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In nothos.

Bastards

XXVI.

Herculeos spurii semper celebretis honores:
Nam vestri princeps ordinis ille fuit.[1]
Nec prius esse deus potuit,[2] qum sugeret infans
Lac, sibi quod fraudis nescia Iuno dabat.[3]

Bastards, you should always celebrate the honours of Hercules, for he was the chief of your line. He could not become a god until as a babe he sucked the milk which Juno was giving him, unaware that she was being tricked.

Notes:

1. Hercules was fathered by Jupiter on Alcmene, wife of Amphitryon of Thebes, and became his father’s favourite. Juno, wife of Jupiter, in jealousy pursued Hercules with implacable hatred.

2. After all his Labours (see previous emblem) and other exploits, Hercules, by the will of Jupiter, was received among the gods. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9.156ff; Cicero, De officiis, 3.25.

3. For the story of Juno tricked by Jupiter into suckling the loathed Hercules see Pausanias, 9.25.2. This divine milk apparently counteracted Hercules’ illegitimate birth which otherwise disqualified him for heaven. See Erasmus, Adagia, 2070 (Ad Cynosarges).


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    Bonis auspiciis incipien-
    dum.

    Begin with good auspices

    XXIIII.

    Auspiciis res coepta malis, bene cedere nescit.
    Felici quae sunt omine facta, iuvant.
    Quidquid agis, mustela tibi si occurrat, omitte:
    Signa malae haec sortis bestia prava gerit. [1]

    A business begun with bad auspices cannot turn out well. Things done with good omens bring happiness. Whatever you are doing, if a weasel crosses your path, abandon it. This evil creature bears signs of ill luck.

    Notes:

    1. For the weasel as a creature of ill omen, see Erasmus, Adagia, 173, (Mustelam habes).


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