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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [k4r p151]

Eloquentia fortitudine prae-
stantior.[1]

Eloquence superior to strength

XCIII.

Arcum laeva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam,
Contegit & Nemees corpora nuda leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? non convenit illud
Qụd vetus & senio tempora cana gerit.
Quid qụd lingua illi levibus traiecta catenis.
Queis fissa facileis allicit aure viros?
Anne qụd Alciden 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, which are attached to men’s pierced ears, and by them he draws them unresisting along? 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.

COMMENTARIA.

Describit pictam hîc imaginem, quae arcum
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [k4v p152]sinistra, dextra veṛ ferream Clavam tenet,
indutaque pelle Leonis ex Nemea (regio est
Arcadiae, in cuius quadam sylva Hercules in-
gentem occidit Leonem, eius deinde pelle
vestiebatur, ut apud Theocritum lib. 21.) Hercu-
lis igitur est figura, sed non convenit cani-
cies, nec cathena illa: quae sibi lingua haeret:
leviter autem auriculas plurium virorum te-
net. Hoc autem significatur fortissimum Alcidem
(id est, Herculem sic dictum à Graeco nomi-
ne ἀλκὴ quod est robur) iura dedisse & sub-
egisse feroces populos, non ut iuvenis forti-
tudine seu armis, sed instar senis prudentis,
eloquentia sua singulari. Cedunt arma togae,
id est, bella interdum aspera eloquentiae vi &
persuasione docta faciliùs dirimuntur & se-
dantur, toga enim pro pace accipitur, nam
huiusmodi habitu utebantur prisci Romani
praesertim pacis tempore. Disertus denique
poterit vel durissimos etiam homines & fe-
rocissimos eloquentia citius quàm ro-
bore & violentia, in suam senten-
tiam trahere ut de Her-
cule habetur apud
Xenophon-
tem
.

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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  • extinct, 'historical' peoples (with NAME) [32B2(GAULS)] 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 generosit� dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virt� 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  [N2r p195]

Facundia difficilis.

Eloquence is hard

Antidotum Aeaeae medicata in pocula Circes
Mercurium hoc Ithaco fama dedisse fuit.[1]
Moly vocant, id vix radice evellitur atra,
Purpureus: sed flos, lactis & instar habet.
Eloquii candor facundiaque allicit omnes:
Sed multi res est tanta laboris opus.

According to the story, Mercury gave to the man from Ithaca this antidote to the poisoned cup of Aeaean Circe. They call it moly. It is hard to pull up by its black root. The plant is dark, but its flower is white as milk. The brilliance of eloquence and readiness of speech attracts all men, but this mighty thing is a work of much labour.

Notes:

1.  See Homer, Odyssey, 10.270ff. for the story of the encounter of Ulysses (the man from Ithaca) and his crew with the sorceress Circe on the island of Aeaea. The plant moly is described ibid, 302-6. See Emblem 76 ([A51a076]), for the effect of Circe’s poisoned cup. Cf. Erasmus, De Copia (Loeb edition, 1.91 D), where moly is interpreted as wisdom rather than eloquence. Cf. Coustau, ‘In herbam Moly, ex Homero’ ([FCPb073]).


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