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A Treatise on Symbols

[29] SYNTAGMA DE SYMBOLIS: STEMMATUM ET SCHEMATUM RATIONE, QUAE INSIGNIA SEU ARMA GENTILITIA VULGO NOMINANTUR: DEQUE EMBLEMATIS.[1]

De symbolis et rerum notis nonnulla plerique scripserunt: eorum tamen nemo est adhuc, quod sciam, qui eam rationem et argumentum sit accurata disputatione persecutus.[2] Id ut praestare quodammodo possim, quod videam eas partes hoc loco mihi demandatas, de inventione symbolorum, eorumque usu et fine quaedam, si non accurate, at certe breviter dicenda mihi videntur, ne subinde cogar anxie repetere quae semel dixisse satis erit.

[29] A TREATISE ON SYMBOLS; ON THE THEORY OF COATS OF ARMS AND FIGURES WHICH ARE COMMONLY CALLED INSIGNIA OR FAMILY BADGES; AND ON EMBLEMS.[1]

Many people have written something about symbols and signs of things, but there is no one among them until now, as far as I know, who has dealt with the theory and matter in a full exposition. So that I can fulfil this in some measure, since I see that these parts of the subject are required of me here, it seems to me certain things need to be said, if not fully at least briefly, about the discovery of symbols, their use and purpose, so that I am not hereafter forced to repeat laboriously what it will be enough to have said once.

Quae fuerit inventio prima Symbolorum.[3]

Compertum quidem nobis est vel sola coniectura,[4] primos illos homines, sed potissimum Aegyptios et Chaldaeos, qui in schola Memphytica philosophati sunt, imo ante[5] expressam notarum aut characterum inventionem et scripturae usum, reperisse[6] symbola quaedam rudia, ut[7] animalium, vel siderum, vel rerum aliarum, quae ἱερογλυϕικὰ, id est, sculpturas sacras appellarunt.[8] Quod primum ab his factum esse constat, ne ab imperita mulltitudine mysteria et arcana sapientiae, quam colebant puris animis ac manibus facile profanarentur, sed ab iis duntaxat intelligerentur, qui sacris iisdem initiati essent.[9] Quarum[10] rerum initia prima fuisse admodum rudia et simplicia[11] nemo ambigit, qualia solent esse rerum pene omnium principia, quae a rebus minimis orta tandem progressum ampliorem, et certe maiorem consequuntur.[12] Quod nobis planum esse poterit, si eam inventionem, quam Aegyptiis et Chaldaeis acceptam tribuimus,[13] conferamus cum ornatu, et accurata[14] expolitione, quam huic praeclarae inventioni Graeci adiecerunt, tanta profecto cum[15] venustate et apparatu, ut posteriores Graecorum cogitationes

How Symbols were probably discovered.

It is known to us, if only by conjecture, that early men, but especially the Egyptians and Chaldeans who discussed philosophy in the school of Memphis, even before the actual discovery of signs or letters and the use of writing, had devised certain crude symbols, such as of animals, or stars, or other things, which they called 'hieroglyphs', that is, sacred carvings. This was first done by them, it is clear, so that the mysteries and arcana of their knowledge, which they cultivated with pure minds and hands, should not be easily profaned by the ignorant multitude, but should be understood only by those who had been initiated into these same cults. No-one questions that the beginnings of these things were somewhat crude and simple, as are usually the beginnings of almost all those things which, starting from something very small, in the end achieve more ample and greater progress. This will be obvious to us, if we compare this discovery, which we attribute to the Egyptians and Chaldeans, with the elaboration and full development which the Greeks brought to this excellent invention, with such grace indeed and sumptuousness, that we cannot doubt that later men ranked the ideas of the Greeks

[30] prioribus his, et ferme incultis Aegyptiorum signis praeferre non dubitemus. Eo enim factum esse crediderim, quod etiam invento scripturae usu, a curiosis quibusque ingeniis, sed maxime philologis, imperatoribus, ducibus, et aliis etiam, quibus politior quaedam literarum cognitio, rerumque meliorum elegans et culta natura placuit, auctus sit et asservatus non sine literarum politiorum ornatu is ἱερογλυϕικῶν usus.[16] Ad quam philologiae partem quodam modo hoc Syntagmate declarandam (non enim mei pudoris est magnum quidpiam de me polliceri. Quicquid sit, velim studiosi aequi consulant: nam aliis fortasse trado lampada, qui perficient quod hic a me inchoatum potius quam perfectum) fingamus primum nobis aliquem ordinem familiarem, ut eruditos homines, et maxime rerum antiquarum studiosos hac qualicunque, sed tamen familiari commentatione iuvemus.

[30] above these first rather rough signs of the Egyptians. This happened, I am inclined to think, to the extent that, even when the use of writing was discovered, this use of hieroglyphs was increased and affirmed, with the ornament of more refined literature, by curious minds, but most of all by philologists, rulers, leaders and others who enjoyed refined letters and the distinguished and cultivated nature of higher ideas.[2] To explain in some measure by means of this treatise this philological part of the subject (honesty prevents me from promising much of myself - whatever there is, I would want fair-minded scholars to judge; for perhaps I pass on a light to others who will complete what I have here sketched out rather than completed) let us first of all follow some recognised order, so that we may please the learned, and particularly students of ancient matters, with this modest, but familiar preparation.

Quid Symbolum, et quotuplex sit huius vocis acceptio.

Symbolum ita Graeci definiunt: σύμβολον ἐστὶν ἐξ οὗ ἐστὶν ἡμᾶς συμβάλλειν καὶ γνῶναι; est id quo aliquid coniectamus et cognoscimus. Vocabuli huius multae significationes occurrunt: ex quibus hae sunt in primis.[17] Symbolum accipi vulgare est pro signo quod epistolae, vel vasi aut dolio, aut caeteris eiusdem generis imprimitur, ne resignentur a quibus minime oporteat: idque nos vulgari lingua Marquam nominamus. Deinde pro bellico signo, quam tesseram vocant, Gallis Mot du guet.[18] Tertio idem sonat ac collatio vel pecunia, qua plures in unum conferunt ad epulas et convivia celebranda: quo sensu plerique viri eruditi etiam symbolum, et symbolam, usurpant neutro et femenino generibus, et quibusdam rationibus confirmant, Symbolam dedi, apud Terentium, non Symbolum dedi, esse legendum.[19] Quarto, symbolum nuptiarum annulum significat. Quinto, coniecturam seu indicium,[20] quo praenoscimus aliquid, vel coniicimus, vel observatione dignum putamus. Quo sensu ad res varias transferri testantur auctorum monimenta. Sexto, pro principis numismate sumitur. Septimo, pro argumento, seu etymo, seu denique vaticinio aut nota quadam qua quidpiam occultatur, sed tamen doctis auribus intelligendum proponitur. Quo sensu postremo nos symbolum ad emblematis naturam accommodamus, et veluti ad finem nostri huius Syntagmatis explanare conamur.

What a symbol is, and how many meanings this term has.

The Greeks define 'symbol' thus: súmbolon estìn ex hoû estìn hēmâs sumbállein kaì gnōnai; it is that by which we conjecture and know something. Many meanings of this word occur, of which these are the primary ones: it is common to understand 'symbol' as a seal which is put on a letter, or a vase or jar, or other things of that sort so that they should not be opened by people who least ought to. This is what we call a marque in French. Then as a military signal, which they call tessera, and the French mot du guet. Thirdly it means the same as a contribution or money, by means of which many people agree together to hold banquets and entertainments. In this sense several learned people use both symbolum and symbola, in the neuter and feminine genders, and affirm by certain arguments that the reading in Terence should be Symbolam dedi, not Symbolum dedi.[3] Fourthly symbolum means a wedding ring. In fifth place, a conjecture or judgement by which we learn something in advance, or guess it, or reckon it worthy of note. In this sense the writings of the authorities show that it is transferred to various meanings. In sixth place, it is used to mean the coin of the realm. In seventh place, it is used to mean the subject matter, or etymology,[4] or finally prophecy or some sign by which something is hidden, but which is proposed for the understanding of informed ears. In this last sense we adapt 'symbol' to the nature of the emblem, and undertake to explain it for the purpose of our treatise.

[31] De Symbolis Aegyptiacis.

Observamus itaque a sapientibus Aegyptiis symbola primum fuisse usurpata illa, quae ἱερογλυϕικὰ nuncupabant, quibus suam raram illam quidem et reconditam sapientiam solis iis agnitam esse volebant, qui ea se dignos praestarent. Ab ea enim consulto et prudenter hisce ingeniosis et eruditis symbolis, uti iam admonui, profanum vulgus arcebant: eoque modo arcana illa doctrinae revera primae et arduae, castis beneque rotundis auribus et praeparatis animis excipi volebant. Insignis est apud Clementem Alexandrinum locus 5 στροματεῶν[21] Quo loco ait, Aegyptios et Hebraeos symbolis usos fuisse reconditis, ut sapientiae divinae eos participes efficerent, qui rebus sacris initiati essent. Addit enim nefas existimatum Platoni, eum qui minime purus esset ad purum quidpiam attrectandum accedere: quam ob caussam sacra vaticinia aenigmatis reddita olim fuisse constat, nec vera mysteria ostendi iis solita, qui temere et impudenter accederent, sed qui primum purgati essent, seseque diligenter praepararent.[22] Observat idem eos, qui ab Aegyptiis docerentur, primum quidem arripuisse viam et rationem, quae vocabatur ἐπιστολογραϕικὴ id est ad epistolas scribendas comparata methodus: alteram, qua sacerdotes utebantur, id est ἱερογραμματεῖς: tertiam et postremam ἱερογλυϕικὴν nominabant, id est sacram quandam sculpturam vel caelaturam: ex quibus maxime celebris fuit ea quae συμβολικὴ dicebatur. Longior essem, si exempla Clementis usurparem, quae eadem pene sunt apud Orum Niliacum. Sed unum id duntaxat. Omnes quotquot vetustis temporibus de rebus divinis aliquid scriptis mandarunt, tam barbari quam Graeci, rerum principia occulta esse voluerunt, et ipsum verum (τ᾽ αληθὲς) aenigmatis, signis, symbolis, et allegoricis quibusdam figuris tradiderunt. Eadem fuere celebrata illa Graecorum oracula: quae causa est cur Apollo Pythius cognomen λοξίας habuerit, eo quod obscure et oblique responderet.[23] Cum Clemente illo polyhistore una coniungam Plutarchum, qui disputatione Περὶ Ἴσιδος καὶ Ὀσίριδος idem omnino docet. Interque alia ostendit hoc veterum Aegyptiorum institutum fuisse, ut ab iis legerentur reges, vel ex ordine sacerdotum, aut eorum qui militiae nomen darent: eo quod illi ob fortitudinem, hi vero sapientiam magni ac celebres haberentur. Si quis e belli-

