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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n2r p195]

Concordia insuperabilis.

Concord is insuperable

XVIII.

Tergeminos inter fuerat concordia fratres,
Tanta simul pietas mutua, & unus amor:
Invicti humanis ut viribus ampla tenerent
Regna, uno dicti nomine Geryonis.[1]

There was concord between triplet brothers, such mutual care, one love between them all; and so, unconquerable by human force, they held wide realms and were called by the one name of Geryones.

Notes:

1.  This is a rationalisation of Geryones, the unconquerable giant with three heads or three bodies, who dwelt on the island Erytheia of the mythic Hesperides, eventually vanquished and killed by Hercules during his abduction of Geryones’ famous cattle. See Emblem 225 ([A56a225]).


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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [m8r p191]

    Antiquissima quaeque com-
    mentitia.

    The oldest things are all invented

    VII.

    Pellenaee senex, cui forma est histrica, Proteu, [1]
    Qui modō membra viri fers, modō membra feri.
    Dic agč 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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