Switch to Dual Emblem Display

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A2r f2r]

AD ILLUSTRISSIMUM MAXI-
MILIANUM DUCEM MEDIOLANENSEM

super insigni Ducatus Me-
diolanensis
.

To the most illustrious Maximilian, Duke of Milan. The arms of the Duchy of Milan

Emblema. i.

Exiliens infans sinuosi è faucibus anguis,
Est gentilitiis nobile stemma tuis[1].
Talia Pellaeum gessisse nomismata regem[2]
Vidimus, hísque suum concelebrasse genus:
Dum se Ammone satum[3], matrem anguis imagine lusam,
Divini & sobolem seminis esse docet:
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?

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A2v f2v]

Proponitur hic insigne Ducatus Mediolanensis:
quo in signo conspicitur serpens caeruleus in aurea
planitie infantem rubore tinctum evomens. Id
schema fingit Alciatus acceptum ab Alexandro
Magno
, qui se Iove Ammone natum praedicabat.
Id verò ne absurdum putetur, ait serpentes quos-
dam ore parere: & apud poëtas, Minervam Iovis
filiam, è patris cerebro prosiliisse. Serpens quidem
in hieroglyphicis, pro sapientiae symbolo usurpari
palam est. Itaque hoc stemmate representatur di-
vina progenies, antiqua & illustris nobilitas è sano
sapientiae capite profecta.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A3r f3r]

A MAXIMILIAN TRES-
illustre Duc de Milan.

Blason des armoiries
Milanoises.

Voicy, Duc de Milan, tes nobles armoiries
De tes predecesseurs heureusement choisies:
C’est que ce bel escu un jeune enfant comprent
Issant hors du gosier d’un tortueux serpent:
De mesme lisons nous que le grand Alexandre
Porta telle devise, en voulant faire entendre
Sa race estre celeste, & qu’il estoit venu
De Jupiter Ammon, tousjours pour tel tenu,
Masquant sa deité de forme serpentine,
Sa mere enceinte estant de semence divine.
Il luy sort de la gueulle: & ainsi que l’on dit
Quelque certain serpent met dehors son petit:
Ou, est ce point d’autant que Pallas sage & forte
Du chef de Jupiter sortit en mesme sorte?

Icy est proposee l’armoirie du Duché
de Milan. En cest escusson se voit de-
peint un serpent d’Azur, en champ d’or, qui
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A3v f3v]vomit un enfant comme teint en sang. Al-
ciat
nous faict entendre que ceste devise a
este prinse d’Alexandre le grand, qui se van-
toit estre fils de Jupiter Ammon: Et afin que
cecy ne semble absurde, il dit que quelques
serpens serpentent par la gorge, & comme
disent les Poëtes, Minerve a esté nee du cer-
veau de son pere. De vray le serpent est
prins pour une marque de sapience, és let-
tres hieroglyphiques. Donques en ceste
armoirie est representee une race divine,
une ancienne & illustre noblesse, comme
venant du chef de sapience.

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.



Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

Relating to the text:


Hint: You can turn translations and name underlining on or off using the preferences page.

 

Back to top