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EMBLEMA CLXXIX [=178] .

Vespertilio.

The bat

Assumpsisse suum volucri ex Meneide nomen,[1]
Socraticum authores Choerephoonta ferunt[2]
Fusca viro facies, & stridens vocula, tali
Hunc hominem potuit commaculare nota.

Writers tell us that Chaerephon, Socrates’ follower, got his particular name from the winged daughter of Minyas. It was his sallow complexion and squeaky little voice that gave rise to such a slur to sully his reputation.

Das CLXXIX [=178] .

Fledermauß.

Die Gschichtschreiber geben zuverston
Daß der Socratisch Cherophon
Sein namen empfangen hab drauß
Von der Meneischen Fledermauß
Ein Mann so hat ein braun angsicht
Und ein stimm zu zischen gericht
Disen Menschen man mercken kan
Mit diesem zeichen, und verstan.

Notes:

1.  For the transformation of the daughters of Minyas (the founder of the earliest race of Greeks) into bats - for refusing to worship Dionysus - see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.389ff.

2.  Chaerophon, a distinguished disciple of Socrates, was nick-named ‘The Bat’ and ‘Boxwood’ for his pale complexion and poor health, supposedly brought on by excessive study. See Aristophanes, Aves, 1564; Philostratus, Vitae sophistarum, 1.482.


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    • flying mammals: bat [25F28(BAT)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • study and diversion [49A1] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • studying at night [49B4411] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Minyas' daughters changed into bats: having aroused Bacchus' anger by weaving instead of worshipping him, the daughters of Minyas, Leuconoe (Leucippe), Alcithoe and Arsippe, are changed into bats by the god (Ovid, Metamorphoses IV 399) [97CC7] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • male persons from classical history (with NAME) representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(CHAEREPHON)3] Search | Browse Iconclass

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    NEC QUESTIONI
    quidem cedendum.

    Do not yield even to torture

    Cecropia effictam quam cernis in arce leaenam,
    Harmodii an nescis hospes, amica fuit?
    Sic animum placuit monstrare viraginis acrem,
    More ferae, nomen vel quia tale fuit[1].
    Quod fidibus contorta suo non prodidit ullum,
    Indicio, elinguem reddidit Iphicrates.[2]

    This lioness that you see represented on the Athenian citadel was Harmodius’s lover - stranger, you must know the story. This was how they decided to proclaim the brave woman’s fierce spirit, by representing her as a lioness. Besides, her name was Lioness too. Tortured on the rack, she betrayed no-one by her evidence, and so Iphicrates represented the beast without a tongue.

    Notes:

    1.  Later editions read tulit.

    2.  Harmodius and Aristogeiton conspired to kill Hipparchus, the brother of the Athenian tyrant Hippias. Harmodius was killed, Aristogeiton arrested and tortured. Also tortured was Leaena (‘Lioness’) a courtesan, beloved of Harmodius, as she too was suspected of being in the conspiracy. She however revealed nothing. After the fall of Hippias, the two men were treated as tyrannicides and bronze statues were erected in their honour (509 BC). To avoid appearing to honour a courtesan, the Athenians had Leaena represented by Iphicrates (or Amphicrates) as a lioness without a tongue, indicating both her name and the reason for remembering her. See Pliny, Natural History 34.19.72; Plutarch, De garrulitate 505E.


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    • torture [44G330] Search | Browse Iconclass
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