Friday, October 8, 2010

Illustrated: Divitiae et Homines Duo


M0995 - M0996 - M0997

996. Divitiae et Homines Duo. Quidam, inopia perditus, statuit mori. Laqueum aere quod superfuit paravit, collo alligavit, et clavum semirutae domus parieti fixit, unde pendens litteram longam ex se faceret. At cum paries, ponderi sustinendo impar, in ruinam propensus foret, ultro secutus est et magnam auri copiam simul effudit. Ille, qui iam cogitaret nihil praeter nigras Erebi umbras, ubi se videt sic deiectum et illaesum, nodo tenaci se eximit, laqueum abiicit, munus fortunae oblatum recolligit, et lares suos repetit, gravis onere dulci. Interea, avarus qui hunc ipsum thesaurum ibidem locaverat advenit et, damno cognito, victus et exterritus ait, “Heu! An feram meos amores mihi sublatos fuisse vivamque? Quid prodest misero vivere?” Visoque laqueo, se suspendit et perit.

Thesaurus et Homines Duo

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M0996 (not in Perry). Source: Desbillons 8.14 (adapted into prose). You can also find the story told in an elegant epigram by Ausonius: Thesauro invento qui limina mortis inibat, / Liquit ovans laqueum, quo periturus erat; / At qui, quod terrae abdiderat, non repperit aurum, / Quem laqueum invenit nexuit, et periit. This fable is not in Perry’s catalog; it appears original to Desbillons, as he cites no source. In Greek mythology, Erebus was another name for Hades, the shadowy land of the dead. To reach Erebus, the dead had to cross the river Styx.

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