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Eloquentia fortitudine praestantior.[1]

Eloquence superior to strength

Emblema clxxx.

Arcum laeva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam,
Contegit & Nemees corpora nuda leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? non convenit illud
Qud vetus, & senio tempora cana gerit
Quid qud lingua illi levibus traiecta catenis,
Queis fissa faciles allicit aure viros?
An ne qud Alciden lingua, non robore Galli
Praestantem populis iura dedisse ferunt?
Cedunt arma togae,[2] & quamvis durissima corda
Eloquio pollens ad sua vota trahit.

His left hand holds a bow, his right hand a stout club, the lion of Nemea clothes his bare body. So this is a figure of Hercules. But he is old and his temples grizzled with age - that does not fit. What of the fact that his tongue has light chains passing through it, which are attached to men’s pierced ears, and by them he draws them unresisting along? The reason is surely that the Gauls say that Alceus’ descendant excelled in eloquence rather than might and gave laws to the nations. - Weapons yield to the arts of peace, and even the hardest of hearts the skilled speaker can lead where he will.

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SUmpta haec designatio ex Luciani quadam prae-
fatione: qua significatur Herculem illum scri-
ptoribus decantatissimum, Gallum fuisse, virum
prudentissimum & eloquentissimum, qui cm vir-
tutibus iis quae civilem hominem decent esset ex-
cultus, populum Gallicum prima illa feritate &
cultu barbaro ad vitam placidiorem sapienti ora-
tione & nomothesia revocavit.

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Que l’eloquence a plus de vertu que les
forces du corps.

LE pourtrait d’Hercules est expos en veu,
Dont l’arc est la gauche, dextre une massue.
De la peau d’un lion arm au corps il est.
Quoy? cela convient-il ce qu’un chacun set?
Car il semble icy vieil, & tel se fait cognoistre,
Et le contempler, chauve & ride paroistre.
A sa langue coulant petites chesnes sont
Attachees en ordre, & par l’oreille vont
Des oyans, retenus sans aucune contrainte.
Et c’est que les Gaulois d’une opinion sainte
Maintiennent qu’Hercules, non de force de corps,
Mais par son bien parler fit des peuples concords,
Ausquels il donna loy ce qu’ils se soubmissent.
Ainsi aux gens diserts les armes obeyssent,
Et les hommes plusdurs, malapprins, malfaisans,
Se rangent aux propos en fin des bien-disans.

CEste pourtraitture est prinse d’un trait-
t de Lucian: par laquelle nous appre-
nons que Hercules tant celebr des auteurs
anciens, a est Gaullois, homme fort bien ad-
vis, & des mieux disans, lequel estant bien
fourny des parties qui appartiennent l’hom-
me propre au gouvernement du public, il
reduit par ses sages remonstrances, & esta-
blissemens de bonnes loix le peuple Gaul-
lois premierement impoly & barbare une
vie plus douce & civile.

Notes:

1. This epigram is closely based on Lucian’s essay, The Gallic Hercules.

2. Cf. Cicero’s notorious line, Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea linguae, ‘Let weapons yield to the arts of peace, let laurels yield to eloquence’ (quoted in Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 11.1.24).


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  • extinct, 'historical' peoples (with NAME) [32B2(GAULS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • 'litterae', symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ literature; 'Lettere' (Ripa) [48C90] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Power of Eloquence; 'Forza sottoposta all'Eloquenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosit dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virt del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass

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REMEDIA IN ARDUO MALA.
in prono esse.

Remedies are hard, damage is easy

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Aetheriis postquam deiecit sedibus Aten,
Iupiter[1] heu vexat qum mala noxa viros.
Evolat haec pedibus celer & pernicibus alis,
Intactumque nihil casibus esse sinit.
Ergo litae proles Iovis hanc comitantur euntem,[2]
Sarcturae quicquid fecerit illa mali.
Sed quia segnipedes strabae[3] lassaeque senecta,
Nil nisi post longo tempore restituunt.[4]

Once Jupiter had cast Ate down from the heavenly abode, what an evil bane thereafter assailed poor man! Ate flies out fleet of foot with fast-beating wing and leaves nothing untouched by mishap. So Jove’s daughters, the Litae, accompany her as she goes, to mend whatever ill she has brought about. But they are slow-footed, poor of sight and weary with age, and so they restore nothing until later, after long passage of time.

Notes:

1. ‘Jupiter had cast Ate down’. See Homer, Iliad 19. 125ff.

2. ‘the Litae accompany her’. See Homer, Iliad 9.502ff. Ate means ‘Mischief’, Litae, ‘Prayers’. Ate was cast out of Olympus to bring harm to mankind, a personification of humans being led astray. The Litae were a personification of prayers offered in repentance.

3. Textual variant: luscae.

4. The woodcut is puzzling. Possibly the monster is supposed to represent Ate; in later editions she appears as a harpy-like figure. The Litae feature, in later editions, as old women. The old man presumably represents the suffering of mankind.


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  • walking - AA - female human figure [31AA2711] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Slow Motion (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51MM1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Viciousness, Naughtiness (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA6(+4):54D4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Revenge, Requital, Retaliation; 'Vendetta' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA741(+4):54DD4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Jupiter seizes Ate by her hair and hurls her down from Olympus, possibly because of the delayed birth of Hercules (+ variant) [92B143(+0)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • other lesser deities of Heaven ~ destiny, fate, adversity: Litae [92G7(LITAE)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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