[31] On Egyptian symbols

We observe therefore that the Egyptians were the first to use those symbols which they called hieroglyphs, and with these they sought to ensure that their remarkable and indeed abstruse knowledge should be perceived only by themselves. For they deliberately and wisely kept the common crowd away[5] from it with these ingenious and learned symbols, as I have already pointed out, and by this means they intended that the secrets of their really important and difficult teaching should be heard by chaste and honest ears and well-prepared minds. There is a famous passage in Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, Book 5, where he says that the Egyptians and the Hebrews used abstruse symbols, so that they could make participants in divine wisdom of those who had been initiated into the sacred rites. And he adds that to Plato it was counted an impiety that anyone who was not at all pure should approach to touch anything pure. For this reason, it is clear, the sacred oracles were formerly given in enigmas, and true mysteries were not shown to those who approached rashly and imprudently, but to those who had first been purified and who had prepared themselves carefully. This same writer observes that those who were taught by the Egyptians first learned the way and procedure, which was called 'epistolographic', that is a method designed for writing letters; a second, which the priests used, that is the sacred scribes; the third and last they called the 'hieroglyphic', that is a certain sacred sculpture or carving. Of these the most famous was that one which was called 'symbolic'.[6] I would take too long if I used Clement's examples, which are almost the same as in Horapollo. But I will say just one thing. All those who in ancient times set down anything in writing about things divine, both barbarians and Greeks, wanted the fundamental principles of things to remain hidden, and committed the truth itself to enigmas, signs, symbols, and certain allegorical figures. Those famous Greek oracles were the same; which is why Apollo had the nickname Pythius, or Loxias, for he answered obscurely and indirectly. To the learned Clement I may join Plutarch who teaches exactly the same in his treatise On Isis and Osiris. And among other things he shows that it was a practice of the ancient Egyptians that their kings should be chosen by them either from the order of priests or from those who enrolled themselves in the army; for the latter were considered great and illustrious for their courage and the former for their wisdom. If a king was chosen from among the warriors,

[32] cosis rex crearetur, statim se sacerdotibus erudiendum dabat, idemque sapientiae particeps efficiebatur, eius inquam sapientiae quae fabulis pleraque occultabat, et obscuro quodam verborum involucro veritatem complectabatur. Haec eius verba: εὐθὺς ἐγίγνετο τῶν ἱερέων καὶ μετεῖχε τῆς ϕιλοσοϕίας ἐπικεκρυμμένης τὰ πολλὰ μύθοις καὶ λόγοις, ἀμυδρὰς ἐμϕάσεις τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ διαϕάσεις ἐχούσης.[24] Quod certe ipsi notant, cum sphinges ad templorum limina locant: innuunt etiam eam, quam de rebus sacris doctrinam profitentur, ea sapientia constare, quae obscura sit, et involucris quibusdam lateat.

[32] he gave himself immediately to the priests to acquire learning, and was made a participant of their wisdom, of that wisdom, I mean, which for the most part wrapped the truth in fables, and in an obscure veil of words. These are his words: '[he] was at once made one of the priests and a participant in their philosophy, which, for the most part, is veiled in myths and in words containing dim reflexions and adumbrations of the truth ...'[7] They certainly indicate this themselves when they place sphinxes before their temple doors, implying that the teaching they offer about sacred things is consistent with the sort of knowledge that is obscure and is hidden in veils.

De Pythagorae symbolis.[25]

Certe antiqua illa Pythagorae symbola huius philosophiae usum non minimum praebuere, quae cum a Tyrrheniis (apud quos fuit educatus, teste Plutarcho[26]) aut ab Aegyptiis, ut relatum est ab Iamblicho[27] nobili philosopho, accepisset, ita excoluit, ut magnam suae doctrinae partem hisce mysteriis occlusam esse voluerit. Tradit enim idem Iamblichus, eos olim designasse per navis gubernatorem, supremum Deum, primum motorem, et primam illam causam rerum omnium, ut ostenderent omnia Dei providentia curaque administrari: ut per mundi lutum, materiam aptam ad generandum, ipsumque corpus intelligi volebant.[28] Atqui et interdum non alio symbolo Deum designabant, quam oculo depicto, cui et baculum seu sceptrum substituebant: quandoquidem Deus unus est, qui omnia videat, et penes quem sit praecellens et regia dignitas. Nonnulli tamen stantem baculum ad aliud referunt, nempe ad naturam divinam ἄϕθαρτ ον καὶ ἀκίνητον, id est mutationi minime obnoxiam, et quae nunquam labefactari aut imminui ullo unquam pacto possit. Hanc Aegyptiorum philosophiam Chaeremon complexus est, ut et Orus Apollo Niliacus: auxit Pythagoras, illustrarunt excellentes quidam philosophi et scriptores nobiles Athenaeus, Clemens et Cyrillus Alexandrini, Pausanias, Porphyrius, Plinius, Appuleius, Plutarchus: quamque nostra aetate pene intermortuam magno labore ac industria, imo vero admirabili peneque divino ingenio excitavit, suisque perfecit numeris Pierius Valerianus, magnis illis ἱερογλυϕικῶν Commentariis.[29] Cuius primae sapientiae usum, ne id dissimulare videar, retinuerunt multo ante Pythagoram Moses, Salomon, aliique Hebraeorum sapientes: sunt et qui de

On Pythagorean symbols[8]

Certainly the ancient Pythagorean symbols made no small use of this knowledge; Pythagoras learned them from the Tyrrhenians[9] (among whom he was brought up, according to Plutarch) or from the Egyptians, as the noble philosopher Iamblichus reports, and elaborated them in this way because he wanted most of his teaching to be hidden by means of these mysteries. Iamblichus also reports that they represented by the rudder of a ship the supreme god, prime mover and first cause of everything, so as to show that everything is governed by God's providence and care; in the same way they intended that the mud of the earth should be understood as matter apt for generation and the body itself. But sometimes they also signified God exclusively by the symbol of a picture of an eye, beneath which they placed a wand or sceptre, for God is one and sees all things, and in him is pre-eminent and royal majesty. Some however relate the upright wand to something else, namely to the divine nature 'incorruptible and unmoved', that is, subject in no way to change, and which can never in any way be shaken or diminished.[10] This Egyptian wisdom was brought together in a book by Chaeremon,[11] and by Horapollo; Pythagoras enlarged it, and it was elaborated by those excellent philosophers and noble writers Athenaeus, Clement and Cyril of Alexandria, Pausanias, Porphyrius, Pliny the Elder, Apuleius, and Plutarch. Having almost died out by our time it was, with great labour and industry, with admirable and almost divine genius revived and completed in all its elements by Pierio Valeriano in his great Commentaries on the Hieroglyphs. The usefulness of this early wisdom - lest I seem to ignore the point - was grasped long before Pythagoras by Moses, Solomon, and other wise men among the Hebrews[12];

[33] Chaldaeorum symbolis ex Pselli commentariis,[30] quibus magica oracula seu Chaldaica Zoroastres exequitur, nonnulla posteris reliquerunt. Sic enim ex figura plantarum, florum, animalium, stellarum, rerumque aliarum pleraque involvebant, ut minime putem commodius sapientiae veterum quasdam reliquias ad nostra usque tempora transmitti potuisse. Id vero si quis velit ostensum esse aliqua exemplorum farragine, statim colliget, pro fertilitatis symbolo papaver usurpatum, cupressum pro morte, olivam signum pacis, laurum et hederam ingenii semper virentis, malum cotoneum connubii, notam iisdem habitam fuisse, ut satyrum vel capram libidinis, leonem terroris, iracundiae, dominatus: solem anni, lunam mensis, et caetera alia longe multa, quae immenso labore parique doctrina idem Pierius executus est.

[33] and there are some who have passed on material from Psellus's commentaries on the symbols of the Chaldeans, by which Zoroaster expounds magic or Chaldaic oracles. And they derived so many meanings from the figure of plants, flowers, animals, stars, and other things that I think some sorts of relics of the wisdom of the ancients could hardly be transmitted more conveniently to our times. But if anyone wants a demonstration of this with a selection of examples, he can gather straight away the poppy used as a symbol of fertility, the cypress for death, the olive as a sign of peace, the laurel and the ivy for an ever vigorous mind. The quince was considered by these same people as a symbol of marriage, as was the satyr or goat for lust, the lion for terror, anger, or power, the sun for the year, the moon for the month, and many, many others which Pierio Valeriano expounded with great labour and equal learning.

Unde profectus Stemmatum usus.

Ex quo factum esse constat, ut sapientes quique posteri inventioni huic tam ingeniosae multum ornamenti adiecerint suis tum libris, tum disputationibus: sic etiam, permulti nobiles et generosi, virique principes, qui bellicis olim negotiis praefecti sunt, ut etiam hodie, qui eundem dignitatis gradum obtinent, quo sui nominis atque familiae splendorem quam latissime propagarent, stemmata quaedam et symbola sibi usurparunt. Et certe omnibus pene gentibus in more positum fuit, ut speciale aliquod signum militare haberent, quo facilius cogi possent, et in unum convocari locum milites, qui vel sparsi vel fusi extra castra essent. Occurrit mihi quod Diodorus Siculus 1 Βιβλιοθήκη retulit, quo loco initium eiusmodi schematum videtur repetere a temporibus Osiridis, his plane verbis: τῷ δ ʼ οὖν ʼΟσίριδι συνεστρατεῦσθαι δύο λέγουσιν υἱοὺς Ἄνουβίν τε καὶ Μακεδόνα, διαϕέροντας ἀνδρείαͺ. ἀμϕοτέρους δὲ χρήσασθαι τοῖς ἐπισημοτάτοις ὅπλοις ἀπό τινων ζῷων οὐκ ἀνοικείων τῂ περὶ αὐτοὺς εὐτολμίαͺ.[31] Pindarus enim testis est Amphiaraum in expeditione Thebana pictum draconem in clypeo circumtulisse:[32] Statius Capaneum hydra: Polynicem sphyngis imagine usos in scutis fuisse.[33] In bello Troiano Agamemnon pictum habebat in scuto leonem una cum epigrammate οὗτος μὲν ϕόβος ἐστὶ βροτῶν: Ulysses delphinem:[34] Typhonem Hippomedon ore fumos efflantem:[35] Perseus Medusae vel Gorgonis caput.[36] Neque enim dubium potest

Origins of the use of coats of arms

From this it clearly followed that later wise men elaborated this very ingenious discovery considerably with their books and discussions. In a similar way, many high-born and noble men and princes, who were made leaders in their time in military affairs, and those who in our own day attain the same standing in this office, spreading the glory of their name and family far and wide, have used coats of arms and symbols for themselves. Indeed by almost all nations it was established that they had some special military standard by which their soldiers, who might have been separated or dispersed outside their camp, could be assembled and called together in one place. I am reminded of what Diodorus Siculus reports in Book 1 of his Bibliothecae where he seems to seek the beginnings of this sort of figure back in the times of Osiris; these are his exact words: 'Now Osiris was accompanied on his campaign, as the Egyptian account goes, by his two sons Anubis and Macedon, who were distinguished for their valour. Both of them carried the most notable accoutrements of war, taken from certain animals whose character was not unlike the boldness of the men ...'[13] Pindar is witness that on the expedition to Thebes Amphiaraus bore a painted dragon on his shield; Statius, that Capaneus used the image of the Hydra, and Polynices that of the Sphinx on their shields. In the Trojan war Agamemnon had painted on his shield a lion with the epigram: 'This is the Fear of mortals'; Ulysses had a dolphin; Hippomedon had Typhon spouting smoke from his mouth, Perseus the head of Medusa or the Gorgon.

