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Commentary on Emblem 26

This emblem first appeared in the last authorized edition (Lyons 1550).

The commentators have noted that a better title might be "tutela et salus" or "Guardianship and safety", stressing the moral sense of "grass" as it is explained in the poem. Q. Fabius Maximus Verrucosus (3rd c BCE) known as Cunctator or "the delayer" held off Hannibal's invasions by refusing immediate and direct contact with the enemy; for this he was crowned with a garland of grasses ( ). Glaucus' eating of the magic herb is described in Book 13 of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Here the "riddling" nature ("his nodis") of the emblem is actually made the subject of its own unravelling. The emblem is unusual in that its exemplifications are drawn from three distinct areas: 1) political history, 2) natural history, 3) mythology. Usually only one of these suffices.

Last modified 1 December 1996