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SIGNA FORTIUM.

The mark of the brave

Quae te causa movet volucris saturnia[1] magni,
Ut tumulo insideas ardua Aristomenis[2]?
Hoc moneo quantum inter aves ego robore praesto,
Tantum semideos inter Aristomenes.
Insideant timidae timidorum busta columbae,
Nos aquilae intrepidis signa benigna damus.

Saturnian bird, what cause brings you to stand with uplifted wings on the tomb of mighty Aristomenes? - I tell you this - as I stand out among the birds in power, so does Aristomenes among the sons of gods. Fearful doves may perch on the graves of the fearful. We eagles give signs of favour to the fearless.

Notes:

1.  volucris Saturnia, ‘Saturnian bird’, i.e. the eagle, attendant on Jupiter, son of Saturn.

2.  Aristomenes was a Messenian hero of the seventh century BC, of semi-divine origin, who performed incredible exploits while leading his country for many years in resistance to the Spartans. On one occasion an eagle aided his miraculous escape from captivity.


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  • doves, pigeons [34B231] 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 & virtu del animo', 'Forza'(Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Courage, Bravery, Valiance, Manliness; 'Ardire magnanimo et generoso', 'Gagliardezza', 'Valore', 'Virtù heroica', 'Virtù dell'animo e del corpo' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A8(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Cowardice [54AA8] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Fear, Dread; 'Paura', 'Timidità o Timore', 'Timore' (Ripa) [56DD1] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Impossibile.

The impossible

LXXXIIII.

Abluis Aethiopem quid frustra? ah desine, noctis
Illustrare nigrae nemo potest tenebras.[1]

Why are you washing an Ethiopian in vain? Oh, do stop. No one can turn the shades of black night into light.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [i6v p140]

COMMENTARIA.

Aethiops à natura nigerrimus, Solis enim
vicinitate suae regionis cremantur. ideoque etiamsi
plurimum lavetur, nigredo tamen non tolli-
tur, & in vanum laboratur, nemo enim un-
quam illustrare poterit obscuras tenebras no
ctis, & in proverbium abiit, Aethiopem la-
vas. Erasmus in Chiliadibus.

Notes:

1.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 11.428. See also Aesop, Fables 11; Erasmus, Adagia 350, Aethiopen lavas.


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  • (personifications of) 'Vanitas', the vanity of human life; Fragilit� humana, Fugacit� delle grandezze & della gloria mondana, Meditatione della morte, Opera vana, Piacere vano, Vana gloria, Vanit� (Ripa) [11R5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • day and night [23R] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Impossibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52BB42(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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