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EX PACE UBERTAS.

Prosperity as the result of peace

Grandibus ex spicis tenues contexe corollas,
Quas arcu [=circum] alterno palmite vitis eat.
His comptae Alcyones[1] tranquilli in marmoris unda
Nidificant pullos involucresque fovent.
Laetus erit Cereri Baccho quoque[2] fertilis annus,
Aequorei si rex alitis instar[3] erit.

From fat ears of corn weave supple garlands, and let the vine encircle them with alternating stems. Decked out with these the halcyon birds build their nests on the wave of the glassy sea, and cherish their unfledged chicks. - The year will be rich for Ceres and fertile for Bacchus too, if the king is the image of the bird of the sea.

Notes:

1.  ‘halcyon birds’. For these see Aelian, De natura animalium 1.36; 9.17; Pliny, Natural History. 10.47.89-91; and for the legend of their transformation, Ovid, Metamorphoses 11, 410ff, esp. 728ff. Halcyons were supposed to build a nest and launch it on the sea at a time of calm peaceful weather provided for them about the time of the winter solstice. See Erasmus, Adagia 1552, Halcedonia sunt apud forum.

2.  ‘for Ceres...and for Bacchus too’, i.e. rich with crops of corn and wine.

3.  ‘is the image of the bird of the sea’, i.e. diffusing peace, love and concord. Before their metamorphosis into seabirds, Alcyone and her husband were a deeply loving royal couple ruling a peaceful country. This love persisted after the change, symbolised by the calm weather associated with their nesting.


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VIRTUTI FORTUNA COMES.

Good fortune attendant on virtue

Anguibus implicitis geminis caducaeus[1] alis,
Inter Amalthaeae cornua[2] rectus adest.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B1v]Pollentes sic mente viros, fandique peritos,
Indicat, ut rerum copia multa beet.

The caduceus, with entwined snakes and twin wings, stands upright between the horns of Amalthea. It thus indicates how material wealth blesses men of powerful intellect, skilled in speaking.

Notes:

1.  This was the herald’s staff, attribute of Mercury, god of eloquence, intellectual pursuits and financial success. The entwined serpents are a symbol of peace. See Pliny Natural History 29.12.54. The caduceus was Alciato’s personal device and was carved on his tomb at Pavia.

2.  Amalthea was the she-goat that suckled the infant Jupiter. Her horn became the cornucopia, the horn of plenty. See Erasmus, Adagia 502, Copiae cornu.


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  • Eloquence; 'Eloquenza', 'Fermezza & Gravitą dell'Oratione' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Success; 'Evento buono' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54F1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Luck, Fortune, Lot; 'Fato', 'Fortuna', 'Fortuna aurea', 'Fortuna buona', 'Fortuna pacifica overo clemente', 'Sorte' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54F12(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Virtuousness; 'Amor di Virtł', 'Attione virtuosa', 'Guida sicura de' veri honori', 'Virtł', 'Virtł insuperabile' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57A6(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • 'Cornucopia', Horn of Plenty [92B11221] Search | Browse Iconclass

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