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Section: MORS (Death). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [L6r p171]

Opulenti haereditas.

The rich man’s legacy

Patroclum falsis rapiunt hinc Troës in armis.
Hinc socii, atque omnis turba Pelasga vetat.
Obtinet exuvias Hector, Graecique cadaver.[1]
Haec fabella agitur, cum vir optimus [=opimus] obit.
Maxima rixa oritur, tandem sed transigit haeres,
Et corvis aliquid, vulturiisque sinit.[2]

On that side the Trojans are carrying off Patroclus in his deceptive armour, on this, his co-fighters and all the Greek host try to stop them. Hector obtains the spoils, the Greeks the body. This story is played out when a rich man dies. A great quarrelling arises, but eventually the heir brings the argument to an end and leaves something for crows and vultures.

Notes:

1.  For the death of Patroclus, see Homer, Iliad, 16.784ff. He borrowed Achilles’ armour to fight the Trojans when Achilles refused, and was killed by Hector, who took the armour.

2.  ‘Vulture’ was a term used to refer to people who hang round rich persons, hoping for a legacy See Erasmus, Adagia, 614 (Si vultur es, cadaver exspecta).


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A5r]

IN VICTORIAM DOLO
PARTAM.

On victory won by guile.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A5v]

Aiacis tumulum[1] ego perluo virtus,[2]
Heu misera albentes dilacerata comas.
Scilicet hoc restabat adhuc, ut iudice graeco[3],
Vincerer, & causa stet potiore dolus.[4]

I, Virtue, bedew with tears the tomb of Ajax, tearing, alas, in my grief my whitening hairs. This was all it needed - that I should be worsted with a Greek as judge, and that guile should appear to have the better cause.

Notes:

1.  This neither makes sense nor scans without lacrimis, cf. other editions.

2.  The quotation marks at the beginning presumably signify that the verse is in the first person.

3.  The Greek assembly awarded the arms of the dead Achilles to the cunning and eloquent Ulysses, not the brave and straight-forward Ajax. For Ajax’ subsequent suicide, [A34a039].

4.  See Anthologia graeca 7.145.


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