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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 10 years, 7 months ago


HOME | Perry


Not in Perry: Aquila et Testudo (Cursus)

There is not a classical Aesop's fable about a race between the eagle and the tortoise, but there is an allusion to such a story in a fragment of the poet Achaeus: "So the swift was undone by the weaker, just as the eagle was undone by the tortoise." The parallel to the race between the tortoise and the hare is quite clear, however - see Perry 226: Tortoise and Hare  for numerous examples of that fable. In the Renaissance, Erasmus included this saying in his Adagia: Aquilam testudo vincit. Erasmus recognized that there was no extant fable in order to explain the saying, and commented: Accipi potest per ironiam, aut simpliciter, ubi quis potentiorem arte vincit, et, quod viribus non potest, assiduitate conficit. (It can be interpreted as ironic or, straightforwardly, when someone conquers a more powerful person by means of skill and what he could not do by means of strength, he does by persistance.)



Commentary: Segmented version of the Latin text for easy reading.text.

Barlow 110: English translation of the fable.

Morals: Original Latin moral, with translation.

Proverbs: Notes to the proverbs printed with this fable.

Macrons: Fable text with macrons.

Word List: Interactive online English word list.

Quia.com: Vocabulary flash cards, games, and quizzes, too!

Digital Book: Digital facsimile of page from Barlow's 1687 publication.


(There is no Barlow image for this fable.)



Here are some other versions:


Here is a version in a 1544 compendium of Aesop's fables by Camerarius, on p. 296: Aquila et Testudo.

Testudo spacii cuiusdam conficiendi certamen cum aquila susceperat: propositus erat locus ad quem prior ex ipsis uter die tertio pervenisset, victor haberetur. Aquila contenta tarditate testudinis provolare coepit et desidere saepiuscule, et alias res agere, denique nocetem totam acquiescere, et non admodum mane evolare. Persuaserat enim sibi uno impetu omnes conatus testudinis facile se esse anteversuram. At haec nihil remittere, dies noctesque in itinere versari, rectaque contendere ad designatum locum. Itaque sedulitate sua velocissimam volucrem vicit, et cum adhuc abesse longissime crederetur, designatum locum tenuit.



Cum rege avium certamen init Cochlea,

Ut, qui prior datum veniret ad locum,

Quum sol die mundum relinquit tertio,

Victor foret Sed fulminatrix cochleae,

Ales morantis tarditatem spernere,

Circumuolare, et hic et illic sidere,

Noctem quicscere integram. nec surgere

Sat mane cochleam putans se uno impetu

Facile anteversuram esse. At haec remittere

Nihil, nihil frustra in via immorarier,

Sed ad locum praescriptum ubique pergere,

Eaque sic contentione maximum

Regem volucrum vicit, et metam attigit

Prior, quae abesse adhuc putabatur procul.

Intentione animi et vigore saepius

Plus promoverier solet, quam corporis.



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