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FIRMISSIMA CONVELLI
non posse.

The firmest things cannot be uprooted

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Oceanus quamvis fluctus pater excitet omnes,[1]
Danubiumque omnem barbare Turca bibis,[2]
Non tamen irrumpes perfracto limite, Caesar
Dum Charolus populis bellica signa dabit.[3]
Sic sacrae quercus[4] firmis radicibus adstanti [=adstant] ,
Sicca licent [=licet] venti concutiant folia.

Though Father Ocean rouses all his waves, though, barbarous Turk, you drink the Danube dry, yet you shall not break through the boundary and burst in, while Emperor Charles shall give to his peoples the signal for war. Even so, holy oaks stand firm with tenacious roots, though the winds rattle the dry leaves.

Notes:

1. This poem is based on Anthologia graeca 9.291, which refers to a threat to ancient Rome from invading German tribes.

2. The Turks invaded along the Danube and reached Hungary, winning the battle of Mohacs in 1526. When Alciato was writing, they continued to threaten Vienna and Central Europe.

3. Caesar...Charlus, i.e. Emperor Charles V, led the charge to recover the lost territory.

4. ‘holy oaks’. Oaks were holy because sacred to Zeus, especially at his sanctuary at Dodona in Greece ([A50a199]). The image of the dry leaves is already present in the Greek poem, but see also Vergil, Aeneid 4.441-4.


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  • withering, leaves or flowers falling off [25G(+35)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • trees: oak (+ withering, leaves or flowers falling off) [25G3(OAK)(+35)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Asiatic races and peoples: Turks [32B33(TURKS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Constancy, Tenacity; 'Costanza', 'Tenacità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [53A21(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Stability, Firmness; 'Fermezza', 'Stabilimento', 'Stabilità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [53A22(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Invincibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A71(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • historical person (with NAME) other representations to which the NAME of a historical person may be attached (with NAME of person) [61B2(CHARLES V [of Holy Roman Empire])3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(DANUBE)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Oceanus [91B112] Search | Browse Iconclass

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IN TEMERARIOS.

The reckless

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Aspicis aurigam currus phaetonta[1] paterni,
Inguivomos [=Ignivomos] ausum flectere solis equos.
Maxima qui postqum terris incendia sparsit,
Est temere insesso lapsus ab axe miser.
Sic plerique rotis fortunae ad sydera Reges,
Evecti ambitio quos iuvenilis agit.
Pst magnam humani generis clademque suamque,
Cunctorum poenas denique dant scelerum.

You see here Phaethon, driving his father’s chariot, and daring to guide the fire-breathing steeds of the Sun. After spreading great conflagrations over the earth, the wretched boy fell from the car he had so rashly mounted. - Even so, the majority of kings are borne up to heaven on the wheels of Fortune, driven by youth’s ambition. After they have brought great disaster on the human race and themselves, they finally pay the penalty for all their crimes.

Notes:

1. Phaethon, the son of Apollo, the sun-god. The myth referred to here is told in Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.748 - 2.349. Both Phaethon and Icarus ([A31a054]) are types of those who aim too high and do not recognise their proper sphere.


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