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with a trumpet in his mouth. Virgil describes him in the same manner on one of Æneas's ships. It was probably a common figure on their ancient vessels, for we meet with it too in Silius Italicus.
Hunc rehit immanis Triton, et cærula conchi
The Triton bears him, he, whose trumpet's sound
Ducitur et Libyæ puppis signata figuram
Sil. It. lib. 14:
I am apt to think, says Eugenius, from certain passages of the poets, that several ships made choice of some god or other for their guardians, as among the Roman catholics every vessel is recommended to the patronage of some particular saint. To give you an instance of two or three.
Est mihi sitque precor flave tutela Mineros
- Ov. de Tr. lib. 1. el. 10. Numen erat celse puppis vicina Dione. Sil. Ir. lib. 14.
Hammon numen erat Libycæ gentile carinæ,
The poop great Ammon, Libya's god, display'd,
The figure of the deity was very large, as I have seen it on other medals, as well as this you have shown us, and stood on one end of the vessel that it patronised, This may give us an image of a very beautiful circumstance that we meet with in a couple of wrecks de scribed by Silius Italicus and Persius.
- Subito cum pondere victus
Sil. It. lib. 14.
Sunk by a weight so dreadful down she goes,
- Trabe rupta Bruttia sasa
PERS. Sat. 6.
My friend is shipwreck'd on the Brutian strand,
You will think, perhaps, I carry my conjectures too far, if I tell you that I fancy they are these kind of gods that Horace mentions in his allegorical' vessel, which was so broken and shattered to pieces; for I am apt to think that integra relates to the gods as well as the lintea.
Non tibi sunt integra lintea,
And thou hast none to hear thy cry,
When billows rage, and winds are high. Mr. CREECH.
Since we are engaged so far in the Roman shipping, says Philander, I'll here show you a medal* that has on
* Fig. 2. .
its reverse a rostrum with three teeth to it; whence Silius's trifidum rostrum and Virgil's rotrisque tridentibus, which, in some editions is stridentibus, the editor choosing rather to make a false quantity than to insert a word that he did not know the meaning of. Flaccus gives us a rostrum of the same make.
Volat immissis cava pinus habenis
. VAL. Flac. Arg. lib. 1. A ship-carpenter of old Rome, says Cynthio, could not have talked more judiciously. I am afraid, if we let you alone, you will find out every plank and rope about the vessel, among the Latin poets. Let us now, if you please, go to the next medal.
The next, says Philander, is a pair of scales*, which we meet with on several old coins. They are commonly interpreted as an emblem of the emperor's justice. But why may not we suppose that they allude sometimes to the Balance in the heavens, which was the reigning constellation of Rome and Italy? Whether it be so or no, they are capable, methinks, of receiving a nobler interpretation than what is commonly put on them, if we suppose the thought of the reverse to be the same as that in Manilius.
Hesperiam sua Libra tenet, quâ condita Roma
. MANIL. lib. 4.
The thunderbolt is a reverse of Augustus *. We see it used by the greatest poet of the same age to express a terrible and irresistible force in battle, which is probably the meaning of it on this medal, for, in another place, the same poet applies the same metaphor to Augustus's person.
Duo fulmini belli "
Virg. Æn. lib. 6.
I have sometimes wondered, says Eugenius, why the Latin poets so frequently give the epithets of trifidum and trisulcum to the thunderbolt. I am now persuaded they took it from the sculptors and painters that lived before them, and had generally given it three forks, as in the present figure. Virgil insists on the number three in its description, and seems to hint at the wings we see on it. He has worked up such a noise and terror in the composition of his thunderbolt as cannot be expressed by a pencil or graving tool.
Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosa.
And fears are added, and avenging flame. Mr.DRYDEN. Our next reverse is an oaken garland t, which we find on abundance of imperial coins. I shall not here multiply quotations to show that the garland of oak
was the reward of such as had saved the life of a citizen, but will you give a passage out of Claudian, where the compliment to Stilico is the same, that we have here on the medal. I question not but the old coins gave the thought to the poet.
Mos erat in veterum castris, ut tempora quercu
CLAUD. de Laud. Stil. lib. 3.
Of old, when in the war's tumultuous strife
What groves, what woods, shall furnish crowns for thee? It is not to be supposed that the emperor had actually covered a Roman in battle. It is enough that he had driven out a tyrant, gained a victory, or restored justice; for, in any of these, or the like, cases, he may very well be said to have saved the life of a citizen, and by consequence entitled to the reward of it. Accordingly, we find Virgil distributing his oaken garlands to those that had enlarged or strengthened the doininions of Rome; as we may learn froin Statius, that the statue of Curtius, who had sacrificed himself for the good of the people, had the head surrounded with the same kind of ornament.
Atque umbrata gerunt civili tempora quercu.
Ipse loci custos, cujus sacrata vorago,