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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A4r p7]

PREMIER LIVRE DES
Emblemes d’Alciat.

Au Duc de Milan.

I

Duc de Milan, ton escusson
Met hors d’un serpent l’enfant nud,[1]
Alexandre en telle façon
Du ciel croyoit estre venu:[2]
Car sa mere avoit soustenu
Jupiter, faict serpent nouveau:[3]
Cela pouvoit estre advenu,
Pallas vint bien de son cerveau.[4]

commentaires.

Icy sont descrites les armoiries des Ducs de Mi-
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A4v p.8] lan
: sçavoir est un petit enfant issant de la gueule d’un
serpent: que lon blasonne, d’argent, à la guyure d’a-
zur, lissant de gueules. Ces armoiries sont prisees à
cause de leur ancienneté, & aussi à cause de l’excel-
lence du premier inventeur. Car Alexandre le Grand
fit battre de la monnoye où cecyestoit representé, se
voulant dire estre descendu du ciel: d’autant qu’O-
lympias
sa mere avoit dit publiquement, qu’elle ne
l’avoit pas conceu de Phillipes son mari, mais d’un
serpent de grandeur excessive. On dit qu’il y a une
sorte de serpents qui fait ses petits par la bouche. Les
poëtes tiennent que Pallas, qu’on appelle aussi, Miner-
ve, nasquit de la teste de Jupiter: Et la nomment, La
Deesse de sapience, inventrice des arts & sciences:
pource (disent quelques uns) qu’elle n’a point eu de
mere.

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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  • (story of) Alexander the Great representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(ALEXANDER THE GREAT)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • birth of Minerva; she emerges fully armed from Jupiter's head [92C211] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • early life, infancy, upbringing of Alexander the Great [98B(ALEXANDER THE GREAT)1] 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
  • other sovereign (with TITLE) [44B114(DUKE)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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