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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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FORTUNA VIRTUTEM
superans.

Fortune triumphant over virtue

Caesareo postquám superatus milite vidit,
Civili undantem sanguine pharsaliam.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C1v]Iamiam stricturus moribunda in pectora ferrum,
Audaci hos Brutus protulit ore sonos.
Infoelix virtus & solis provida verbis,
Fortunam in rebus cur sequeris dominam?[1]

Brutus, defeated by the Caesarean troops, saw Pharsalia flowing with citizen blood. As he was about to plunge the sword into his dying heart, he spoke these words with undaunted voice: ‘Unhappy virtue, prudent only in word - why do you in reality submit to dominating fortune?’

Notes:

1.  After the assassination of Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius became the leaders of the Republican cause. The Caesarean troops, led by Mark Antony and Octavian, Caesar’s heir, defeated them in 42 BC in two battles at Philippi in Macedonia. (Pharsalus in Thessaly was the site of the battle in 48 BC in which Julius Caesar had defeated Pompey in a previous round of the Civil Wars. Pharsalia is here loosely used, as in the Roman poets, to refer to both sites of similar civil conflict.) For Brutus’ suicide after the defeat, see the end of Plutarch’s Life of Brutus.


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  • 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 Virtů', 'Attione virtuosa', 'Guida sicura de' veri honori', 'Virtů', 'Virtů insuperabile' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57A6(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(PHARSALIA)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Marcus Junius Brutus death of person from classical history [98B(BRUTUS, M.J.)68] Search | Browse Iconclass

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