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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E6r]

ELOQUENTIA FORTITU-
dine praestantior.[1]

Eloquence superior to strength

Arcum leva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam,
Contegit & Nemees corpora nuda leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? non convenit illud,
Quòd vetus & senio tempora cana gerit.
Quid quod lingua illi levibus traiecta cathenis,
Quîs fissa facili allicit aure viros.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E6v]An ne quod Alcyden lingua non robore Galli,
Praestantem populis iura dedisse ferunt.
Cedunt arma togae,[2] & quamvis durissima corda,
Eloquio pollens ad sua vota trahit.

His left hand holds a bow, his right hand a stout club, the lion of Nemea clothes his bare body. So this is a figure of Hercules. But he is old and his temples grizzled with age - that does not fit. What of the fact that his tongue has light chains passing through it, by which he draws men along with ready ears pierced? The reason is surely that the Gauls say that Alceus’ descendant excelled in eloquence rather than might and gave laws to the nations. - Weapons yield to the arts of peace, and even the hardest of hearts the skilled speaker can lead where he will.

Notes:

1.  This epigram is closely based on Lucian’s essay, The Gallic Hercules.

2.  Cf. Cicero’s notorious line, Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea linguae, ‘Let weapons yield to the arts of peace, let laurels yield to eloquence’ (quoted in Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 11.1.24).


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  • ears [31A2213] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Europeans (with NAME) [32B311(FRENCHMEN)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • 'litterae', symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ literature; 'Lettere' (Ripa) [48C90] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Power of Eloquence; 'Forza sottoposta all'Eloquenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosità dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virtù del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Section: SCIENTIA (Learning). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [N2v p196]

Antiquissima quaeque
commentitia.

The oldest things are all invented

apologesis.

An argument in support of this view.

Pellenaee senex, cui forma est histrica, Proteu,[1]
Qui modo membra viri fers, modo membra feri,
Dic age, quae species ratio te vertit in omnes,
Nulla sit ut vario certa figura tibi?
Signa vetustatis, primaevi & praefero secli:[2]
De quo quisque suo somniat arbitrio.

Proteus, old man of Pallene, whose outward appearance changes like an actor’s, assuming sometimes the body of a man, sometimes that of a beast, come, tell me, what is your reason for turning into all kinds of shapes, so that you have no permanent form as you constantly alter? I offer symbols of antiquity and the very first times, concerning which everyone dreams up what he will.

Notes:

1.  Proteus was ‘the Old Man of the Sea’, who evaded capture by constantly changing his shape. See e.g. Homer, Odyssey, 4.400ff.; Vergil, Georgics, 4. 405-10, 440-2; Erasmus, Adagia, 1174 (Proteo mutabilior). Vergil (Georgics, 4.391) describes him living near the headland of Pallene (on the Macedonian coast). The idea of Proteus as a gifted actor or mime-artist is taken from Lucian, Saltatio, 19.

2.  signa vetustatis primaevi et...secli, ‘symbols of antiquity and the very first times’. Pallene (see n.1.) suggested a connection with the Greek word παλαιός ‘ancient’, as the name Proteus was supposedly connected with πρώτιστος, ‘the very first’.


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