Latin text | English text | Welcome
Commentary on Emblem 21To wrap an eel in a fig-leaf is explained in Erasmus' Adages 1.4.95 (Folio ficulno tenes anguillam): "A fig-leaf has a rough surface ... and [is] for that reason perfectly adapted for keeping hold of a slippery eel." The expression became a proverb in English (Tilley E 62 "Hold fast an eel with a fig-leaf"). More in Aristotle History of Animals 6.16 and Caelius Rhodiginus 18.1.
There is a French translation of this emblem by Lefevre, conventionally numbered 60 in the unpaged edition of Paris: Wechel, 1536 at the Glasgow University emblem site. You may compare the Latin and French in frames.
Last modified 25 November 1997