[34] esse quin et caeteri nobiles suae insignia familiae, seu symbola quaedam propria sibi vendicarent. Homerus alter 8 Aeneidis id minime sibi praetermittendum putavit, cum Turni auxiliares copias memorat, quorum hominum arma signaque diligenter et studiose persecutus est.[37] Cimbrorum et Teutonum bello illo horribili, quod in Mario Plutarchus describit, id memoria dignum notat, eos populos, quanquam immanitate barbaros, suis in peltis, scutis, aliisque id genus bellicis instrumentis non modo nitorem armorum fuisse,[38] sed et depictas ferarum imagines.[39] Nonnulli putant Marium primum aquila pro schemate usum, ut praeter caeteros testis occurrit Valerius Maximus.[40] Primis enim imperii Romani temporibus, in expeditionibus bellicis cum educenda esset acies, aut etiam manus conserendae, pro signo, foeni[41] manipulis utebantur: unde legiones manipulares primo appellatas esse constat. Sed cum incrementum aliquod cepisset imperium signa alia sibi finxerunt, qualia fuere lupi, equi, capri, minotauri, pro vario principum arbitrio, qui militibus praeficiebantur. Sed ut ea demum aquila usurpari coepta est pro publico et perpetuo imperii Romani symbolo, sic usus invaluit, ut quaecunque legio distinctas insignium notas haberet. Quod posteris ita transmissum est, ut eius rei memoria quanquam longa temporum intercapedine, longoque spatio, et pene vetustatis oblivione demersa, scriptorum beneficio tamen nondum intermori potuerit. Dio tradit in Pompeii Magni annulo expressa fuisse trophaea tria, ut ante idem Sylla dictator fieri sibi curarat.[42] Plutarchus vero ait in eo summi pretii lapillo, qui Pompeii fuit, quique post mortem eius, Caesarem coegit ad lachrymas, leonis conspicuam fuisse imaginem ensem tenentis.[43] Quod genus doctrinae reconditioris quanquam plerique ludicrum esse censeant, ausim tamen dicere id sapientibus olim hominibus familiare habitum pro certo constare: quod declarant erudita et literata illa symposia: quo maxime nomine principibus digna videri debet ea exercitatio, quos si vere principes agant, literatis colloquiis suas epulas condire par est: non ut inertes quidem aulici, et (quod dicebat ille) arietes in aureo vellere, qui lapillis et tesseris, qui cubis et foliorum lusu non modo totos dies terunt, in quibus luditur quidem, sed interea permultum otii et pecuniarum impenditur, multoque plus temporis insu-

[34] And there can be no doubt but that all other nobles assumed insignia for their families or their own symbols for themselves. The second Homer considered that this was something by no means to be omitted in Book VIII of the Aeneid, when he recalls the allied forces of Turnus and describes in detail and enthusiastically the arms and standards of these men. In that dreadful war of the Cimbrians and Teutons, which Plutarch describes in his Life of Marius, he points out as something deserving to be remembered that these peoples, although barbarians in their savagery, had on their bucklers and shields and other military gear of that sort not only the gleam of armour, but painted images of beasts. Some think that Marius was the first to have used the eagle as a figure; Valerius Maximus comes to mind as witness among others. For in the early times of the Roman empire, when the troops were to be led out on military expeditions, or when it came to hand to hand fighting, they used as a standard bunches [manipuli] of hay; whence clearly the legions were first called manipulares.[14] But when the empire had grown somewhat, they conceived other standards for themselves, such as wolves, horses, goats, minotaurs, according to the different choices of leaders who commanded the troops. But as the eagle itself began to be used as the public and perpetual symbol of the Roman empire, so the usage grew up that each legion should have distinct figures for its insignia. This has been passed down to later times in such a way that the memory of it, although sunk beneath a long interval of time and great distance, and the almost complete effacement of antiquity, could yet survive thanks to those who wrote it down. Cassius Dio relates that three trophies were carved in relief on Pompey the Great's ring, just as earlier Sulla the dictator had the same sort of thing made for himself. Plutarch however says that on the precious gem which belonged to Pompey and which, after his death, drove Caesar to tears, there was a striking image of a lion holding a sword. Although some may think that this sort of rather abstruse knowledge is trifling, I would yet dare to say that in former times wise people certainly considered it normal. This is apparent in those learned and literary 'symposia', on account of which above all the practice of this knowledge must seem worthy of princes; for, if they would really act like princes, it is fitting that they should spice their banquets with literary conversations. Not like some idle courtiers, and (as someone used to say) rams in golden fleece,[15] who with counters and tokens or with dice and a game of leaves not only while away whole days in play but use up a great deal of leisure and money and waste much more time than they should.

[35] mitur, quam necesse esset; cum in ea symbolorum doctrina exercenda, et liberis hominibus digna cognitione, non mediocris utilitas capiatur, ingenium intendatur, iudicium augeatur, exerceatur memoria, mirifica oblectatio capiatur. Sed haec missa faciamus. Quam enim superioribus anteactis saeculis hic symbolorum usus magnis quibusdam viris arriserit, exemplis innumerabilibus testatum habemus. Quin id antiquarii et studiosi longe ante, et hoc nostro saeculo diligenter observarunt in quibusdam priscorum temporum numismatis aereis et argenteis, tum saxis et aedificiis, longa saeculorum caligine, et quasi senio fere omnino collapsis, ex quibus illorum veterum hominum studium agnoscunt in observandis familiis, vel gentis alicuius stemmatis, aut effingendis iis, quae ipsi suo arbitratu conceperant, quaeque vel multis, vel certe paucis, et quidem eruditis atque ingeniosis proposita esse cupiebant. Siquidem, ut e multis pauca sublegam, Alexander magnus serpentis imagnine usus est, quod se a Iove Ammone patre sub forma serpentis esse natum credi vellet.[44] Augustus Caesar magnam sui animi moderationem, alienumque ab omni temeritate iudicium, id est maturitatem in rebus gestis ostensurus, in altera numi aurei parte, quod cudendum ea maxime causa iusserat, papilionem una cum fluviatili cancro caelari voluit: altero quidem tarditatem, altero vero celeritatem intelligebat. Eundem et sphingis imagine in sigillo seu sphragidio sumpsisse memorant: quo plerique coniiciunt eum designasse suam in rebus obscuris illustrandis, et conficiendis negotiis alioqui perplexis admirabilem solertiam. Quod tamen signum commutavit Republica primum composita, et imagine Alexandri magni postea fertur usus, fortasse ut monarchiam, qua se dignum putabat, intelligeret: quam ubi magna, planeque inaudita felicitate consecutus est, non alia delectatus est imagine quam sua.[45] Maecenas eques Augusto familiarissimus, ranam usurpavit, fortasse Seriphiam, ut quibusdam placet, ad arcani fidem, quam unice observabat ille, designandam.[46] Titus Vespasianus Augustum aemulatus, proprium sibi ac peculiare schema vel symbolum habuit, quo maturandum esse praecipiebat, delphinum anchorae alligatum.[47] Narratur historiis ecclesiasticis, et D. Hieronymi Commentariis, literam Hebraicam TAU, salutis fuisse olim signum etiam paganis ipsis habitum,

[35] On the other hand in the practice of this doctrine of symbols and this knowledge worthy of free men no slight benefit is gained, the mind is extended, judgement is increased, the memory is exercised, and a wonderful pleasure is found. But let us leave these matters aside. For we have innumerable examples to prove how much in earlier centuries past certain great men delighted in this use of symbols. Indeed antiquaries and scholars long since and in our own times have paid careful attention to this in certain bronze and silver coins of ancient times, and on stones and buildings, almost entirely ruined by the long darkness and decay of centuries, from which they have recognised the commitment of those ancient men to observing families, or the coats of arms of a clan, or to creating those symbols which they conceived themselves at their own discretion, and which they desired to display, either to the public or to a few, but educated and clever people. But if I may choose a few from among many, Alexander the Great used the image of a snake, because he wanted it to be believed that he was fathered by Jupiter Ammon in the form of a snake. Augustus Caesar, wishing to illustrate the profound moderation of his spirit and his abhorrence of any rashness in making judgements - that is, his 'maturity' in government - on one side of a gold coin which he ordered to be struck particularly for this purpose, desired that a butterfly together with a freshwater crab should be engraved; by the latter indeed he meant 'slowness' and by the former 'speed'. It is recorded that this same emperor began with the image of a sphinx on his signet or seal - from which several people conjecture that he was pointing out his admirable skill in bringing light to obscure questions and concluding generally difficult business - but changed this seal once the state was pacified, and is said to have used thereafter the picture of Alexander the Great, perhaps to signify 'monarchy', of which he thought he was worthy; and when he achieved this with great and completely unprecedented success, he was content with no other picture than his own. Maecenas, the knight who was closest to Augustus, adopted the frog, perhaps the Seriphian frog as some would have it, to designate that loyalty to a secret which he alone observed. Titus Vespasianus, imitating Augustus, took as his own individual figure or symbol a dolphin twisted around an anchor, by which he taught that action should be maturely meditated. In ecclesiastical histories and in the Commentaries of St Jerome it is said that the Hebrew letter TAU was considered a sign for salvation even among pagans,

[36] quod parietibus templi Serapidis passim visum fuit.[48] Nullus est ex nostris, quin audierit aut legerit memorabilem illam Constantini Magni expeditionem adversus Maxentium, qua maxime signis militaribus signum Dominicae crucis tum primum cepit.[49] Et certe crux merito pro salutis nota usurpari coepta est, quod T literae, quod fuit olim absolutionis signum, videatur respondere, si picturam et lineas spectes.[50] Quid enim, ut externa illa quae innumerabilia sunt, transiliam, ut quae leguntur de Atheniensium noctua, Persarum aquila aurea, vel solis effigie, aut igni sacro, Thebanorum sphinge, Osiridis cane, Cyri gallo aureo, et aliis etiam pluribus, de quibus fidem scriptores faciunt? Sed nescio quo modo nos magis delectant et afficiunt domestica, ut est Navis illa, quam pro stemmate habuerunt Franci veteres, sicuti Sidonius Apollinaris et Panegyristes ille Pacatus testantur: quod idem signum Parisiorum esse adhuc aperte videmus:[51] ut tria illa repagula rubea seu vectes, quibus in publico stemmate Burgundiones usi sunt: ut ursi, quibus Helvetii: ut leones quibus Germani quidam duces: ut igniarum una cum silice, quo equites illi torquati, qui a Burgundo duce primum instituti sunt?[52] Longum enim esset in singulis immorari, et ad ea omnia explicationes adiicere: Quid, inquam, nunc memorem veterum illorum Gallorum stemmata et insignia, quae sibi vel ingeniosi finxerunt, aut aliqua nacti sunt occasione, vel tanquam haereditario iure posteri usurparunt? Quia tamen multus essem, imo vero fortasse nimius in ea rerum veterum commemoratione, quas subinde fateri cogimur longa vetustatis oblivione nobis pene deletas et obliteratas: facilius videtur, meo quidem iudicio, in iis pedem, ut ita loquar, figere, quae non tam priscorum hominum libris, quam ipso nostrorum patrum, et quidem huius aetatis hominum exemplo, plane attinguntur. Itaque praeter publicum et sollenne imperii Germanici stemma, quod Carolus quintus superioribus annis pro imperatorio iure habuit, symbolum etiam peculiare sibi vendicavit, duas Herculis columnas, una cum symboli anima ULTERIUS:[53] Lodoïcus XII, antequam ad regnum evectus esset, aliqua ratione histricem, quem porcum spiceum vulgus appellat:[54] Franciscus I felicis memoriae princeps, tria lilia, quibus alii reges regio nomine fuerunt usi ad haec nostra usque tempo-

