Title page of the book Emblematum liber by Andrea Alciato Usually known simply as the Emblemata, the first emblem book appeared in Augsburg Germany in under the title Viri Clarissimi D. Andreae Alciati Iurisconsultiss. Produced by the publisher Heinrich Steyner, the unauthorized first print edition was compiled from a manuscript of Latin poems which the Italian jurist Andrea Alciato had dedicated to his friend Conrad Peutinger and circulated to his acquaintances. The word "emblemata" is simply the plural of the Greek word "emblema", meaning a piece of inlay or mosaic, or an ornament: in his preface to Peutinger, Alciato describes his emblems as a learned recreation, a pastime for humanists steeped in classical culture. The Emblemata grew to include over individual emblems and appeared in hundreds of editions, of which probably the best known is that published in Padua by Tozzi in , the Emblemata Cum Commentariis Amplissimis. The "very full commentaries" to which the title refers were written by the French scholar Claude Mignault.
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It is a collection of Latin emblem poems, each consisting of a motto a proverb or other short enigmatic expression , a picture, and an epigrammatic text. It began a craze for emblem poetry that lasted for several centuries.
We use the Latin text and images from an important edition of and we give a translation into English. Notes on use The emblems may be read in sequence, in Latin or in English , or in Latin-English parallel. If you know a title or a motif that you might be looking for, use our title and searching files. If you know an emblem number, go directly to it via the table of emblems. Though all the Alciato emblems have commentary files, only a few have proper explanatory commentaries. We also have a short note on Alciato , and bibliographies of early editions and secondary sources.
Among other supporting documents, we have texts imitated by Alciato from the Greek Anthology. We have complete texts of the emblems, in both Latin 93k and English 99k. These texts are very handy if you wish to download for reference or search for words in context. Finally, a few other sites of interest.
All this material is linked through the commentaries for each emblem in Alciato, where appropriate. We give the Alciato and Whitney emblems in two sizes. Click on the smaller to get the larger. We have a working bibliography on the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili , and will continue to add other ancillary material.
And, for your further entertainment, we have an edition of Gratiae Ludentes a 17th-century jest book prepared by William Barker, Yvonne Hann, and a group of undergraduate students in English.
We also have forthcoming some notes for a full checklist of Alciato editions, and, finished for now, a short essay on Alciato editions used as alba amicorum.
As such, its importance cannot be underestimated. The corpus would eventually stretch to emblems, but early editions had a little over a hundred. Andrea Alciato Alciato was born in Alzate near Milan. He is famed not only for his emblems but as a legal scholar. He studied in Milan, Pavia.
Emblemata Andreae Alciati ...