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Section: PERFIDIA (Treachery). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[D6r p59]

Maledicentia.

Evil speaking

Archilochi[1] tumulo insculptas de marmore vespas
Esse ferunt,[2] linguae certa sigilla malae.

They say that on the tomb of Archilochus wasps were carved in marble, sure figures of an evil tongue.

Notes:

1.Archilochus was an eighth-century BC poet, author of much (now fragmentary) verse, including satire. This last was considered in antiquity to be excessively abusive and violent. See Horace, Ars Poetica, 79; also Erasmus, Adagia, 60 (Irritare crabrones).

2.ferunt, ‘they say’: words suggested by Anthologia Graeca, 7.71, an epigram concerning the tomb of Archilochus.


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  • Calumny, Detraction; 'Biasimo vitioso', 'Calunnia', 'Detrattione', 'Maledicenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57BB25(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Section: PERFIDIA (Treachery). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[D7r p61]

In adulatores.

Flatterers

Semper hiat, semper tenuem qua vescitur auram,
Reciprocat Ghamaeleon[1],
Et mutat faciem, varios sumitque colores,
Praeter rubrum, vel candidum.[2]
Sic & Adulator populari vescitur aura,[3]
Hiansque cuncta devorat.
Et solým mores imitatur principis atros,
Albi, & pudici nescius.

The Chameleon is always breathing in and out with open mouth the bodiless air on which it feeds; it changes its appearance and takes on various colours, except for red and white. - Even so the flatterer feeds on the wind of popular approval and gulps down all with open mouth. He imitates only the black features of the prince, knowing nothing of the white and pure.

Notes:

1.This creature was supposed to feed only on air, keeping its mouth wide open to suck it in. See Pliny, Natural History 8.51.122. For the chameleon cf. Erasmus, Parabolae pp.144, 241, 252.

2.‘except for red and white’. See Pliny, ib.

3.‘the wind of popular approval’. This is a common metaphor in Latin, e.g. Horace, Odes 3.2.20, ‘at the behest of the wind of popular approval.’


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