[36] and was seen all over the walls of the temple of Serapis. There is no-one of our own times who has not listened to or read about that memorable expedition of Constantine the Great against Maxentius in which he adopted particularly the symbol of our Lord's Cross for military standards. And certainly the Cross was rightly adopted to be used as the symbol of salvation, for it seems to correspond to the letter 'T', which was formerly the sign of absolution, if you look at a picture and the lines of it. To continue, let me skip over the foreign examples which are innumerable, such as one can read about: the Athenians' owl, the Persians' golden eagle or figure of the sun, or sacred fire, the Thebans' sphinx, the dog of Osiris, the golden cockerel of Cyrus, and many more that authors witness to. But the native examples somehow delight and attract me more; for example the ship, which the ancient Franks took as their device, as Sidonius Apollinaris and Pacatus the Panegyrist show, and which we all know is now the badge of the Parisians. Other examples are the three red bars or bolts which the Burgundians have used in their official arms, the bears used by the Swiss, the lions used by certain German dukes, the gun with the flint worn on the collar by the order of knights founded by the duke of Burgundy. It would take too long to stop over each one and add explanations to all of them. Why, I ask, should I recall now the arms and insignia of the ancient Gauls, which they either ingeniously conceived for themselves or found by some favourable chance, or which descendants used by the law of inheritance? But because my account of these ancient matters may be lengthy, even perhaps excessive - and we are obliged to admit straight away that they have been almost destroyed and wiped out for us by the long neglect of antiquity - it will be easier in my judgement to take a firm footing, if I may put it thus, on those which are found, not in the books of the ancients, but directly in the example of our fathers and indeed of the men of this age. Thus, as well as the official and established arms of the German empire, which Charles V took in earlier years by imperial right, he assumed for himself a personal device, the two columns of Hercules, together with the motto 'Further'. Louis XII, before he was elevated to the throne, for some reason took the porcupine, which ordinary people call the spiny pig.[16] François I, prince of happy memory, took the three lilies which other kings had used in the name of royalty right down to our own time,

[37] ra, et salamandram, aliqua causa propriam sibi fecit:[55] Henricus II, eius filius, crescentem lunam, una cum hemistichio, DONEC TOTUM IMPLEAT ORBEM:[56] Margaris Navarraea regina, magni Francisci soror, heroïna vere illustris, heliotropium non sine causa sibi legit:[57] Carolus IX duas columnas in se complicatas una cum, PIETATE et IUSTITIA, descripto epigrammate:[58] Catharina Medicea, regum mater, iridem seu caelestem arcum, adiecto symboli argumento, Φῶς ϕέρει ἣδε γαλήνην :[59] Annas Mommorancius, militum magister, nudum ensem, una cum verbo ἌΠΛΑΝΟΣ:[60] Marescallus Santandreus nodum Gordium: plerique idem tribuunt Regi Catholico, ut Iovius ipse.[61] Cardinalis Borbonius, pastoriciae dignitatis notam, ensem seu gladium flammeum habuit, quo verbi divini vim intelligi aiunt:[62] Carolus Lotharenus Cardinalis hedera altae pyramidi haerentem, una cum versiculi parte altera, TE STANTE VIREBO,[63] Franciscus Turnonius Cardinalis caeleste manna:[64] Christophorus Madrucius Cardinalis Tridentinus, phoenicem se in igni comburentem, una cum sententia, PERIT UT VIVAT:[65] Ferrariensis denique Cardinalis Hesperidum mala ab insomni non custodita dracone, quo virtutes significari constat.[66] Alphonsus Aragonum rex libro aperto, ad libertatem designandam, uti maluit.[67] Franciscus Sforcia cum ducatum Mediolanensem obtineret, canis sibi symbolum pingi fingique curavit, una cum epigrammate, NEMO QUIETUM IMPUNE LACESSET.[68] Duo inter caetera principum Italorum symbola, eruditis hominibus placuerunt, nempe unum Laurentis illius Medicei, et alterum Prosperi Columnae: ille quidem tres plumas habuit colore triplici distinctas, albo, viridi, rubeo, una cum SEMPER adiecto vocabulo, quod eruditi homines ad virtutem triplicem, Fidem, Spem, Charitatem, retulerunt:[69] Hic vero Columna, quo tempore Ravennati Reipublicae praefectus, urbem obsessam defendebat, duplicem ramum complicatum pro symbolo circumtulit, alterum e cupresso, e palma vero alterum, una cum sententia adiecta ab eloquenti homine Antonio a Casanova, ERIT ALTERA MERCES. Illum quidem ramum, mortis; victoriae hunc esse notam volebat: ut significaret, in ea expeditione sibi certissimum esse mori, vel vincere.[70] Quibus profecto notis et si-

[37] and made the salamander on some occasion his own. His son, Henri II, had the crescent moon, with the half verse 'Until it can fill the whole orb'. Not without reason, Marguerite, Queen of Navarre, sister of the great François and a truly illustrious heroine, chose for herself a sunflower. Charles IX chose two columns intertwined, together with the well matched inscription, 'With piety and justice'. Catherine of Medici, mother of kings, chose the rainbow or celestial arch, adding as motto of her symbol 'It brings light and calm'. Anne de Montmorency, the Constable, had a naked sword, with the word 'Unwaveringly'. The Mareschal de St André had the Gordian knot; several people, like Giovio himself, attribute the same to his Catholic Majesty.[17] The Cardinal de Bourbon took as sign of his pastoral office a flaming sword or glaive, by which they say he signified the power of the divine word. Cardinal Charles de Lorraine took the ivy clinging to a tall pyramid, together with the second part of a line of verse: 'While you stand, I shall flourish', Cardinal François de Tournon the celestial manna, Christophoro Madruccio,[18] Cardinal of Trent, the phoenix burning itself on the fire with the motto 'It perishes so that it may live', the Cardinal of Ferrara the apples of the Hesperides no longer guarded by the unsleeping dragon, by which it is clear the virtues are meant. Alfonso king of the Aragonese preferred to use an open book to signify freedom. When Francesco Sforza acquired the dukedom of Milan, he ordered the symbol of a dog to be painted and fashioned for himself with the inscription 'None shall provoke a sleeping [dog] with impunity'. Two symbols, among others, of Italian princes have delighted learned people: one of Lorenzo Medici, the other of Prosper Colonna. The former had three plumes distinguished by three different colours, white, green, and red, together with the word 'Always', which learned men referred to the triple virtue of faith, hope, and charity. The latter, when as governor of the Republic of Ravenna he was defending the besieged city, bore as his device two intertwined branches, one of cypress, the other of palm, with a maxim taken from that eloquent poet Antonio de Casanova, 'There will be one reward or the other'. For he intended that the former branch should be the sign of death, the latter of victory, in order to declare that in that campaign he was quite determined that he would die or conquer. With these signs and badges,

[38] gnis illustribus magni illi heroes ac principes excellentem aliquam suorum animorum cogitationem non obscure ostendi voluerunt. De qua quidem philologiae parte, ne cogar singula percensere, cum quosdam viros excellenti doctrina, et antiquitatis vel maxime studiosos aliquando disputare audiebam, memini ultro citroque habitos ea de re sermones eruditos, ex quibus tamen ad extremum, ut uno dicam verbo, nihil fere praeter coniectanea mihi comparavi. Nam ut prisca illa et externa praeteream, quidam auctores sunt non omnino mali, a quibus accepimus priorum Galliae Regum, qui a Pharamundo profecti sunt, insignia fuisse tres bufones aut rubetas: nonnulii tres coronas malunt: alii leonem qui aquilam ad caudam habeat. In quo illi boni scriptores temere interdum et sine iudicio caligant: quippe qui quod regum quorundam peculiare symbolum fuerit, ad alios etiam tanquam commune omnium referant. Videri autem certius potest, tribus liliis primum Clodoveum fuisse usum, cum primum suadente Clotilde uxore lectissima, religioni christianae nomen dedit: quod liliorum trium stemma posteri etiam reges ad nostra usque tempora retinuerunt. Polydorus Virgilius in Anglica historia, quo loco vitam Gulielmi Nothi persequitur, auctor est, reges Anglos ad eam usque regis illius aetatem certas insignium notas minime habuisse: sed pro regum varia successione, etiam signa illa fuisse varia.[71] In quibus omnibus primo excogitandis, effingendis, exornandis, aliqua ratione pingendis vel sculpendis, non video quid veri certique statui certo possit: nisi dicamus pro animorum et opinionum varietate miram semper peneque incredibilem symbolorum eiusmodi varietatem extitisse. Esset quidem imperiti hominis, parumque in rerum veterum historia exercitati, qui auderet affirmare nullam subesse sententiam in ea ingeniosa inventione stemmatum, schematum insignium et symbolorum: quae veteres ipsi non tam studiose affectassent, nisi suae doctrinae solertioris, suae laudis et gloriae, suarumque cogitationum aliquam non minimam partem aliis notam esse voluissent.

[38] these great heroes and princes assuredly intended that some intellectual concept of theirs should be clearly displayed. On one occasion, when I heard certain men of outstanding learning, and particularly devoted to the study of antiquity, disputing about this historical aspect of the subject - I do not want to enumerate individual examples - I remember that they put forward erudite arguments this way and that on the subject, but that in the end I acquired almost nothing from these but, to put it in a word, conjectures. Thus, passing on from those earliest foreign examples, there are certain authors,[19] not entirely unreliable, in whom we read that the insignia of the first kings of France, who were descended from Pharamond, were three toads or frogs; some incline to say three crowns, others a lion with an eagle on his tail. In this these good writers are in the dark, for once rash and uncritical, for they attribute what was the personal device of particular kings to others, as if common to all. It can be taken as more probable however that Clovis was the first to use the three lilies when, at the instance of his most virtuous wife Clotilda, he was converted to Christianity. This coat of arms of the three lilies later kings too have retained down to our own times. Polydor Virgil, where he relates the life of William the Bastard[20] in his History of England, says that the English kings down to the time of that king very rarely had personal figures among their insignia, but that because of the diverse succession of the kings, even these figures became diverse. As to how all these symbols were first conceived, fashioned, embellished, by what means painted or carved, I do not see what true or firm conclusions can be drawn with certainty; unless we may say that, because of the variety of minds and ideas, a marvellous and almost unbelievable variety of symbols of this sort has always existed. He would indeed be an incompetent man, too little versed in the history of ancient affairs, who would dare to assert that there was no underlying meaning in this ingenious invention of coats of arms, figures, insignia and symbols, which the ancients themselves would not have cultivated so enthusiastically if they did not intend it to be an expression of an important part of their higher teaching, of their reknown and glory, and of their thinking.

