Chiron the Educator
Notes & Sources
Because this study concentrates on imagery expressive of Chiron's educative role, especially as it appears in early modern emblem books, other imagery of Chiron receives at most incidental mention, and much is omitted entirely, e.g., Chiron atop his tomb, Chiron as soul fetcher, the rustic Chiron disturbing the peace of the gods by neighing and galloping, the Chiron parodied on an ancient South Italian vase in the British Museum.
To date, the most broadly inclusive study of Chiron is Martin Vogel's Chiron der Kentaur mit der Kithara. 2 vols. (Bonn, Bad-Gotesberg: Verlag fur Systematische Musikwissenschaft, 1978). Although Vogel's interest centers on the association of Chiron with music and music teaching, he ranges over a wide variety of considerations, ancient and modern, drawing upon an enormous range of literature. Alciati's Chiron is discussed (I: 280-82) on the basis of Waldemar Deonna's essay (1959). See below, note 29. For the most comprehensive survey of relevant ancient literary sources and the fullest catalogue of ancient images of Chiron, see "Cheiron" in the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (Zürich/Münich: Artemis Verlag, 1986), vol. 3, part 1, pp. 237-48.
The SM numbers cited below refer to the Stirling Maxwell collection calls in the Special Collections of the Glasgow Univ. Library.
1. R. H. Allen, Star Names and Their Meanings (1899; 1965), pp. 148-151, 351-353. See also Emilie Savage-Smith and Ranee Katzenstein, The Leiden Aratea, Ancient Constellations in a Medieval Manuscript (Malibu, California: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988).
3. For attributes assigned to Chiron by ancient sources, see the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, "Chiron."(Basel). See also: A.F. von Pauly, Real-encyclopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1890), "Chiron," col. 3, pp. 2303-7; also see W. H. Roscher, Ausführliches Lexicon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, "Cheiron," vol. 1, c. 888-892; Daremberg-Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiqui-tés grecques et romaines (Graz, 1963), vol. I, 2, pp. 1105a-1106a, entry for "Chiron."
5. Sir Thomas Browne attributed centaurs to an error of perception, i.e., ancient spectators ignorant of horseback riding saw from afar "some young Thessalians" watering their horses, and not seeing the horses heads, mis-took rider and horse for one animal. Pseudodoxia Epidemica, vol. 2 in The Works of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1964), p. 32
6. W. R. Dawson, "Chiron the Centaur," Journal of the History of Medicine, vol. 4 (1949), pp. 267-275; J.D. Gilruth, "Chiron and his Pupil Asclepius," Annals of Medical History, series 3, vol. 1 (1939), pp. 158-176.
11. Frederick A.G. Beck, Album of Greek Education (Sydney: Cheiron Press, 1975); K.F. Johansen, "Achill bei Chiron" in Dragma, Martino P. Nilsson (Lund and Leipzig, 1939); D. Kemp-Lindemann,Darstellungen des Achilleus in griechischer und römischer Kunst (Bern and Frankfut/M.: Lang, 1975); see also P.V. C. Baur, Centaurs in Ancient Art (Berlin: Curtius, 1912), pp. 100-136. Interpretive discussion through this paragraph relies mainly on Beck and Johansen.
12. Nicolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. W. K. Marriott (Chicago, London, Toronto: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952), p. 25. The metaphor of the lion and the fox traces to Plutarch's account of Lysander. Martin Vogel, Chiron (I: 283) observes the Machiavellian linking of Chiron with prudentia and fortitudo in Antoine de La Faye's Emblemata et Epigrammata (Genevae, 1610).
13. Adagia, A Chironian Wound. II.VIII. xxi., LB 583. Cited from Virginia W. Callahan, "The Mirror of Princes...," Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Amstelodamensis: Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies, Amsterdam, 1973 (München: Fink, 1979), p. 187. Callahan infers from Erasmus's lines on Chiron and from Alciato's emblem "a repudiation of the Machiavellian notion that in the court of princes the combination of bestiality and humanitas is desirable" (p. 188).
14. SM 104. Johann Engel, Astrolabium (1488): "Homo robustus," N4v; "Homo studiosus," O2v; "Homo doctus," O3v; "Homo sapiens," P3v; "Homo doctus," also P3v. HAIN 1100. Proctor 1876. BM ii, p. 382. GW 1900. Pellechet 759. Another copy, SM 105, dated 1494, uncolored, and cuts are cruder than in SM 104.
