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In Adulari nescientem.

Unable to flatter

Scire cupis dominos toties cur Thessalis ora[1]
Mutet, & ut varios quaerat habere duces.
Nescit adulari, cuiquamve obtrudere palpum,[2]
Regia quem morem principis omnis habet.
Sed veluti ingenuus sonipes, dorso excutit omnem,
Qui moderari ipsum nesciat Hippocomon.[3]
Nec saevire tamen domino fas. Ultio sola est
Dura ferum ut iubeat ferre lupata magis.[4]

Do you want to know why the land of Thessaly changes its overlords so often, how it comes about that it looks for different leaders? - It does not know how to flatter, or how to stroke anyone the right way, the behaviour every prince’s court displays. Like a noble stallion, it throws from its back every horseman who does not know how to control it. Nor may the master treat the horse savagely: his only course of action is to make the creature wear a harsher bit with jagged teeth.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F4v f31v]

Das XLV.

In den so nit kan schmeichlen.

Du wölst gern wissen warumb das Landt
So Thessalia wirt genannt
So offt verendert seine Herrn
Und hat allzeit ander Fürsten gern
Es kan nicht schmeichlen noch hoffieren
Noch jemand krauwn oder schmieren
Wie dann die gmein Practic jetzt zmal
Ist an der Fürsten Höffen all
Sonder ist gleich eim mutign Pferdt
Das nicht ein jeden Reiter gwert
Und wirfft in auß dem Sattel huy
Der nit weist wie es zu meistern sey
Der Herr drumb uber es nit wüt
Sonder kan sich rechen in güt
Legt im ein scharff Gebiß ins Maul
Darbey helt er den freydigen Gaul.


1.  In later editions, Thessaly is replaced with Insubris ora, ‘land of the Insubres’, i.e. the plain of Milan, Alciato’s home area. Various Gallic tribes, including the Insubres, inhabited this region in the Classical period. Cf. [A67a003], and see Alciato, Historia Mediolanensis col.6.

2.  ‘stroke...the right way’. See Erasmus, Adagia 2527, Obtrudere palpum.

3.  ‘horseman, groom’. See Plato, Politicus 261d for the image of the ruler as supervisor of a stud of horses.

4.  ‘a harsher bit with jagged teeth’. A jagged-toothed bit was used on intractable horses, and also in breaking-in. See Erasmus, Parabolae p.136: the horse despises a smooth bit.

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Relating to the text:

  • virtues of the ruler [44B10] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • family of a ruler, and court [44B15] 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) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A7(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Sincerity; 'Purità et Sincerità d'animo', 'Sincerità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57A612(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Flattery; 'Adulatione' (Ripa) [57AA6121] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Revenge, Requital, Retaliation; 'Vendetta' (Ripa) [57AA741] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Praise, Approbation, Approval; 'Lode' (Ripa) [57B1] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(THESSALY)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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