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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [n3r p197]

In nothos.

Bastards

XXVI.

Herculeos spurii semper celebretis honores:
Nam vestri princeps ordinis ille fuit.[1]
Nec prius esse deus potuit,[2] qum sugeret infans
Lac, sibi quod fraudis nescia Iuno dabat.[3]

Bastards, you should always celebrate the honours of Hercules, for he was the chief of your line. He could not become a god until as a babe he sucked the milk which Juno was giving him, unaware that she was being tricked.

Notes:

1. Hercules was fathered by Jupiter on Alcmene, wife of Amphitryon of Thebes, and became his father’s favourite. Juno, wife of Jupiter, in jealousy pursued Hercules with implacable hatred.

2. After all his Labours (see previous emblem) and other exploits, Hercules, by the will of Jupiter, was received among the gods. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9.156ff; Cicero, De officiis, 3.25.

3. For the story of Juno tricked by Jupiter into suckling the loathed Hercules see Pausanias, 9.25.2. This divine milk apparently counteracted Hercules’ illegitimate birth which otherwise disqualified him for heaven. See Erasmus, Adagia, 2070 (Ad Cynosarges).


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    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [L4v p168]

    Les douze labeurs de Hercules,[1]
    par Allegorie.

    Plus Eloquence, & moins les forces font.
    Vains argumens des Sophistes confond.
    Rage, ou fureur, plus que vertu n’est forte,
    Richesse, honneur, Sapience porte.
    De rapt ne vit: mais desprise avarice.
    Despoille, & vinct foeminine malice.
    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [L5r p169]Les espritz orne, & les purge d’ordure.
    Faict illicite, & les meschantz n’endure,
    Fierte barbare en fin elle punit,
    Contre ennemis en vertu soy unit.
    Biens estrangiers en son pays apporte.
    Vole en renom, & jamais n’est morte.

    Par Hercules (qui fut homme magna-
    nime, & eloquent) est signifie vertueu
    se eloquence avec sagesse, & par les dou-
    ze grandz labeurs qu’il accomplit, sont
    allegoricquement entendues les choses
    cy dessus escriptes.

    Notes:

    1. Hercules was accredited with many victories over men and monsters, but eventually a list of twelve major ones was compiled. See e.g. Anthologia Graeca, 16.92. These ‘Labours’ he carried out at the behest of Eurystheus, incited by Hera (see next emblem, note 2). Alciato’s epigram follows this order: i. the Nemean lion; ii. the Hydra; iii. the Erymanthean boar; iv. the golden-antlered Arcadian stag; v. the birds of the Stymphalian Marsh; vi. the belt of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons; vii. the Augean stables; viii. the Cretan bull; ix. the mares of Diomedes; x. the cattle of the three-bodied giant Geryones (see Emblem 38 [FALb038]); xi. the golden apples of the Hesperides; and xii. the three-headed watchdog Cerberus. The Labours were given various allegorical interpretations both in antiquity and later, and Hercules himself becomes a wise man and philosopher, overcoming folly and sin. See Emblem 170 ([FALb170]).


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