15. See Andreas Alciatus, vol. 1: The Latin Emblems. Indices and Lists, ed. Peter M. Daly with Virginia W. Callahan, et al, and vol. 2: Emblems in Translation, ed. Peter M. Daly, assisted by Simon Cutler (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1985) ; Henry Green, Andrae Alciati Emblematum Fontes Quatuor...Published for the Holbein Society (Manchester and London, 1870); Henry Green, Andrea Alciati and His Books of Emblems (London, 1872; reprint, N.Y.: Burt Franklin, n.d.); Arthur Henkel and Albrecht Schöne, Emblemata: Handbuch zur Sinnbildkunst des xvi. und xvii. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart: Metzler Verlag, 1967), columns 1669-73; Mario Praz, Studies in Seventeenth-century Imagery, 2d ed. (Rome: Edizione di Storia e Letteratura, 1964), pp. 249-52; A Short Title Catalogue of the Emblem Books and Related Works in the Stirling Maxwell Collection of Glasgow Univ. Library (1499-1917), comp. Hester M. Black, ed. and rev. by David Weston (Glasgow Univ. Press, 1988).
17. The transformation has been described by David Weston in "William Stirling Maxwell and the European Emblem," exhibition catalogue, Glasgow Univ. Library, 1987. See esp. entries 15, 16, 17, and 20.
18. This observation raises other issues, of course, which involve questions concerning optimal interrelations of the pictorial and the verbal when the intent to create an emblematic image, not merely to illustrate a text. Problems of this theoretical kind have been ably explored by others, but fall out-side the purview of the present study. See, for example, Peter M. Daly, Literature in the light of the Emblem (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1979); William S. Heckscher and Karl-August Wirth, "Emblem. Emblem-buch," in Reallexicon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, columns 85-228; John Manning, "A Bibliographical Approach to the Illustrations in Six-teenth-Century Editions of Alciato's Emblemata," in Peter M. Daly, ed., Andrea Alciato and the Emblem Tradition: Essays in Honor of Virginia Woods Callahan (N.Y.: AMS Press, 1989); Daniel S. Russell, The Emblem and Device in France (Lexington, Kentucky: French Forum, 1985). Putting aside theoretical questions, however, and considering historical trend, John Manning's observation of changes in the illustrations of Alciato's Emblemata is appropos: "It would appear that a process of steady, and pro-gressive revisions characterizes the history of the illustrative matter in the editions of the Emblemata during the sixteenth century, until the pictura is brought into line with details specified in the author's text." Ibid., p.145.
24. Dictionnaire des Églises de France . . ., ed. Jacques Brosse, et al, 5 vols. (Paris: Éditions Robert Laffont, 1966-71). Although the descriptions of the figurative images represented in the churches do not comprise com-prehensive inventories, "centaures" and "Sagittaire" are often noted, particu-larly in structures with Romanesque origins.
25. The quotation is from J. U. Nicolson's rendering of the passage in Canterbury Tales in Modern English (N.Y.: Garden City, 1934), p. 35. Chaucer's own expression is thought to be: "And therfore at the kynges court my brother / Ech man for hymself ther is noon oother." See John M. Manly and Edith Rickert, The Text of the Canterbury Tales, vol. III, part 1 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1940), p. 54, lines 1181-82.
27. "Homere feinct son ieune Prince Achilles auoir esté nourry, & enseingné par le Centor Chiron, demy homme, & demy cheual sauuage, donnant à entendre que telz sont les gouuerneurs des Princes, Qui hommes humains se monstrent par deuant: quand soubz couleur de iuste guerre, d'equité, ou de bien public, ilz deuorent occultement la substance du peuple, estans par derriere plus inhumains que bestes sauuages. Donnans instruc-tion aulx Roys, & leur trouuans inuention de piller leurs subiectz, soubz quelque couleur, & tiltre honneste." This gloss is much abridged in the Lyon latin edition of 1566 [SM44].
28. Alciato had pressed the theme of rapacious financial ministers in the emblem, "Quod non capit Christus rapit fiscus," number 62 in the Wechel edition of 1542 [SM 25]. Konrad Hoffman discusses the emblem in "Alciato and the Historical Situation" in Daly, ed., Andrea Alciato, op. cit., esp., pp. 13-14. Stephen Rawles and Alison Adams, looking to the Lyon (1549) [SM 33] version of this emblem, have called attention to an account appearing in Bibliographie Lyonnaise (p. 158), which presents Aneau's alleged "Texte primitif," (i.e., the original gloss) and its replacement. The first version incisively indicts the despotic prince who exploits his people by knowingly appointing thievish ministers, allowing them to drain his subjects' resources, then condemning the ministers and confiscating their assets. The replacement goes far toward exculpating the prince. The same basic theme, including the motif of the sponge, appears in Guillaume Guéroult's emblem number 8, "Le Prince inique & le mauvais officier." Also related to the subject of avarice and corruption in governement is his emblem number 3, "Avarice est pernicieuse en la republic" (Le Premier Livre des Emblemes [Lyon: Arnoullet, 1550]).
