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LXIX [=70] .

Alceam veteres caudam dixere leonis.
Qua stimulante iras concipit ille graves.
Lutea cm surgit bilis, crudescit & atro
Felle dolor, furias excitat indomitas.[1]

The ancients called the lion’s tail alcaea, for under its stimulus he takes on dreadful fury. When the yellow bile rises and his temper grows savage with the black gall, the tail incites his indomitable rage.


1. The Greek word ἀλκαία was supposedly derived from ἀλκή ‘strength’ (see emblem 286, n.3 [A56a286]). The Etymologicum Magnum, an ancient Greek lexicon, defines ἀλκαία as ‘properly the tail of the lion, because it urges him on to strength (ἀλκή)’. Pliny, Natural History, 8.16.49, describes how the lion’s tail lashes with increasing fury and spurs him on. See also Aelian, De natura animalium, 5.39.

Iconclass Keywords

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    Relating to the text:

    • beasts of prey, predatory animals: lion (+ silent means of communication of animal(s): wagging of tail etc.) [25F23(LION)(+491)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • tail of an animal «« QUEUE OF KEY (343) TO 34(+9) zoological aspects of animals ~ man and animal [34(+9343)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Rage, Anger (+ emblematical representation of oddslot concept) [56E2(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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