scopus unus agit.
Est immota dies, praefixaque tempora fatis,
Deque ferunt primis ultima iudicium.[2]

A squared stone is set in the ground, an unshakable cube, and on it stands a curly-headed image, fashioned down to the chest. This declares that it yields to none. Such is Terminus, the one and only goal that governs men. There is an immovable day, times predetermined by fate, and the last times pronounce judgement on the first.

Notes:

1.  For Terminus, the unyielding boundary stone, see Livy, 1.55. Terminus and the motto Concedo nulli (line 3) were adopted by Erasmus as his personal emblem. See Erasmus, Epistulae, 1092 (CWE Correspondence, vol. 7).

2.  See Emblem 185 ([A15a185]).


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OPULENTI HAEREDITAS.

The rich man’s legacy

Emblema 157.

Patroclum falsis rapiunt hinc Troes in armis,
Hinc socii, atque omnis turba Pelasga vetat.
Obtinet exuvias Hector, Graecique cadaver.[1]
Haec fabella agitur, cum vir opimus obit.
Maxima rixa oritur, tandem sed transigit haeres,
Et corvis aliquid, vulturibusque sinit.[2]

On that side the Trojans are carrying off Patroclus in his deceptive armour, on this, his co-fighters and all the Greek host try to stop them. Hector obtains the spoils, the Greeks the body. This story is played out when a rich man dies. A great quarrelling arises, but eventually the heir brings the argument to an end and leaves something for crows and vultures.

Notes:

1.  For the death of Patroclus, see Homer, Iliad, 16.784ff. He borrowed Achilles’ armour to fight the Trojans when Achilles refused, and was killed by Hector, who took the armour.

2.  ‘Vulture’ was a term used to refer to people who hang round rich persons, hoping for a legacy See Erasmus, Adagia, 614 (Si vultur es, cadaver exspecta).


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