29. This is from G. P. Goold's translation of Astronomica, a work by Marcus Manilius dating to Rome about the time of Tiberius's rule. See book 5 at 360, pp. 328-31, Latin and English facing (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1977). Waldemar Deonna provides a French translation (pp. 80-81) in his suggestive "Le Centaure, Conseil du Gouvernement et Gardian du Secret," Genava, N. S. vol. VII (Mai 1959): 73-87. The astrological line of interpretation based on Manilius allows another step toward understanding Alciato's Chiron. First, we note Hellenistic and Roman tendencies toward the assimilation of Chiron, Sagittarius, and Centaurus. Manilius' characterizations can then be seen contributing to the subsequent progress of the pattern. In line with this, Alciato's birch-wielding Chiron may be recognized as a further development, lending to Chiron the Centaurians' alleged skill in taming wild animals, e.g., "bringing a fiery horse to obey the reins," "soften tigers," etc. (Astron. 4.230ff). Similarly, Centaurians may "urge on asses with a goad" (Astron. 5.348). Additional linking of Centaurus and Chiron occurs in the line "Another knows how to apply the arts of healing to the limbs of animals" (Astron. 5.353).
31. See esp. p. 626 in the Padua edition of 1661. Machiavelli's source for the lion and the fox metaphor was probably Plutarch's life of Lysander (vii, 3): "Those who demanded that the descendants of Heracles should not wage war by deceit he held up to ridicule, saying that 'where the lion's skin will not reach, it must be patched out with the fox's.'" Plutarch's Lives, trans. Bernadotte Perrin (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1968), vol. 4, p. 251. In the Padua edition cited, the passage is accompanied by a marginal reference to Lysander, apparently on the assumption that readers would recognize the source.
32. Baldasar Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, trans. Leonard E. Opdycke (New York: Horace Liveright, 1901; 1929), p. 63. In Italian the passage runs: "Non avete vo letto che delle prime discipline che insegnò il bon vecchio Chirone nella tenera età ad Achille...fu musica...?" (Il Libro del Cortegiano [Torino: Unione Tipgrafico-Editrice Torinese, 1964], p. 170). Sir Thomas Hoby's translation of the passage is substantially the same, although one difference is noteworthy. Sir Thomas evidently felt it necessary to state that Chiron was a man (i.e.," a good olde man"), whereas the Italian text and Opdycke's translation rest content with "good olde" or "worthy old" Chiron, tacit on the centaur question. (The Book of the Courtier . . . done into English by Sir Thomas Hoby anno 1561 [London: David Nutt, 1900], p. 90).
38. Sebastián de Orozco Covarrubias. Emblemas Morales (1610). Centuria I, Emblem 82. SM 609. For those steeped in the tradition associating Chiron with violence in childrearing, Covarrubias's icon would have the captivating advantage of eccentricity; for readers familiar with Alciato's Chiron emblem, it would the attention-getting advantage of opposition. Did Cov arrubias subscribe to the idea that Chiron was a punitive master? His commentary on the emblem supports that conclusion. Calling for moderation and prudence in chastizing children, Covarrubias decries brutal schoolmasters and characterizes them as pretending to be as Chiron was to Achilles ("algunos por ser medio saluages [sic], y monstruous. Como finge A [sic] chiron maestro de Achiles").
39. Horace. The Complete Works of Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus). Charles E. Passage, translator. 2 vols. (New York: Frederick Unger, 1983). vol. 2, p. 16. For the Latin, see Q. Horati Flacci Opera, ed. Edward C. Wickham, Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1901; rpt 1963), Sermonum I.1, l. 25-26.
40. Policraticus (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1938), p. 18. Although John has doubts regarding Chiron's provision for music, at least one medieval image from John's era testifies affirmatively. See the engraved copper bowl (c. 1150) depicting the lyre lesson, reproduced in Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art (London: Faber and Faber, 1976, 2nd edit.), p. 189; also in Vogel, op. cit., vol. 1, fig. 120.
44. See, for example: Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727-85), "Chiron Instructing Achilles with the Dart" and "Chiron Instructing Achilles with the Bow," reproduced in Apollo 96:2 (October 1972): 334; Pompeo Batoni, "Education of Achilles" (c. 1760), reproduced in R. Wittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600-1750 (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1958), p. 177.
45. For reproductions and bibliography, see the entry for "Cheiron" in the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae. Page 245 exhibits a rare ancient example (Roman) of Chiron holding a – whip andequally rare-teaching – Achilles the alphabet (Greek).
51. See esp. Vogel, Chiron; see also I. Dabasis, "Cheiron Kentauros iatros," Platon, vol. 22 (1970), pp. 211-222; Gilruth, op. cit, p. 168; Robert Turcan, "Chiron le Mystagogue. . .," in Mélanges d'archéologie, d'épigraphie et d'histoire offerts à Jerome Carcopino (Paris: Hachette, 1966), esp. pp. 931-932.
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