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Les Nobles, d’ancienne race.

Atheniens portoient robes egales
A boucles d’or joinctes, & à cigales.
Seigneurs Rommains la pantouphle arondie
En croissant lune, à mode d’Archadie:[1]
Les nobles gens telles marcques portoient,[2]
Pour demonstrer que du lieu néz estoient.

Les Cigales naissent de terre, & en celle
mesme terre vivent, chantent, & meurent
sans voler aultrepart. La lune aussi naist
tous les mois, & croist, en son mesme ciel.
Parquoy deux grandz, & excellens peuples
Atheniens en Graece. Portoient la cigale en
leur robe, les Rommains le croissant en leurs
souliers, par cela se voulans dire nobles d’an-
cienne race, nez du lieu, non estrangiers,
créuz, & tousjours croissans, au mesme lieu
de leur origine.


1.  ‘in Arcadian fashion’. The Arcadians wore crescent-shaped ornaments because they believed themselves to be the first men on earth and older than the moon. See Ovid, Fastii, 2.290. Evander, who came from Arcadia, was the founder of the primitive settlement on the Palatine hill which preceded Romulus’ Rome. See Vergil, Aeneid, 8.; Plutarch, Quaestiones Romanae,76.

2.   i.e. members of the inner circle of noble Roman families claiming descent from the first senators (patres), one hundred in number, appointed by Romulus, founder and first ruler of Rome. These patrician families wore a distinctive black boot with a crescent-shaped ornament. Those members who achieved high political office wore similar red boots, calcei mullei, so called because their colour was like that of a mullet (according to Isidore, Etymologiae (Origines), 19.34.4 and 10).

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