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Eloquentia fortitudine praestantior.[1]

Eloquence superior to strength

Arcum laeva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam
Contegit & Nemees, corpora nuda Leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? non convenit illud
Quod vetus & senio tempora cana gerit.
Quid quod lingua illi levibus traiecta cathenis
Queis fissa facileis allicit aure viros?
Anne quod Alciden lingua non robore Galli,
Praestantem populis iura dedisse ferunt?
Cedunt arma togae,[2] & quamvis durissima corda,
Eloquio pollens ad sua vota trahit.

His left hand holds a bow, his right hand a stout club, the lion of Nemea clothes his bare body. So this is a figure of Hercules. But he is old and his temples grizzled with age - that does not fit. What of the fact that his tongue has light chains passing through it, which are attached to men’s pierced ears, and by them he draws them unresisting along? The reason is surely that the Gauls say that Alceus’ descendant excelled in eloquence rather than might and gave laws to the nations. - Weapons yield to the arts of peace, and even the hardest of hearts the skilled speaker can lead where he will.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D2v f13v]


Die wolberedtheit ubertrifft die künheit
und sterck.

In der lincken ein Bogen hat
In der rechten ein rauwer Kolb staht
An seinem Leib tregt er so bloß
Des Nemeischn Löwen Haut groß
Also ward Hercules gemalt
Fürwar es ist nit sein recht gstalt
Dann er ist alt, und umb sein Kopff
tregt er ein grauwen weissen schopff
Was bdeuts das an seiner Zungen hangt
Mit vilen gleichn ein Kettin langt
Welche in viler Mann und Leut
Oren thut reichn und hafften bleit
Hat nit Alcides mit seiner Zungn
Und nit mit seiner sterck bezwungn
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D3r f14r] Die alten starcken Völckern Galln
Den ir recht, wie dsag, gaben alln
Der Krieg und dWaffen weichen beid
Dem Burgerlichen Rock und Kleid
Und ob man schon find Hertzen hert
Werden sie doch durch dred verkert.


1.  This epigram is closely based on Lucian’s essay, The Gallic Hercules.

2.  Cf. Cicero’s notorious line, Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea linguae, ‘Let weapons yield to the arts of peace, let laurels yield to eloquence’ (quoted in Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 11.1.24).

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Iconclass Keywords

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Relating to the text:

  • extinct, 'historical' peoples (with NAME) [32B2(GAULS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • 'litterae', symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ literature; 'Lettere' (Ripa) [48C90] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Power of Eloquence; 'Forza sottoposta all'Eloquenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosità dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virtù del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass

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