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Section: PERFIDIA (Treachery). View all emblems in this section.

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Maledicentia.

Evil speaking

Archilochi[1] tumulo insculptas de marmore vespas
Esse ferunt,[2] linguae certa sigilla malae.

They say that on the tomb of Archilochus wasps were carved in marble, sure figures of an evil tongue.

Notes:

1. Archilochus was an eighth-century BC poet, author of much (now fragmentary) verse, including satire. This last was considered in antiquity to be excessively abusive and violent. See Horace, Ars Poetica, 79; also Erasmus, Adagia, 60 (Irritare crabrones).

2. ferunt, ‘they say’: words suggested by Anthologia Graeca, 7.71, an epigram concerning the tomb of Archilochus.


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  • Calumny, Detraction; 'Biasimo vitioso', 'Calunnia', 'Detrattione', 'Maledicenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57BB25(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Lascivia.

Wantonness

LXXI [=72] .

Delicias, & mollitiem mus creditur albus
Arguere, at ratio non sat aperta mihi est.[1]
An qud ei natura salax, & multa libido est?
Ornat Romanas an quia pelle nurus?
Sarmaticum murem vocitant plerique zibellum,[2]
Et celebris suavi est unguine muscus Arabae.[3]

The white mouse is supposed to represent self-indulgence and licentiousness, but the reason is not very clear to me. Is it because it is highly sexed and has strong sexual appetities? Or because it adorns Roman women with its fur? Many people call the civet-cat the Sarmatian mouse, and famous for its sweet oil is the Arabian musk.

Notes:

1. The white mouse was a proverbial example of the effeminate and the promiscuous. See the Suda s.v. mus, and Apostolius, Proverbs, 11,87, who also reports its sexual proclivities.

2. zibellum, ‘civet cat’, one source of musk, an ingredient in many perfumes. Sarmatia was the region north of the Black Sea.

3. murem...muscus, ‘mouse...musk’. The words ‘mouse’ and ‘musk’ (late Latin muscus) are connected, from the mouse-shaped sac of the male animals which produce musk. Some plants have a musky smell. Muscus also means ‘moss’ - Arabia was famous for plants which produced aromatic gums (e.g. incense and nard).


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