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NON VULGANDA CONSI-
lia ducum.

Keep counsels secret

Emblema. 12.

Limine quod caeco obscura & caligine monstrum,[1]
Gnosiacis clausit Daedalus in tenebris.
Depictum Romana phalanx in praelia gestat.
Semiviroque nitent signa superba[2] bove:
Nosque monent debere Ducum secreta[3] latere
Consilia, autori cognita techna nocet.

The monster that Daedalus imprisoned in its Cretan lair, with hidden entrance and obscuring darkness, the Roman phalanx carries painted into battle; the proud standards flash with the half-man bull. These remind us that the secret plans of leaders must stay hid. A ruse once known brings harm to its author.

Notes:

1. ‘The monster that Daedalus imprisoned’, i.e. the Minotaur, the half-man, half-bull monster kept in the famous Labyrinth at Knossos, which Daedalus, the Athenian master-craftsman, constructed for King Minos.

2. According to Pliny, Natural History 10.5.16, before the second consulship of Marius (104 BC) Roman standards bore variously eagles, wolves, minotaurs, horses and boars. Marius made the eagle universal.

3. Cf. Festus, De verborum significatu (135 Lindsay): the Minotaur appears among the military standards, because the plans of leaders should be no less concealed than was the Minotaur’s lair, the Labyrinth.


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In victoriam dolo partam.

On victory won by guile.

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

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. 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, [A34b038].

2. See Anthologia graeca 7.145.


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