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Louer ce qui n’est lour.

XXXVI.

Les Elephans que sceut bailler
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [D3v p54] Antioque en champ conflictoire,[1]
Tant ardamment vont batailler,
Que sur Galates eut victoire.
Lors telle beste pour memoire
Il peind, honteux que peu honneste
Sa victoire est par telle beste:
Mais joyeux d’en avoir la gloire.

commentaires.

Antioque, Roy de Syrie, faisant dessein de sur-
monter les Galates, assembla une grande armee, &
bon nombre d’Elephans. Les Galates, ayans d’abor-
dee veu leurs ennemis, qui n’estoyent qu’ demi ar-
ms, ne doutans point de leur victoire, choquerent fu-
rieusement les gents d’Antioque, qui estoyent prests d’e-
stre desfaicts a plate cousture, s’il ne se fust advis de
faire marcher les elephans: lesquels espouvanterent
de telle faon les chevaux des Galates, qu’ils en prin-
drent la fuite, & furent entierement vaincus. Or
comme, selon la coustume, Antioque vouloit dresser
un trophee, pour marques de sa victoire, il fit peindre
un elephant, baillant plustost l’honneur de la victoire
ces bestes, que de le prendre pour soy (La premiere
fois que l’Italie vid des elephans, ce fut a la guerre
de Pyrrhus, Roy des Epirotes.) Comme les soldats
d’Antioque se glorifioyent, cause de la victoire: le
Roy leur dit, Nous estions perdus, si les elephans, be-
stes sales & lourdes, ne nous eussent delivrs. D’au-
tant donc que je me resjoui pour avoir eu la victoire,
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [D4r p55] autant ay je de vergongne & de honte, pour l’avoir
eu par le moyen que je l’ay eu. Les Galates sont un
peuple d’Asie la mineur. Celle region s’appelloit au-
tresfois Gallograecia, & estoit une colonne des ancien
Gaulois. C’est a eux que S. Paul a escrit une epistre.

Notes:

1. For this incident, see Lucian, Zeuxis sive Antiochus 8-11. In 276 BC Antiochus I won against fearful odds by directing his sixteen elephants against the Galatian horsemen and scythed chariots. Not only did the horses turn in panic and cause chaos among their own infantry, but the elephants came on behind, tossing, goring and trampling. Although he had won an overwhelming victory, Antiochus did not consider it a matter for congratulation.


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In illaudata laudantes.

Praising the wrong things

EMBLEMA CXXIII.

Ingentes Galatm semermi milite turmas,
Spem praeter trepidus fuderat Antiochus:[1]
Lucarum cm saeva boum vis,[2] ira, proboscis,[3]
Tum primm[4] hostiles corripuisset equos.
Ergo trophaea locans Elephantis imagine pinxit,
Insuper & sociis, Occideramus, ait,
Bellua servasset ni nos foedissima barrus:
Ut superasse iuvat, sic superasse pudet.

Antiochus, in spite of his fears, had beyond all expectation routed the huge squadrons of Galatians with his light-armed troops, when the savage might of elephants, their raging and their trunks, for the first time ever fell upon the enemy’s cavalry. So when he set up the trophy, he adorned it with the picture of an elephant and furthermore said to his troops: ‘We would have fallen, if this revolting beast, the elephant, had not preserved us. Pleasing as it is to conquer, it is galling to conquer like this’.

Notes:

1. For this incident, see Lucian, Zeuxis sive Antiochus 8-11. In 276 BC Antiochus I won against fearful odds by directing his sixteen elephants against the Galatian horsemen and scythed chariots. Not only did the horses turn in panic and cause chaos among their own infantry, but the elephants came on behind, tossing, goring and trampling. Although he had won an overwhelming victory, Antiochus did not consider it a matter for congratulation.

2. ‘Might of elephants’, lit. ‘might of Lucanian cattle’, supposedly so called by the Romans because they first saw these strange beasts in Lucania in south Italy, when King Pyrrhus of Epirus made use of them in his defeat of the Romans at the battle of Heraclea in 280 BC. See Pliny, Natural History 8.6.16.

3. Some editions give dira proboscis, ‘their terrible trunk’.

4. ‘For the first time ever’. The Galatians, Celtic tribes who had invaded Asia Minor, had never seen elephants before. Elephants had often been used in battle on other occasions.


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