Symbolorum tria genera.[72]

Caeterum ne hoc quidem praetermissum velim, symbola et Emblemata, de quibus hoc agitur libro, multi-

There are three classes of symbols.[21]

For the rest, let me not leave this in particular unsaid: symbols and emblems, with which this book is concerned,

[39] plicia esse et varia: quorum tamen rationem multiplicem ad quosdam quasi cancellos revocare possumus. Quaedam enim historica sunt, alia physica, alia ethica, et certe allegorica, quibus aliquid petitum a fabulis aut rerum natura, ingeniose ad mores ut plurimum traducitur. Historica sunt ea, quae ducuntur ex historiis, ut Leaenae statua aerea in acropoli Atheniensi posita, de qua 13 emblema. Triumphus M. Antonii triumviri de M. Tullio interfecto, 29 emblema. Hunni Scythici descriptio, 37 etc. Physica vero, ut Bacchi et Palladis simulachris eadem ara erectis, 23, ut de ciconiae ἀντιπελαργίαͺ, 30. Quae tamen ad mores omnia mihi reduci posse facile videntur, quia ex iis omnibus, quanquam non semper ita perspicue, moralis sententia eliciatur.

[39] are of many and varied types, but we can reduce this multiplicity to certain divisions. Thus some are historical, some physical, some ethical, and certainly allegorical, and in them, something taken from fables or natural history is usually applied in a clever way to morals. The historical ones are those which are derived from history, like the bronze statue of the lionness set up on the Acropolis of Athens, as described in emblem 13;[22] the triumph of the triumvir Marc Antony for the killing of Marcus Tullius Cicero, emblem 29;[23] and the description of the Scythian Huns, no 37, etc.[24] The physical ones are such as no 23, with the images of Bacchus and Pallas Athena erected on the same altar,[25] and no 30, on the 'gratitude' of the stork.[26] But these all seem to me to be easily reducible to moral ideas, because a moral meaning can be extracted from them all, although it is not always obvious.

Differre inter se schemata, imagines, seu insignia, symbola.

Quod cum fortasse pluribus ostendo, nolo mihi quispiam succenseat, ut qui nullum plane discrimen constituam inter schemata illa seu insignia vel arma, quae vocantur gentilitia, imagines, et peculiaria hominum vel publica nationum aut civitatum symbola. Scio enim ut primo de schematis, id facile vel tacente me intelligi ab iis qui omnino non sunt obtusi: nullum stemma esse puto, quod symbola et nota non constet: sed tamen non omnia symbola stemmata esse possunt: Alterum enim, nempe symbolum, latius: strictius vero et specialius alterum accipi compertissimum est. Alia vero imaginum ratio, quanquam ad eundem fortasse finem olim Romani sumpsisse videantur imagines, ut posteri, et hodie nobiles sua illa stemmata. Ii certe nobiles erant, qui sui generis imagines poterant ostendere, teste M. Tullio:[73] quae causa fuit, ut saepe imagines pro nobilitate usurpari familiare sit auctoribus. Eas Romae patricii in primis sibi tribuerunt, et qui soli maiores magistratus, nempe aedilitatem maiorem, praeturam, censuram, consulatum obtinebant. Quae imagines quales fuerint, libro 6 Polybius me docuit, Plinius 35, ut etiam M. Tullius permultis locis.[74] Erant enim simulachra quaedam oris similitudinem artificiose fictam, coloribus et pigmentis adumbratam referentia, quas in insigniore domus parte positas armaria lignea includebant. Eas autem imagines diebus festis exornabant apertis armariis: cumque aliquis e propinquis aut affini-

Figures, images or insignia, and symbols differ from each other.

Because I happen to be demonstrating this with a number of examples, I do not want anyone to be angry with me as if I made no distinction at all between those figures or insignia or what are called family arms, images, and the private devices of individuals or the public ones of nations or states. I know indeed, to deal with figures first, that this is understood easily and without my saying anything by those who are not utterly dull. There is no coat of arms,[27] I believe, which does not consist of a symbol and a sign; but not all symbols can be arms. For it is established that one term, that is 'symbol', is taken as broader; the other as narrower and more specific. But the nature of images is different, although perhaps the Romans seem to have taken them up formerly for the same end, as later people and nobles today have their arms. There were indeed nobles who could show images of their clan, as Cicero says. This was why it was normal in the classical writers for 'images' to be used often to mean 'nobility'. They were first assumed by those patricians of Rome, who alone obtained the higher magistracies, that is the senior aedilship, the praetorship, the censorship and the consulate. What these images were like I have learned from Polybius, book 6, Pliny, book 35, and Marcus Tullius also in many passages. They were a type of portrait, representing the likeness of the face artfully composed and simulated in colours and pigments, which were placed in an important part of the house and contained in wooden cupboards. On feast days they opened the cupboards and decorated these images.

[40] bus mortuus elatus esset, in funere circumferebantur, addito ut magnitudine quamsimillimi apparerent, reliquo corporis trunco. Eas demum cereas fuisse me locus admonet Plinianus, quem citavi proxime: ut inde appareat maiorum imagines posteris etiam temporibus nominatas, sed non ita tamen usurpatas. Nam insignia nobilium imagines habent illas quidem, sed non humani vultus, ut fuere olim Romanorum. Pro quibus certe imaginibus posteriora secula coeperunt habere sua illa, quae vulgo arma vocitantur, id est insignia gentilitia: quae ut ad honorem et gloriam veteribus usurpata sunt, sic certe, uti credibile est, fuere postea virtutis praemia, et rerum praeclare gestarum aperta testimonia.[75]

[40] When a dead friend or relative was born out of the house, they were carried in the funeral procession, with the rest of the trunk of the body joined to them, so that together they appeared to be as near the same stature as possible.[28] The passage from Pliny which I last referred to tells me that these in particular were made of wax; whence it seems that 'images of ancestors', were mentioned in later times, but not used in this way. For the insignia of noble people have images indeed, but not of the human face, as were those of the Romans. But it was from these images certainly that later centuries first took what are popularly called 'coats of arms', that is family insignia. Just as they were used by the ancients to confer honour and glory, so indeed, as it can easily be believed, they later became rewards for virtue, and the overt testimony of great deeds.

Quae spectentur in symbolis.

Ad extremum itaque quid ad conficienda symbola in primis observandum sit, adiiciam, ut tandem (eorum gratia maxime, qui hanc liberalem et ingeniosam cognitionem colunt) formulam quandam apponam symbolorum conficiendorum, expeditam illam quidem et facilem iuxta Iovii doctrinam, qui non modo notas heroïcas principibus multis excogitavit, sed et artem quandam apertam et compendiariam admodum inchoavit potius quam perfecit.

1 Symbolorum id proprium et peculiare est, ut gyris quibusdam et maeandris, nempe obscuris sententiarum involucris obtegantur. Si enim tam aperta et popularis esset inventio, nihil doctrinae aut gratiae in iis esse videretur. Quod symbolis Aegyptiorum, Chaldaeorum, Pythagoreorum, Graecorum, et aliorum iam ante quadam ex parte demonstratum est.

2 Deinde, in eo vel maxime sita est symbolorum ratio, ut cum gravitate brevitateque quadam plurimum sententiae contineant: quod observandum notat auctor gravis et acutus Demetrius Phalereus.[76]

3 Id praeterea observatur ut plurimum, ut symbolum habeat aliquam cum adagio seu paroemia similitudinem. Et quidem saepenumero fit, ut symbolorum et adagiorum eadem natura esse appareat, quanquam inter se ratione quadam differant. Quod Plutarchus diligenter observavit in quibusdam:[77] et praeter eum Appuleius, qui etiam exemplum apponit, ut cum olim diceretur, Ex quocunque ligno Mer-

What elements may be observed in symbols.

Finally then, the things that should be considered principally in creating symbols: I shall add, in order to offer (mainly for the pleasure of those who cultivate this liberal and ingenious form of knowledge) a sort of formula for creating symbols, that very handy and easy teaching to be found in Giovio, who not only created heroic imprese for many princes, but sketched out, rather than elaborated completely, a sort of straight-forward and concise manual.[29]

1. The essential and peculiar property of symbols is that they are concealed with certain turns and twists, even obscure layers of meanings. For if the idea were too apparent and familiar, there would seem to be nothing in them to be learned or esteemed. This has already been shown earlier in part with the symbols of the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, the Pythagoreans, the Greeks and others.

2. Then the nature of symbols lies principally in this, that they contain in dignified and brief form a great deal of meaning. This is noted by that profound and acute writer Demetrius Phalereus.

3. It is also taken into consideration as much as possible that the symbol should have some likeness to the adage or proverb. Indeed it often happens that the same nature appears to be shared by symbols and adages, although there is some measure of difference between them. Plutarch carefully observed this in some; and as well as him, Apuleius, who also adds an example, such as, when it was said

[41] curium non fieri,[78] significabant omnia et quaevis ingenia minime ad doctrinam capessendam idonea; neque cuiusque animum ita esse a natura informatum, ut ingenii cultum tam commode capere possit. Quae tamen fortasse magis attinent ad ea symbola, quae oratione vivaque voce usurpantur, non ea quae παράσημα et ἄϕωνα σύμβολα nominantur. Certe inter utraque magna potest intercedere similitudo, ut nusquam esse non possit inter res et verba non minima cognatio: aut si magis placeat, ut aenigmata, sic symbola sunt alia in verbis, in sententiis alia, quaedam etiam in utroque, imo interdum literis atque syllabis. Quod pluribus illustrarem, si putarem id studiosos aliquo tandem modo remorari.

[41] 'Mercury cannot be made of any sort of wood', they meant that by no means all or any minds were such as to be able to acquire learning, nor was the mind of any individual so formed by nature that it can absorb intellectual training so easily. These remarks pertain more perhaps to those symbols which are used in discourse and the spoken word, not to those which are called parasema [countersigns, seals], and 'mute symbols'. Of course, there can be much likeness between the two, as it can never be the case that there is not some slight relationship between the thing and the word; or, if you prefer, like enigmas, so some symbols consist of words and others of sentences; some consist of both, and even occasionally of letters and syllables. I could illustrate this with many examples if I thought it would be of any interest to students.

Ars quaedam inveniendorum et excogitandorum symbolorum.

Ei itaque, qui symbolum aliquod vel schema commode volet effingere, spectanda haec primum proponuntur, [1][79] Ut iusta sit animi et corporis analogia (per animum, sententiam uno, altero, vel certe paucis comprehensam[80] verbis intelligo: nomine corporis, symbolum ipsum designari placet). [2] Deinde, ne ita tenebricosum sit et obscurum, ut Delio natatore opus habeat. [3] Tertio, ut facile conspici et diiudicari possit, si forte aliquid interiectum habeat: ut interdum sunt sidera, stellae, luna, sol, ignis, unda, nubes, syluae, rupes, speluncae, et alia innumerabilia. [4] Quarto, ne qua humana forma, nisi admodum raro, depingatur. [5] Postremo, adhibeatur interdum anima illa symboli lingua quadam nobili minimeque vulgari, ut id παράσημον καὶ ἄγαλμα, ingeniosaque inventio, quae cogitationem requirat, et eam quidem eruditam, multo plus dignitatis habeat et gravitatis. Id autem fieri ab eruditis vel iis qui a liberali et polita literarum cognitione aversum animum non habeant, Graece aut Latine commode solet: aut denique, si magis placeat extera quadam lingua, idque sententia brevi, arguta, gravi, vel adagio, aut etiam hemistichio, integro versu nonnunquam, qui vel recens natus, vel aliunde petitus sit, dummodo argutiarum aliquid et salis contineat. De symbolis, schematis, et stemmatum ratione iam satis: nunc tandem de Emblemate quaedam commentemur.

