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Alciato's Book of Emblems

Emblem 197

On a statue to modesty

When betrothed to Ulysses, Penelope wanted to follow him, but that her father Icarius wished to have it otherwise. The former offers her Ithaca, the latter Sparta. The virgin remains anxious. Her father urges one course, the love of man and woman urges another. Therefore she sits veiling her face, and covers her eyes -- they were the signs of virginal modesty. In them Icarius saw that Ulysses was preferred to him, and built an altar to modesty in the form you see.