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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F6v p92]

Tandem tandem iustitia obtinet.

At long last justice wins the day

XXXVIII.

Aeacidae Hectoreo perfusum sanguine scutum,
Quod Graecorum Ithaco concio iniqua dedit.
Iustior arripuit Neptunus in aequora iactum
Naufragio, ut dominum posset adire suum:
Littoreo Aiacis tumulo namque intulit unda:
Quae boat, & tali voce sepulchra ferit.
Vicisti Telamoniade tu dignior armis,
Affectus fas est cedere iustitiae.[1]

The shield of Aeacus’ descendant, stained with Hector’s blood, the unjust assembly of the Greeks awarded to the Ithacan. Neptune, showing more respect for equity, seized upon it when it was cast into the sea in the shipwreck, so that it could go to its proper master. For the wave carried it to Ajax’s tomb upon the shore, the wave which booms and smites the sepulchre with these words: ‘Son of Telamon, you have conquered. You are more worthy of these arms’. It is right for partiality to yield to justice.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F7r p93]

Gerechtigkeyt sigt doch zu letsten.

XXXVIII.

Die Griechen des Achillis schilt
Dem Ajax namen wider recht,
Neptunus sagt, wie ist das gspilt?
Lont man also dem gueten knecht?
Drumb in des Ajax grab er schlecht
Den schilt durch gwalt des mers, das schreyt,
O Ajax, dier gschach groß unrecht,
Doch finndt sich dwarheyt mit der zeit.

Notes:

1.  This is a version of Anthologia graeca 9.115-6. See Homer, Odyssey 11.541ff. for the contest for ownership of the divine armour of the dead Achilles (i.e. Aeacus’ descendant), who had earlier killed Hector. The Greek assembly awarded the armour to smooth Odysseus (the Ithacan) rather than to brave Ajax (son of Telamon), and, according to later tradition, Ajax became mad with fury and humiliation. Returning to sanity he committed suicide in shame. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.1.ff; and [A50a175]. Ajax was buried on a promontory near Rhoeteion, not far from Troy.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F4v p88]

In illaudata laudantes.

Praising the wrong things

XXXVI.

Ingentes Galatûm semermi milite turmas,
Spem praeter trepidus fuderat Antiochus.[1]
Lucarum cùm saeva boum vis,[2] dira proboscis,
Tum primùm[3] hostiles corripuisset equos.
Ergo trophaea locans Elephantis imagine pinxit,
Insuper & sociis occideramus ait,
Bellua servasset ni nos foedissima barrus:
At superasse iuvat, sic superasse pudet.

Antiochus, in spite of his fears, had beyond all expectation routed the huge squadrons of Galatians with his light-armed troops, when the savage might of elephants, their raging and their trunks, for the first time ever fell upon the enemy’s cavalry. So when he set up the trophy, he adorned it with the picture of an elephant and furthermore said to his troops: “We would have fallen, if this revolting beast, the elephant, had not preserved us. Pleasing as it is to conquer, it is galling to conquer like this”.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F5r p89]

Loben, das lob nit wirdig.

XXXVI.

Antiochus der kunig schlueg
Seine feind gantz mit ploßem her,
Het aber gstelt mit großem klueg
Vil Elephanten zu der wehr,
Die gwunnen dschlacht: drumb malet er
Das thier in seinem sig, und spricht,
Der sig selbs ist mier nit unmer,
Also erlangt frewt er mich nicht.

Notes:

1.  For this incident, see Lucian, Zeuxis sive Antiochus 8-11. In 276 BC Antiochus I won against fearful odds by directing his sixteen elephants against the Galatian horsemen and scythed chariots. Not only did the horses turn in panic and cause chaos among their own infantry, but the elephants came on behind, tossing, goring and trampling. Although he had won an overwhelming victory, Antiochus did not consider it a matter for congratulation.

2.  ‘Might of elephants’, lit. ‘might of Lucanian cattle’, supposedly so called by the Romans because they first saw these strange beasts in Lucania in south Italy, when King Pyrrhus of Epirus made use of them in his defeat of the Romans at the battle of Heraclea in 280 BC. See Pliny, Natural History 8.6.16.

3.  ‘For the first time ever’. The Galatians, Celtic tribes who had invaded Asia Minor, had never seen elephants before. Elephants had often been used in battle on other occasions.


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