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EMBLEMA CLXXIX [=178] .

Vespertilio.

The bat

Assumpsisse suum volucri ex Meneide nomen,[1]
Socraticum authores Choerephoonta ferunt[2]
Fusca viro facies, & stridens vocula, tali
Hunc hominem potuit commaculare nota.

Writers tell us that Chaerephon, Socrates’ follower, got his particular name from the winged daughter of Minyas. It was his sallow complexion and squeaky little voice that gave rise to such a slur to sully his reputation.

Das CLXXIX [=178] .

Fledermauß.

Die Gschichtschreiber geben zuverston
Daß der Socratisch Cherophon
Sein namen empfangen hab drauß
Von der Meneischen Fledermauß
Ein Mann so hat ein braun angsicht
Und ein stimm zu zischen gericht
Disen Menschen man mercken kan
Mit diesem zeichen, und verstan.

Notes:

1.  For the transformation of the daughters of Minyas (the founder of the earliest race of Greeks) into bats - for refusing to worship Dionysus - see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.389ff.

2.  Chaerophon, a distinguished disciple of Socrates, was nick-named ‘The Bat’ and ‘Boxwood’ for his pale complexion and poor health, supposedly brought on by excessive study. See Aristophanes, Aves, 1564; Philostratus, Vitae sophistarum, 1.482.


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    • flying mammals: bat [25F28(BAT)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • study and diversion [49A1] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • studying at night [49B4411] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Minyas' daughters changed into bats: having aroused Bacchus' anger by weaving instead of worshipping him, the daughters of Minyas, Leuconoe (Leucippe), Alcithoe and Arsippe, are changed into bats by the god (Ovid, Metamorphoses IV 399) [97CC7] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • male persons from classical history (with NAME) representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(CHAEREPHON)3] Search | Browse Iconclass

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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [o1v p210]

    Lascivia.

    Wantonness

    LXXI [=72] .

    Delicias, & mollitiem mus creditur albus
    Arguere, at ratio non sat aperta mihi est.[1]
    An quòd 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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