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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.


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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Relating to the image:

  • beasts of prey, predatory animals: lion (+ female animal) [25F23(LION)(+23)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • beasts of prey, predatory animals: lion (+ postures of hind leg(s) of animal(s)) [25F23(LION)(+56)] Search | Browse Iconclass

Relating to the text:

  • tongue [31A22141] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • torture [44G330] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Taciturnity; 'Secretezza', 'Secretezza overo Taciturnit√†' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52DD3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • names of cities and villages (with NAME) [61E(ATHENS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Harmodius and Aristogiton representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(HARMODIUS & ARISTOGITON)3] 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(IPHICRATES)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • female persons from classical history (with NAME) suffering, misfortune of person from classical history [98C(LAENA)6] Search | Browse Iconclass

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