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EMBLEMA CXXVIII.

Vel post mortem formidolosi.

Terrifying even after death

Caetera mutescent, coriumque silebit ovillum,
Si confecta lupi tympana pelle sonent.
Hanc membrana ovium sic exhorrescit, ut hostem,
Exanimis quamvis non ferat exanimem.
Sic cute detracta Cischas in tympana versus,
Bohemos potuit vincere pontifices.[1]

All others will fall mute, the skin of sheep will be silent, if drums made of wolf-hide resound. The vellum of sheep so fears the wolf-skin, that though dead it cannot endure its dead enemy. Even so Cischas, flayed and turned into a drum, was able to triumph over the priests of Bohemia.

Das CXXVIII.

Auch nach dem Tod zu förchten.

Wann Mann ein Trumm und Baucken rürt
Die von Wolffsheuten ist geführt
So erstummen die andern all
Die gemach seind auß dem Schaffell
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [N1r f84r]Also erschrickt und fürchten thut
Das Schaffel, die Wolffshaut on mut
Das sich sie also todt entsetzt
Vor dem todten Feind der es letzt
Also vor der abzognen Haut
Gespant uber ein Trumb und Bauck
Deß Hauptmanns Zichas gflohen sind
Deß Bömischen Meßpfaffen gsind.

Notes:

1.  For the story behind this epigram, see the commentary in the Tozzi edition of Alciato’s emblems (Padua, 1621). ‘Cischas’ is Jan Ziska (c.1370-1425), a Bohemian military leader who supported the Hussites, destroying Catholic churches and attacking the clergy. He waged a long and successful military campaign which compelled the Emperor Sigismund to offer the Hussites religious liberty. Ziska died of plague, and is said to have ordered that his corpse be flayed and the skin made into a drum, the sound of which would put the enemy to flight. (His real name was Jan z Trocnova (‘of Trocnov’), Zizka being Czech for ‘one-eyed’, having lost an eye in a skirmish during the Battle of Grunwald in 1410).


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    • priest (Roman Catholic) [11P3121] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • beasts of prey, predatory animals: wolf (+ skin, fleece, hide, fur, leather) [25F23(WOLF)(+351)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • military music [45C9] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • sheep (+ skin, fleece, hide, fur, leather) [47I213(+9351)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • drum (musical instrument) - CC - out of doors [48CC7341] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Authority, Power; 'Dominio', 'Giurisdittione' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [53C11(+4):31E30] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Alarm, Fright; 'Spavento', 'Terrore' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [56DD32(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • historical person (with NAME) other representations to which the NAME of a historical person may be attached (with NAME of person) [61B2(ZIZCA, Jan)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(BOHEMIA)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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    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 modò membra viri fers, modò 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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