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Receiv'd her Isis to divine abodes, And rank'd her dogs deform’d, with Roman gods? Mr. Rowe. The bird before her is the Egyptian ibis. This figure however does not represent the living bird, but rather an idol of it, as one may guess by the pedestal it stands upon, for the Egyptians worshipped it as a god.
Quis nescit, Volusi Bithynice, qualia demens
PRUDENTIUS, Pas. Romani. We have Mauritania* on the fifth medal, leading a horse with something like a thread, for where there is a bridle in old coins you see it much more distinctly. In her other hand she holds a switch. We have the design of this medal in the following descriptions that celebrate the Moors and Numidians, inhabitants of Mauritania, for their horsemanship.
Hic passim exultant Numidæ, gens inscia freni:
SIL. It. lib. 1,
On his hot steed, unus'd to curb or reign,
* Fig. 5.
An Mauri fremitum raucosque repulsus
CLAUD. de Bel. Gildon,
A mob of men, a martial multitude.
VIRG. Æn. lib. 3.
From Africa we will cross over into Spain. There are learned medalists that tell us, the rabbit*, which you see before her feet, may signify either the great multitude of these animals that are found in Spain, or perhaps the several mines that are wrought within the bowels of that country, the Latin word Cuniculus signifying either a rabbit or a mine. But these gentlemen do not consider, that it is not the word but the figure that appears on the medal. Cuniculus may stand for a rabbit or a mine, but the picture of a rabbit is not the picture of a mine. A pun can be no more engraven than it can be translated. When the word is construed into its idea, the double meaning vanishes. The figure therefore before us means a real rabbit, which is there found in vast multitudes.
* Fig. 6.
Cuniculosæ Celtiberiæ fili.
CATAL. in Egnatium. The olive branch tells us, it is a country that abounds in olives, as it is for this reason that Člaudian in his description of Spain binds an olive branch about her head.
Glaucis tum prima Minervæ
CLAUD. de Laud. Stil. lib.2:
Thus Spain, whose brows the olive wreaths infold,
And o'er her robe a Tagus streams in gold. Martial has given us the like figure of one of the greatest rivers in Spain.
Bætis oliviferá crinem redimite corona,
Aurea qui nitidis vellera tingis aquis:
Fair Bætis! olives wreath thy azure locks;
While Bacchus wine bestows, and Pallas oil.
Tu decem sanctos revehes et octo,
PRUDENT. Hymn. 4.
France*, you see, has a sheep by her, not only as a sacrifice, but to show that the riches of the country consisted chiefly in flocks and pasturage. Thus Horace mentioning the commodities of different countries,
Quanquam nec Calabræ mella ferunt apes,
HOR. Od. 16. lib. 3. hough no Calabrian bees do give heir grateful tribute to my hive;
* Fig. 7.
No wines, by rich Campania sent,
Mr. Creech. She carries on her shoulders the sagulum that Virgil speaks of as the habit of the ancient Gauls.
Aurea cæsaries ollis, atque aurea vestis:
VIRG. Æn. lib. 8.
She is drawn in a posture of sacrificing for the safe arrival of the emperor, as we may learn from the inscription. We find in the several medals that were struck on Adrian's progress through the empire, that, at his arrival, they offered a sacrifice to the gods for the reception of so great a blessing. Horace mentions this custom.
Tun meæ (si quid loquar audiendum)
Hor. od. 2. lib. 4.
My voice shall sound through Rome:
Of my small stock of kine
Mr. CREECH. Italy * has a cornu-copia in her hand, to denote her fruitfulness;
-magna parens frugum Saturnia tellus. Virg. Georg. 3. and a crown of towers on her head, to figure out the many towns and cities that stand upon her. Lucan has given her the like ornament, where he represents her addressing herself to Julius Cæsar.
* Fig. 8,
Ingens visa duci patria trepidantis Imago:
obscuram vultu mæstissima noctem,
Lucan. lib. 1.
Then groaning thus the mournful silence broke. Mr. RowE. She holds a sceptre in her other hand, and sits on a globe of the heavens, to show that she is the sovereign of nations, and that all the influences of the sun and stars fall on her dominions. Claudian makes the same compliment to Rome. Ipsa triunphatis quæ possidet æthera regnis.
Claud. in Prob. et Olyb. Cons.
Nil nisi Romanum quod tueatur hubet. Ov. de Fast. lib. 1.
Wherever earth extends, or oceans roll. The picture that Claudian makes of Rome, one would think, was copied from the next medal *.
Innuptæ ritus imitata Minervæ : Nam neque cæsariem crinali stringere cultu, Colla nec ornatu patitur mollire retorto; Dextrum nuda latus, niveos exerta lacertos, Audacem retegit mammam, laxumque coercens
* Fig. 9.