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TANDEM TANDEM IUSTICIA
OBTINET.

At long last justice wins the day

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Aeacide Hectoreo perfusum sanguine scutum,
Quod Graecorum Ithaco concio iniqua dedit.
Iustior arripuit Neptunus in aequora iactum,
Naufragio ut dominum posset adire suum.
Littoreo Aiacis tumulo namque intulit unda,
Que boat, & tali voce sepulchra ferit.
Vicisti Thelamoniade tu dignior armis,
Affectus fas est cedere iusticiae.[1]

The shield of Aeacus’ descendant, stained with Hector’s blood, the unjust assembly of the Greeks awarded to the Ithacan. Neptune, showing more respect for equity, seized upon it when it was cast into the sea in the shipwreck, so that it could go to its proper master. For the wave carried it to Ajax’s tomb upon the shore, the wave which booms and smites the sepulchre with these words: ‘Son of Telamon, you have conquered. You are more worthy of these arms’. It is right for partiality to yield to justice.

Notes:

1.  This is a version of Anthologia graeca 9.115-6. See Homer, Odyssey 11.541ff. for the contest for ownership of the divine armour of the dead Achilles (i.e. Aeacus’ descendant), who had earlier killed Hector. The Greek assembly awarded the armour to smooth Odysseus (the Ithacan) rather than to brave Ajax (son of Telamon), and, according to later tradition, Ajax became mad with fury and humiliation. Returning to sanity he committed suicide in shame. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.1.ff; and [A50a175]. Ajax was buried on a promontory near Rhoeteion, not far from Troy.


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IUSTA VINDICTA.

Just recompense

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Dum resydet cyclops sinuosi in faucibus antri,
Haec secum teneras concinit inter oves.
Pascite vos herbas, sociis ego pascar Achivis
Postremumque utin viscera nostra ferent
Audiit haec Ithacus Cyclopaque lumine cassum
Reddidit, en poenas ut suus author habet[1]. [2]

Sitting in the mouth of his arching cave, the Cyclops sang thus to himself amidst his gentle sheep: Do you feed on grass; I shall feed on the Greek companions, and last of all my belly shall get No-man. The man from Ithaca heard this and made the Cyclops eyeless. See how the one who plotted misfortune collects it himself!

Notes:

1.  A proverbial sentiment: cf. Erasmus, Adagia 3091, Di tibi dent tuam mentem.

2.  For the story of Ulysses (the man from Ithaca) in the Cyclops’ cave and his escape by blinding the Cyclops, see Homer, Odyssey 9.177 ff. Ulysses had told the Cyclops his name was No-man. (Utis l. 4).


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