Instructions for finding and inventing symbols

And so, for anyone who wants to devise some symbol or figure properly, the following considerations are suggested:

1. that the analogy between the spirit and the body should be appropriate. (By 'spirit' I mean the motto, contained in one, two, or, at most, a few words; by the term 'body' I wish to designate the image itself.)
2. Next, it should not be so veiled and obscure that one needs to call on a Delian swimmer.[30]
3. Thirdly, it should be something attractive and easily distinguished, such as constellations, stars, the moon, the sun, a fire, a wave, clouds, woods, rocks, cliffs, and endless other things sometimes are, although there may be something added.
4. Fourthly, no human figure should be represented, unless very rarely.
5. Lastly, that the 'soul'[31] of the symbol should be in some noble, not at all common language, so that this 'mark and image', this ingenious discovery, which demands thought, and learned thought at that, may acquire much more dignity and gravity. This is usually best done in Greek or Latin by scholars or those who are not hostile to knowledge of liberal and polite letters; or, if it is preferred, in some exotic language, and by means of a short, pointed, significant maxim, or proverb, or even sometimes with a half or full line of verse, recently composed or taken from some other work, providing it is in some way vivid and salty. This is enough on the nature of symbols, figures, and coats of arms; let us now study some points concerning the emblem.

De Emblemate.[81]

Plerique sunt non satis acuti, qui emblema cum symbolo, cum aenigmate, cum sententia, cum adagio te-

On the emblem[32]

Most people are insufficiently precise, rashly and clumsily confusing the emblem with the symbol,[33] the riddle, the aphorism, the proverb.

[42] mere et imperite confundant. Fatemur emblematis quidem vim in symbolo sitam esse: sed differunt, inquam, ut homo et animal: alterum enim hic maxime generalius accipi, specialius vero alterum norunt omnes qui aliquid iudicii habeant. Emblema aenigma non est, quanquam interdum cum aenigmate aliquam similitudinem habeat: Ratio enim quaedam est apertior in emblemate, propter notas quae apertae et perspicuae sunt: aenigma vero in verbis ambiguum est et obscurum, ut etiam viros alioqui solertes et ingeniosos interdum longa mora teneat. At symbolorum et emblematum, de quibus maxime hic agimus, ratio debet esse clarior et apertior: ut quemadmodum ab iis imperiti arcentur, sic docti homines aliquid habeant in quo ingenium exerceant. Neque emblema est γνώμη seu sententia, quanquam saepe emblemata sententias in se contineant: nisi fortasse qua ratione emblema sumitur μετωνυμικῶς pro epigrammate seu explicatione emblematis. Γνώμη enim verbis exprimitur: et, nisi fallor, aliter γνώμη esse minime potest, nisi pro eo usurpetur, quod ἐνθύμημα diceremus. Emblema enim saepenumero est ἄϕωνον: nec semper necesse est in emblemate esse adiectum epigramma. Denique, ut uno verbo, sententia et emblema videntur mihi differre ut verba et res, seu signa quaedam rerum, et res signata. Denique non est adagium vel paroemia: quia emblema est aliquid ingeniose ab ingeniosis excogitatum, ut ita dicam: adagium vero sermo sit in ore omnium versans. In quo advertendum an ii acute viderint, et non potius aberrarint, qui quascunque sententias, adagia, similia, apophthegmata, historias ad emblemata posse revocari censuerunt, quasi ex re quavis emblema cudi et confici deberet. Superest itaque[82] emblematis nomen explicemus, si prius Alciati verba ex Commentario in titulum De rerum et verborum significatione apposuerimus. Verba significant, inquit, res significantur: tametsi et res quandoque significent, ut Hieroglyphica apud Orum et Chaeremonem, cuius argumenti et nos carmine libellum composuimus, cui titulus est Emblemata. Haec ille.

[42] I admit of course that the special quality of the emblem derives from the symbol; but they differ, in my opinion, in the same way as man and animal: for anyone who has any judgement knows that the latter in this context particularly is taken more generically, and the former more specifically. The emblem is not a riddle, although sometimes it may have some similarity with the riddle; for the explanation is more apparent in the emblem because of the signs which are open and clear, but the riddle is ambiguous and obscure in its words, so that it may give long pause at times to even otherwise skilful and clever men. But the explanation of the symbols and emblems with which we are mainly concerned here must be clearer and more open; provided that, just as the unskilled are kept away from them, so educated men may have something on which to exercise their minds. Nor is the emblem an aphorism or maxim, although emblems often contain maxims within themselves, unless perhaps 'emblem' is taken, for some reason, by metonymy, for the epigram or explanation of the emblem. The aphorism is expressed in words, and, if I am not mistaken, there cannot be an aphorism in any other way at all, unless it is used in what we would call an 'enthymeme'.[34] For the emblem is often 'silent'; it is not always necessary in the emblem that an epigram should be added. Therefore, to put it in a word, the maxim and the emblem seem to me to differ as do words and meaning, or as the signifiers of things and the thing signified. So too, the emblem is not an adage or proverb, because the emblem is something clever, conceived by clever people, if I can put it like that, but the adage may be speech circulating in everyone's mouth. On this point there is this to consider: have they seen the matter clearly or have they not rather erred, those people who have thought that any maxims, adages, similitudes, apophthegms, or stories can be used for emblems, as if emblems should be knocked up or produced out of any material? And so it remains for me to explain the term 'emblem', after setting down here first Alciato's words from his Commentary on the rubric 'On the meaning of things and words'.[35] He says: 'Words signify; things are signified. But things too can sometimes signifiy, such as the hieroglyphs in Horus and Chaeremon. In this genre I too have composed a little book in verse whose title is Emblemata.'[36] Those are his words.

Emblema quid, unde dicatur, et quomodo id nomen proprie, quomodo figurate accipiatur.

Dicitur[83] Emblema, quicquid interseritur ornatus

What 'emblem' means, derivation of the usage, how the term may be understood literally, and how figuratively.

Anything is said to be an 'emblem' which is inset for ornament

[43] causa, non modo parietibus et pavimentis, sed et rebus aliis permultis, ut vasis, pateris, vestibus: cuiusmodi sunt claviculi, aut imagines aureae vel argenteae, uniones et gemmae, caeteraque generis eiusdem.[84] Id enim nominis deductum esse constat παρὰ τοῦ ἐμβάλλεσθαι , aut ἐπεμβλῆσθαι, quod est inserere, interponere, vel iniicere. Antiquitus enim lapillis quibusdam quadratis et minute sectis politisque, in quibus eicones quaedam intertextae essent, aedes magnatum et principum regiae ut plurimum ornabantur, ut colligere est ex Pausania, Plutarcho, Appuleio, Philostrato, et[85] aliis plerisque: cuius etiam rei usum aliquem videmus in quibusdam templis, tum aedibus publicis et privatis, ut nostra haec aetas antiquitatis aemula pridem esse coepit. Itaque μεταϕορικῶς metafori hic emblemata vocantur carmina, quibus imagines, agalmata, pegmata, et id genus alia scite adinventa, varie et erudite explicantur. Sed et oratio variis verborum rerumque pigmentis et lenociniis rhetoricae artis elaborata, emblematis referta dici figurate potest. Notum enim illud M. Tullii ex Lucilio;[86]

Quam lepide lexeis compostae ut tesserulae omnes
Arte pavimento atque Emblemate vermiculato.

Verba sunt Lucilii poetae comici, apud quem Scaeuola exagitabat Albutium, qui nimius esset in ornatu et structura verborum: in quo non vitabat affectatum dicendi genus doctis auribus odiosum.[87] Caeterum plerique vel suspicari vel obiicere poterunt hic ab Alciato emblemata improprie dici, cum ea carmina videantur potius expositiones esse et explicationes emblematum, id est eorum symbolorum vel simulachrorum, quae ab antiquis petita c magna parte repraesentat,[88] et horum rationem tradit. Sed dicimus adiuncta non temere aliquando subiectorum habere rationem metonymicῶς, et sententiam vel epigramma dici posse, quod emblema in se complectatur.[89]

[43] not only on walls and in floorings, but on many other things, such as vases, bowls and clothing. Such emblems are pins, or gold and silver images, pearls and gems and other things of this sort. The noun term is derived from emballesthai, or epemblēsthai, which is to insert, to put between, to throw in. For in ancient times the magnificent houses of great men and princes were decorated as much as possible with finely cut and polished little square stones in which pictures were woven, as can be gathered from Pausanias, Plutarch, Apuleius, Philostratus, and many others. We can see some use of this technique too in certain churches, and public and private buildings when our own age began some time ago to emulate antiquity. And so 'emblems' is used here metaphorically of the verses with which pictures, statues, theatrical ornaments and other artistic inventions of this kind are variously and learnedly explained. But speech elaborated with the various colours and charms of rhetorical art can also be said figuratively to be loaded with emblems. Cicero's quotation of Lucilius is well-known:

How charmingly are ses dits put together - artfully like all the little stone dice of mosaic in a paved floor or in an inlay of wriggly pattern![37]

These are the words of the comic poet Lucilius; in his poem Scaevola criticised Albutius, who was excessively concerned with verbal ornament and structure, and failed to avoid an affected sort of speech offensive to educated ears.[38] For the rest, many will perhaps suspect or object that 'emblems' is used here improperly by Alciato, since these verses seem to be rather expositions and explanations of emblems, that is of these symbols or images which he presents here, taking them in great part from ancient authors and proposing meanings for them. But I say that adjuncts sometimes have quite reasonably the reference of subjects, by metonymy, and that the maxim or epigram can be so called, because the emblem may include it in itself.[39]

 

Notes (Latin)

 

Notes (English)

1 The preface, entitled 'Quid emblema sit et quae eius ratio' in 1573, was considerably expanded between that date and 1577 to become the 'Syntagma', but undergoes no significant modification between 1577 and 1581. [back]

2 1573. p. 29: qui earum rationem sit accurata disputatione consequutus [back]

3 1573. p. 29: The 1573 text has none of these subdivisions. [back]

4 1573. p. 29: nobis esse potest [back]

5 1573. p. 29: Aegyptios ante [back]

6 1573. p. 29: usum, invenisse [back]

7 1573. p. 29: rudia vel [back]

8 Tacitus, 11.14, or Herodotus, Historiae, 2.36 [back]

9 1573. p. 29: ne a vulgo et ignara multitudine sacra mysteria profanarentur, utque ab iis duntaxat intelligerentur, qui acutiores essent et ingeniosiores [back]

10 1573. p. 29: Harum autem [back]

11 1573. p. 29: rudia et inchoata [back]

12 1573. p. 29: progressum habuerunt ampliorem et maiorem [back]

13 1573. p. 29: Aegyptiis referimus acceptam [back]

14 1573. p. 29: et quasi [back]

15 1573. p. 29: Graeci addiderunt, tanta cum [back]

16 1573. p. 30: ducibus, philosophiis, et aliis quibuscunque, excultus sit et servatus ἱερογλυϕικῶν usus. From this point to the end of the section 'Ars quaedam inveniendorum et excogitandorum symbolorum' (1577, p. 41), the text was greatly expanded. The text of 1573 (p. 30) continues as follows:
... quem etiam in sacris Christianae religionis auctoribus et libris, nedum in profanis observari deprehendimus. Quae philologiae pars cum sit diligentissime libris ἱερογλυϕικοῖς comprehensa, et illustrata viri apprime docti Pierii Valeriani laboribus et studio, nihil est quod a nobis praeterea sit adiiciendum, si materiam usumque symbolorum et characterum paucis attigerimus. Materiam quidem repetimus ex antiquitatis penetralibus, et scriptis auctorum qui in historia tractanda non modo rerum gestarum fidem sunt persequuti sed etiam minutias ipsas attigerunt. Huius quidem rei fidem faciunt Pausanias, Plinius, Apuleius et aliquot alii, cum pictorum et effictorum statuas ingeniose, et solerter excogitatas memorant, et interdum quid sibi eaedem velint, explicant. quod Alciatus noster primo epigrammate aperte indicat, cum ait:

Haec nos festivis Emblemata cudimus horis,
Artificum illustri signaque facta manu.

