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Emblemas de Alciato.

The emblems of Alciato.

AD MAXIMILIANUM DU-
cem Mediolanensem
.

To Maximilian, Duke of Milan.

Emblema Prima.

Exiliens infans sinuosi è faucibus anguis
Est gentilitiis nobile stemma tuis[1].
Talia Pellaeum gessisse nomismata regem[2]
Vidimus, hisque suum concelebrasse genus.
Dum se Ammone satum[3], matrem anguis imagine lusam,
Divini & sobolem seminis esse docet.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A6r f6r]Ore exit, tradunt sic quosdam enitier angues[4].
An quia sic Pallas de capite orta Iovis[5]?

An infant bursting from the maw of a coiling serpent marks the noble lineage of your clan. We have observed that the Pellaean king had coinage with such a device and by it celebrated his own descent, proclaiming that he was begotten of Ammon, that his mother was beguiled by the form of a snake and the child was the offspring of divine seed. The infant emerges from the mouth. They say that some snakes come to birth that way. Or is it because Pallas sprang like this from the head of Jove?

Notes:

1.  The Sforza family had ruled Milan since 1450, having assumed power through marriage (some said fraudulently) to a Visconti heiress, and taken their symbol as their own. They were chased out in 1499 by the French, but restored several times.

2.  Pellaeum...regem, ‘the Pellaean king’, i.e. Alexander the Great, born at Pella in Macedonia.

3.  For the superhuman birth of Alexander, see e.g. Plutarch, Life of Alexander, 3 and 27: Jupiter in the form of a serpent mated with Olympias, wife of Philip of Macedon, and begat Alexander. Ammon, a north African deity, was identified with Zeus/Jupiter. When Alexander visited Ammon’s sanctuary, he was hailed as the son of the god.

4.  According to e.g.Pliny, Natural History 10.170, Aelian, De natura animalium 1.24, the viper, alone among snakes, produces not eggs but live young. See also Isidore, Etymologiae 12.4.10.

5.  The story of Pallas Athene springing complete and armed from the head of Jove is found in many sources; see e.g. Homer, Hymns 3.308ff; Hesiod, Theogony 923ff.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B1r p17]

Al Duque de Milan.

TERCETOS.

De la garganta un niño que saliesse
De una feroz culebra y enrroscada
Escudo à tu linage es bien que fuesse.[1]
Qu’en otro tal su madre ser burlada
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B1v p18] Mostrò el Pellęo, donde claro toca  [M]
De Juppiter ser casta señalada.
Y sale aqueste infante por la boca[2]
Por que este es el lugar por donde nazen
Unas de las culebras.[3] O revoca
La fabula de Pallas, à quien hazen
Que nazca del cerebro de su padre  [M]
Los doctos que alos doctos satisfazen.[4]

[Marginalia - link to text]Alexandro magno.

[Marginalia - link to text]Juppiter.

Notes:

1.  The Sforza family had ruled Milan since 1450, having assumed power through marriage (some said fraudulently) to a Visconti heiress, and taken their symbol as their own. They were chased out in 1499 by the French, but restored several times.

2.  For the superhuman birth of Alexander, see e.g. Plutarch, Life of Alexander, 3 and 27: Jupiter in the form of a serpent mated with Olympias, wife of Philip of Macedon, and begat Alexander. Ammon, a north African deity, was identified with Zeus/Jupiter. When Alexander visited Ammon’s sanctuary, he was hailed as the son of the god..

3.  According to e.g.Pliny, Natural History 10.170, Aelian, De natura animalium 1.24, the viper, alone among snakes, produces not eggs but live young. See also Isidore, Etymologiae 12.4.10.

4.  The story of Pallas Athene springing complete and armed from the head of Jove is found in many sources; see e.g. Homer, Hymns 3.308ff; Hesiod, Theogony 923ff.


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  • other sovereign (with TITLE) [44B114(DUKE)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • historical person (with NAME) other representations to which the NAME of a historical person may be attached (with NAME of person) [61B2(SFORZA, Massimiliano)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • early life, infancy, upbringing of Alexander the Great [98B(ALEXANDER THE GREAT)1] Search | Browse Iconclass

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