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Les nobles, d’ancienne race.[1]

Atheniens portoyent robes egales
A boucles d’or joinctes, & cigales.
Seigneurs Rommains la pantouphle arondie
En croissant l’une [=lune] , mode d’Archadie:[2]
Les nobles gens telles marques portoient,[3]
Pour demonstrer que du lieu nez estoient.

Les Cigales naissent de terre, & en celle mesme terre vivent,
chantent, & meurent sans voler aultre part. La lune aussi naist
tous les mois, & croist, en son mesme ciel. Parquoy deux grans,
& excellens peuples Atheniens en Grece. portoient la cigale
en leur robe, les Rommains le croissant en leurs souliers, par ce
la, se voulans dire nobles d’ancienne race, nez du lieu, non estran
giers, cruz, & tousjours croissans, au mesme lieu de leur origine.


1. In the 1549 French edition, this emblem has no woodcut.

2. ‘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.

3. 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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