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Section: AMOR (Love). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [H4r p119]

Αντέρως, id est amor virtutis.

Anteros, that is, love of virtue

Διαλογιστικῶς.

In dialogue form.

Dic ubi sunt incurvi arcus? ubi tela Cupido?
Mollia queis iuvenum figere corda soles?[1]
Fax ubi tristis? ubi pennae? tres unde corollas
Fert manus? unde aliam tempora cincta gerunt?
Haud mihi vulgari est, (hospes) cum Cypride quicquam
Ulla voluptatis nos neque forma tulit,
Sed puris hominum succendo mentibus ignes
Disciplinae: animos astraque ad alta traho.
Quatuor eque ipsa texo virtute corollas,[2]
Quarum, quae Sophiae est, tempora prima tegit.

Tell me, where are your arching bows, where your arrows, Cupid, the shafts which you use to pierce the tender hearts of the young? Where is your hurtful torch, where your wings? Why does your hand hold three garlands? Why do your temples wear a fourth? - Stranger, I have nothing to do with common Venus, nor did any pleasurable shape bring me forth. I light the fires of learning in the pure minds of men and draw their thoughts to the stars on high. I weave four garlands out of virtue’s self and the chief of these, the garland of Wisdom, wreathes my temples.

Notes:

1. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 16.201.

2. ‘I weave four garlands out of virtue’s self’, a reference to the four cardinal virtues, justice, temperance, courage and wisdom.


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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B1v p18]

Ad illustrem[1] Maximilianum ducem Mediolanensem.

To the illustrious Maximilian, Duke of Milan.

Emblema I.

EXiliens infans sinuosi faucibus anguis,
Est gentilitiis nobile stemma tuis.[2]
Talia Pellaeum[3] gessisse nomismata regem,
Vidimus, hisque suum concelebrasse genus.
Dum se Ammone satum,[4] matrem anguis imagine lusam,
Divini & sobolem seminis esse docet.
Ore exit, tradunt sic quosdam enitier angues,[5]
An quia sic Pallas de capite orta Iovis?[6]

An infant bursting from the maw of a coiling serpent marks the noble lineage of your clan. We have observed that the Pellaean king had coinage with such a device and by it celebrated his own descent, proclaiming that he was begotten of Ammon, that his mother was beguiled by the form of a snake and the child was the offspring of divine seed. The infant emerges from the mouth. They say that some snakes come to birth that way. Or is it because Pallas sprang like this from the head of Jove?

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B2r p19]

An den durleuchtigen, etc. Maximilian
Hertzogen
zu Mayland.

I.

Ein kind au einer krummen schlang
Entspringend, Hertzog ist dein schilt:
Alexander fuert auch vorlang
Zu sonder zeugnu sollich bild,
Wie selbs der got Jupiter mild
Sein vater wer, und solcher art
Ir junge bringt die nater wild,
Auch Pallas also gporen ward.

Notes:

1. Other editions expand this to ‘illustrissimum’.

2. The Sforza family had ruled Milan since 1450, having assumed power through marriage (some said fraudulently) to a Visconti heiress, and taken their symbol as their own. They were chased out in 1499 by the French, but restored several times.

3. Pellaeum...regem: ‘the Pellaean king’, i.e. Alexander the Great, born at Pella in Macedonia

4. For the superhuman birth of Alexander, see e.g. Plutarch, Life of Alexander, 3 and 27: Jupiter in the form of a serpent mated with Olympias, wife of Philip of Macedon, and begat Alexander. Ammon, a north African deity, was identified with Zeus/Jupiter. When Alexander visited Ammon’s sanctuary, he was hailed as the son of the god.

5. According to e.g.Pliny, Natural History 10.170, Aelian, De natura animalium 1.24, the viper, alone among snakes, produces not eggs but live young. See also Isidore, Etymologiae 12.4.10.

6. The story of Pallas Athene springing complete and armed from the head of Jove is found in many sources; see e.g. Homer, Hymns 3.308ff; Hesiod, Theogony 923ff.


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