Finem vero usumque idem aperit, cum dicit ideo Emblemata esse inventa, ut quisque possit addere torulos vestibus, et petasis parmas, ut etiam ἀϕώνοις uti notis atque symbolis in exprimendis animi tacitis notionibus. (For the continuation of the 1573 text see note 81 below.) [back]

17 Much of the following passage is reminiscent of Budé's Commentarii linguae graecae (Paris, J. Badius, 1529), pp. 522-524, and of the prefatory verses of Achille Bocchi. See D. L. Drysdall, 'Budé on "symbolē, symbolon" (text and translation),' Emblematica, VIII,2 (1994), 339-349; but Mignault does not seem to have based himself exclusively on this source. [back]

18 1602, p. 2: Mignault here expanded his account of military signs and signals by fourteen lines. [back]

19 Terence, Andria, ll. 88-89: . . . symbolam / dedit [sic]. [back]

20 Sic. 1583, p. 2: iudicium [back]

21 Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 5.4 [back]

22 1583, p. 3: praeparent [sic] [back]

23 Clement, ibid. [back]

24 Sic. The accepted text has ἔχουσιν. Moralia, 354B-C. [back]

25 Mignault's original chapter on Pythagorean symbols has nothing to do with Clement of Alexandria's, though Clement is the main source for his chapter on Egyptian writing. It also has nothing to do with the collection of aphorisms known as the Symbola Pythagorae, for he here describes more hieroglyphs taken from Iamblichus and Valeriano. The reason for this appears to be that the Symbola Pythagorae are verbal 'symbols', whereas he is writing of visual symbols. When, in 1602, he does include the text of the Symbola Pythagorae (pp. 5-19) and a section on those other verbal symbols, enigmas and anagrams (pp. 32-33), he seems to do so reluctantly and only to respond to criticism he has received. The following is his introduction to the Symbola Pythagorae: 'Verum quia de Pythagorae symbolis meminimus, placet quaedam huc adiicere, quae ad id argumenti genus fortasse conducant, quaeque rerum antiquarum studiosi non aversentur. Fuit unus ille Pythagoras, primus modestiae magister, & qui prior ϕολοσόϕου [sic: ϕιλοσόϕου] maluit, quam σοϕοῦ nomen sibi tribui, et qui ad sobrietatem, primum sapientiae omnis humanae fundamentum, sui seculi homines revocavit. Cuius Doctoris sanè praestantis, & omnium iudicio magni, sententiae praeclarae, quae symbola vulgato verbo dicuntur, notis expressis subobscuris placet obiter enarrare, et aliquo interpretationis lumine insignire ...'
See the English, note 7.[back]

26 Moralia 727B, Quaestiones conviviales 8.7 [back]

27 Iamblichus, De Mysteriis, 1.2; in the Latin translation made by Ficino (Venice, 1503), a iii r (facsimile reproduction by Minerva GmbH - Frankfurt, 1972). [back]

28 Ibid., 7.1-2; 1503, e i v-e ii r [back]

29 See note 32 below. [back]

30 Texts by Psellus on the sphinx, on an 'ekphrasis' of Circe, and on the cave of the nymphs are to be found in J. F. Boissonade's edition (1851, reprinted by Olms, 1967) of Tzetzes' Allegoriae Iliadis. [back]

31 Diodorus 1.18.1 [back]

32 Pindar, Pythian Odes, 8.l.46. Mignault's immediate sources for classical and modern Italian examples are Paulo Giovio, Dialogo delle Imprese (reference to the 1574 edtion, reprinted by Garland Publishing, 1979), Pierio Valeriano, Hieroglyphica (reference to the Lyon edition, 1602, reprinted by Garland Publishing, 1976), and Claude Paradin, Devises heroïques (reference to the 1557 edition, reproduced by the Scolar Press, 1989), and for most of his native French ones probably Barthélemy Chasseneux, Catalogus gloriae mundi (1529) or Jean Bouchet, Généalogies des roys de France (1527). Giovio refers to Pindar for Amphiaraus on p. 9, but he is mistaken; it is Alcmaeon, son of Amphiaraus, who is said to bear this shield. [back]

33 Giovio, p. 10. Statius, Thebais, book 4, ll. 87 and 169 [back]

34 Mignault's immediate source in this case is Valeriano pp. 3B and 274D-E. For Agamemnon, the classical source is Pausanias, who says in his description (5.19.4) of a cedar-wood chest which he saw in the temple of Hera at Olympia: 'On the shield of Agamemnon is Fear, whose head is a lion's . . . The inscription on the shield of Agamemnon runs: This is the Fear of mortals; he who holds him is Agamemnon' (translation by W. H. S. Jones and H. A. Ormerod; Loeb II, 491). Alciato uses this in 'Furor, et rabies' (1546, 27r), but that emblem is not Mignault's source. For Ulysses and the dolphin, Valeriano refers to Stesichorus, but the information comes from Plutarch, Moralia 985, On the Cleverness of Animals, 36. See Stesichorus, fragment 71, in Lyra graeca, Loeb II, 67. [back]

35 Aeschylus, Seven against Thebes, ll. 486-94. Neither Giovio nor Valeriano mention Hippomedon; Pausanias and Statius do, but not the blazon on his shield. [back]

36 This is not in Valeriano, who would have reminded Mignault that it was Minerva who was usually represented with the Gorgon's head on her shield or breastplate (pp. 166D and 202E). Perhaps a misreading of Pausanias, 1.22.7, who describes a relief of Perseus 'journeying to Seriphos, and carrying to Polydectes the head of Medusa'.

In 1602, p. 20, Mignault inserts here two passages from Virgil, the first being part of the passage from Book 7 (referred to immediately after as Book 8), the second from Book 2.[back]

37 Giovio, p. 9. The passage is in fact the last part of Book 7, especially ll. 657-8, 789-90. Mignault quoted this text in later editions (1602, p. 20), but did not make the correction. [back]

38 Sic. Mignault's sentence, uncorrected in 1583 and 1602, needs a transitive verb instead of fuisse, and in fact in the composite edition of 1621, p. LVI, we find 'habuisse'. [back]

39 Giovio, p. 10; but it is Mignault who adds 'Teutons' and names Plutarch's work (Caius Marius, 25.6-7). Mignault is certainly using a Latin version of Plutarch, since this is the text in which Plutarch uses the word ἔμβλημα; in the unusual sense of the part of the shaft inserted into the head of a javelin (25.1). Hermannus Cruserius, for example, renders the phrase as: hastile, qua iniunctum ferro erat (Lyon, C. Pesnot, 1566, p. 259). [back]

40 Factorum ac dictorum memorabilium libri IX (Leipzig, Teubner, 1888). Reference not found, but see Pliny, Naturalis historia, 10.5.16. [back]

41 1577: soeni (sic). 1583, p. 6: foeni [back]

42 Cassius Dio, Roman History, 42.18.3-19.1 [back]

43 Giovio, p. 10. Paradin, p. 86. Plutarch, Pompey, 80.5 [back]

44 Cf. Alciato's own account of the source of emblem no 1 in his De singulari certamine, ch. 43 (Opera - 1547-48 - vol.3, col. 886), reproduced by Mignault in his commentary (1577, p. 48). Both Mignault and Sánchez de la Brozas quote this passage in their editions of 1573. [back]

45 Gabriele Simeoni, Dialogo dell'Imprese (references are to the Lyon edition, 1574, reprinted by Garland Publishing, 1979), in his dedicatory letter, p. 173, and p. 174. The Latin word Republica translates Simeoni's Imperio. See also Paradin, pp. 34-5. [back]

46 Paradin, p. 63. Cf. also Erasmus, Adagia, I v 31. [back]

47 Giovio, p. 10; Simeoni, p. 175. But Mignault was also familiar with Erasmus' 'Festina lente' (Adagia, II i 1) to which he refers in his commentary on emblem 20 (1577, p. 121). Cf. also Chasseneux, Pars priima, 38a consideratio, 99a conclusio. [back]

48 Paradin, pp. 9-10 [back]

49 Eusebius' Life of Constantine, 1.29, gives the well known account of Constantine's vision of the cross and the words In hoc signo vinces. [back]

50 Paradin, p. 10 [back]

51 Paradin, p. 104 [back]

52 Giovio, p. 25; Paradin, pp. 43-5. The Order is that of the Golden Fleece. The source here, perhaps known indirectly through Paradin, is Enguerrand de Monstrelet, Second volume ... des Chroniques de France) ... (Paris, Fr. Regnault [1518]), fo. xxxix r-v: (ch. 75): 'Comment en cest an [1429] le duc de Bourgogne mist sus une ordre qui fut nome l'ordre de la toison.' It is recorded that Philippe le Bon wore the insignia of St Andrew, and that the order consisted of twenty-four knights 'ausquelz il donna a chascun deulx ung colier dor moult gentement ouvré de sa deuise Cestassauoir du fuzil / ausquelz colliers pendoit chascun sur le deuant ... une toison dor ...' (the list is reproduced by Paradin). Cf. also Chasseneux, 49a concl., f. 23 v.

