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Cuculi.

Cuckoos

EMBLEMA LX.

Ruricolas, agreste genus, plerique cucullos
Cur vocitent, quaenam prodita caussa fuit?[1]
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [S2v p276]Vere novo cantat Coccyx, quo tempore vites
Qui non absolvit, iure vocatur iners.
Fert ova in nidos alienos, qualiter ille,
Cui thalamum prodit uxor adulterio.

Whatever explanation has been given for the custom of calling country-dwellers, that rustic race, ‘cuckoos’? - When spring is new, the cuckoo calls, and anyone who has not pruned his vines by this time is rightly blamed for being idle. The cuckoo desposits its eggs in other birds’ nests, like the man on whose account a wife betrays her marriage bed in adultery.

Notes:

1.  See Pliny, Natural History, 18.66.249, and Horace, Satires, 1.7.31, for the use of the word ‘cuckoo’ as term of mockery for the idle man who has failed to finish pruning his vines before the cuckoo is heard calling.


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Vespertilio.

The bat

Emblema lxi.

Assumpsisse suum volucri ex Mineide nomen,[1]
Socraticum autores Chaerephoonta 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.

CHaerephon Atheniensis, Socratis discipulus tam
pertinaciter libris incubuit, ut nocturnis lucu-
brationibus extenuatus maximum pallorem ma-
ciémque contraxerit, adeò ut vulgari ioco Noctua,
aut ut aliis placet, Vespertilio nominaretur. Id pro-
verbii legere est apud Aristophanem, in macilen-
tum & pallore confectum.

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Le Chauvesouris.

ON dit que Cherephon par un brocard commun
Chauvesouris fut dit & nommé d’un chacun:
Possible que la voix petite, & le visage
Un peu brun, ont donné ce blasme au personnage.

CHerephon Athenien, disciple de So-
crates
, estudia si fort opiniastrement,
de maniere qu’estant extenué des veilles no-
cturnes, devint si palle & sec, qu’on l’appel-
la chouette, ou chauvesouris, par un soubri-
quet. C’est un proverbe qui se treuve dans
Aristophane, contre un qui est tout extenué
& palle.

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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  • 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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