1583, p. 8: The question mark is omitted, as seems to be desirable. [back]

53 Giovio, pp. 20 and 24; Paradin, p. 29. Mignault, working perhaps from memory, or translating Paradin, gives the motto as 'Ulterius' instead of 'Plus ultra'. See the emblem 'In dies meliora' and the note 30 of the translation. [back]

54 Paradin, p. 25; Giovio, pp. 26-8 [back]

55 Giovio, pp. 28-9; Paradin, p. 16. Chasseneux, 17a concl., f. 11 v. 1602, pp. 23-4: a half-page addition on the salamander, the Swiss bear, Charles V's eagle, and the duke of Milan's serpent. [back]

56 Giovio, p. 30; Paradin, p. 20 [back]

57 Paradin, p. 41 [back]

58 Too recent to be in Giovio or Paradin, this impresa may have been familiar to Mignault from personal experience. It appears in Ruscelli's Imprese illustri (1566), pp. 150-151. 1602, pp. 24-5: a half-page eulogy of Henri IV. [back]

59 Paradin, p. 64 [back]

60 Sic, from Simeoni, p. 181 who also has the mis-spelling in the Greek. Paradin, p. 90, gives the correct form GREEK Ἀπλανῶς.[back]

61 Paradin, p. 214; Giovio, p. 32 [back]

62 Paradin, p. 55 [back]

63 Paradin, p. 72 [back]

64 Paradin, p. 56 [back]

65 Domenichi, p. 225 [back]

66 Paradin, p. 57 [back]

67 Giovio, p. 36 [back]

68 Giovio, pp. 41-2 [back]

69 Giovio, pp. 46-8 [back]

70 Giovio, p. 68, attributes this device to Marc'Antonio Colonna, and describes another, p. 64, for Prosper Colonna. [back]

71 Polydori Vergilii Urbinatis Anglicae historiae libri vigintisex (Basle, M. Isengrinium, 1546), p. 162, ll. 10-20 [back]

72 An early version of this section appears in the commentary of the preface to Peutinger in 1571 and at the end of the preface in 1573. [back]

73 The expression imagines familiae is to be found in De lege agraria, 2.1. [back]

74 Polybius, Histories, 6.53, which Mignault quotes, somewhat loosely, in the following phrases; Pliny, 35.6; Cicero, eg. Pro Milone, 32.86; In Pisonem, 1; Epistolae familiares, 9.21.2; Contra Verrem, 2.5.14 [back]

75 Cf Budé, Annotationes (1557), 52D-53B, 'De origine iuris'. Mignault does not seem to have taken into account a passage in Alciato on insignia (Parergon iuris, lib. 5, cap. 13). [back]

76 I.e. the De Interpretatione, 1.9, now usually attributed to a much later Demetrius. [back]

77 Moralia, 35F-36D, How to study poetry 14 [back]

78 Apuleius, Apologia, 1.43. Cf. also Erasmus, Adagia, II v 47. [back]

79 These numbers are in the right margin. [back]

80 1577: comprehensum [sic]. 1583, p. 13: comprehensam [back]

81 This section corresponds to the following text of 1573, p. 30, which continues in the same paragraph after tacitis notionibus (above in note 16): In quo facile observamus differre emblema a gnome simpliciter accepta, ut etiam a parabola, et ab aenigmate. Potest quidem in emblemate sententia esse, si modo emblema μετωνυμικῶς sumamus pro carmine sive epigrammate, quo explicatur ἀγαλμα sive emblema. Huc accedit quod γνώμη verbis exprimitur, et ni fallor, aliter γνώμη esse non potest. Ἔμβλημα verò saepenumero est ἄϕωνον , nec semper necesse est [31] in emblemate esse epigramma. Denique ut uno verbo dicam, sententia et emblema differunt ut res a verbis. Quo loco plerique viderentur ratione aliaque reprehendi, qui quasdam sententias, fabulas, historias, apophthegmata emblematum nomine insignitas esse voluere, quasi ex re quavis emblema fieri deberet; ut si ex quolibet lapillo, gemma anulo aptari posset aut deberet. At ne quidem parabola est emblema: ea enim sermo est in ore omnium vel certe plurimorum versans: emblema sapientum duntaxat. Denique non est aenigma, quanquam interdum aenigmati simile, ratio enim quaedam est apertior in emblemate propter notas quae apertae debent esse et perspicuae: aenigma vero ambiguitatem quandam habet in vocabulis, quam vel doctissimi aliquando explicare, vel summa diligentia non possunt. at symbolorum ratio apertior esse debet, ut quemadmodum ab ea imperiti arcentur, sic docti aliquid habeant, in quo ingenium exerceant. Sunt enim παράσημα haec sive eikones et agalmata reconditae cuiusdam eruditionis specimena, quae cogitationem requirant, quaeque cum novitate quam prae se ferunt utilitatem voluptate conditam non minimam habeant.
See the English, note 31.[back]

82 1573, p. 31: Superest ut [back]

83 1573, p. 31: Dicitur itaque [back]

84 1581, p. 14, adds: Ζωωτὸν vel δαίδαλμα dicitur Eustatio nempè ornamentum exemptile quod innoxiè demi potest vasis aureis vel argenteis, idemque reponi. Mignault seems to have found this in Hadrianus Junius' Nomenclator omnium rerum propria nomina variis linguis explicata indicans (Antwerp, 1567) col. 258b. Junius had edited Eustathius' commentaries on Homer for Froben in 1558. The reference is found in the earliest version of Mignault's introduction - that of 1571, A iii v - but was omitted in 1573 and 1577. So far, I have been unable to find the reference in Eustathius. [back]

85 1573, p. 32: ex Pausania et [back]

86 1573, p. 32: explicantur. Ad haec tritum satis illud est M. Tullii in Oratore ad Brutum ex Lucillio; i.e. De Oratore, 3.43.171. [back]

87 1573, p. 32: this sentence does not appear. 1602, p. 35: Non possum subticere a M. Tullio Verrem reprehendi acerrime, quod emblematum vim, quae esset in Siculorum vasis, abstulisset [Cicero, Contra Verrem 2.4.24.54]; quodque Suetonius ait [De vita Caesarum, 3.71], Tiberium elegantiae verborum studiosiorem, emblematis vocem aspernatum in quondam patrum decreto; commutandum enim verbum censuisse, & pro peregrino Romanum conquirendum. Emblema, ut accipitur a M. Tullio, & Ulpiano Iureconsulto [Digest 34. 2.17 and 19], ornamentum exemptile, quod pro hominum placito vasis argenteis, vel aureis citra incommodum demi, rursusque reponi potest; cuiuusmodi sigilla, aut rerum, vel flosculorum, colorumve simulacra fabrefacta. Nempe ἔμβλημα, Ζωωτὸν, δαίδαλμα attaché pour orner les vaisseaux d'or ou d'argent, uti recte doctus Hadrianus Iunius [see note 84 above]. Χρησένδετα [sic for χρυσένδετα], Martialis [Epigrams, 2.43.11, 6.94.2, 14.97.2], vasa ex auro illigata, quae crustas habent, aut torques ex auro nexiles, ut apud Baïfium [Opus de re vestimentaria (Basle, 1531), p. 18]. Turnebus [Animadversiones, liber XIV in Animadversionum Tomi XIII (Strasbourg, 1599), p. 412, ll. 41-60] noster gemmata vasa, quae consertas auro gemmas, hoc est, λιθίσκους χρυσένδετους teneant, exponit χρυσένδετα. [back]
See the English, note 37.

88 1573, p. 32: hic repraesentat [back]

89 1573, p. 32: complectatur. Denique tametsi varia et diversa sint emblemata, commode tamen revocari possunt ad tria genera. Constat enim alia esse physica, quae ad rerum naturas, earumque causas attinent; quaeque hoc in opere perpauca sunt. Alia historica vel mythologica, quae rem gestam vel ut gestam involucro quodam complectuntur. alia denique et quidem perplura, ethica, quae ad mores informandos accommodata sunt. [back]

1 The translator has tried to be consistent in the use of English terms for each of Mignault's Latin ones (symbolum / symbol, stemma / coat of arms, schema / figure, insignia / insignia, arma gentilitia / family badges). The Italian impresa has been used at only one point for nota heroica, although Mignault uses symbolum in contexts where impresa would clearly be appropriate. When he differentiates between figurae, schemata, insignia, and symbola and when he quotes Giovio's rules, it is clearly to the picture that he applies the last term, as it is also clear that for him the emblem is properly the picture. See also notes 26 and 30 below. [back]

2 From this point to the end of the section 'Instructions for finding and inventing symbols' the text was greatly expanded. See note 16 of the Latin text which is translated:
... which [the use of hieroglyphs] we note is respected even in the sacred writers and books of the Christian religion, not to mention lay writers. This philological part of the subject is most diligently described and illustrated in his volumes of Hieroglyphics by the labours and study of the exceedingly learned Pierio Valeriano; there is nothing for me to add to this, except to mention a few things concerning the subject-matter and usage of symbols and marks. The subject-matter I have sought in the depths of antiquity and in the writings of authors who in dealing with history not only pursued the truth of what happened but entered even into the details. The witnesses to this matter are Pausanias, Pliny and Apuleius and several others, who recall the ingeniously and cleverly conceived images of painters and sculptors and at the same time explain what they were intended to mean. This is what our Alciato clearly alludes to in his first epigram, when he says:

In our leisure moments we have executed these emblems
And signs, made by craftsmen's distinguished hands.

He discloses that their purpose and use are the same, when he says that the emblems were invented so that anyone could attach them as a button to their clothes or a badge to their hat using them as silent signs or symbols expressing their unspoken concepts.[back]

3 Mignault's remark about the reading in Terence may be a correction of Bocchi who has symbolum at this point. The latter's prefatory poem, 'Symbolum symbolorum,' is little more than a versification of Budé's article on the words 'symbolē' and 'symbolon', in his Commentarii linguae graecae; its importance lies in the fact that Bocchi associates Alciato's emblems with the meaning of a metaphysical or religious symbol, a meaning supported in Budé's work with quotations from Pseudo-Dionysios. See the Latin, note 17. [back]

4 I.e. the relationship of the sign to its referent, hence 'truth'. Cf. Cicero, Topica, 8.35 and Quintilian, Institutiones oratoriae, 1.4.28. [back]

5 An echo of Horace, Odes, 3.1.1: Odi profanum vulgus et arceo ... [back]

6 Clement's account seems to say that 'hieroglyphic' is divided into the 'kyriologic' (literal) and the 'symbolic', which is itself divided into literal, figurative, and allegorical or enigmatic forms. [back]

7 See Latin, note 24. Translation by Frank Cole Babbit (Loeb V, 23). The following sentence is also largely from Plutarch. [back]

8 The following is the translation of Mignault's introduction to the section on the 'Symbola Pythagorae' added in 1602 (Latin text, note 25): But since we have mentioned the Symbols of Pythagoras, I would like to add a few points to this which are not irrelevant to this sort of material and which students of ancient history will not shun. This Pythagoras was unique, the first teacher of modesty, the first who preferred to call himself a 'lover of wisdom' rather than a 'wise man', and who recalled the people of his age to sobriety, the first foundation of all human wisdom. The noble aphorisms of this pre-eminent teacher, who is universally considered great, aphorisms commonly called the 'Symbols', I am glad to explain here in passing, since they are are expressed in rather obscure figures, and to shine some light of interpretation on them ... [back]

9 I.e. the Etruscans. [back]

10 In Plutarch, op. cit., 354F-355A, the eye and the sceptre are a symbol of Osiris; in 371E , they are the royal power of Osiris/the sun. In Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.21.12, they are the fore-knowledge and power of Osiris, and in Cyril of Alexandria, Book 9 (Patrologia graeca, 76, col. 960) the divine nature. [back]

11 This survives only in a fragment incorporated by Tzetzes in his prose Exegesis of Homer's Iliad. The relevant extract is quoted in full by Samuel Birch in 'On the lost book of Chaeremon on Hieroglyphics,' Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, 2nd ser., III (1850), 385-396. The name Chaeremon is first mentioned in the Renaissance by the elder Beroaldo, who would have found it in the Suda; it becomes a commonplace after Erasmus and Alciato link it with that of Horapollo. See E. Iversen, The Myth of Egypt and its Hieroglyphs in European Tradition (Copenhagen, 1961), pp. 46-7 and 150-1. [back]

12 Cf. the note by Jean Mercier in his 1551 edition of Horapollo, p. 225. [back]

13 Diodorus 1.18.1; translation by C. H. Oldfather (Loeb I, 57). The rest of the sentence is: 'Anubis wearing a dog's skin and Macedon the fore-parts of a wolf; and it is for this reason that these animals are held in honour among the Egyptians'. [back]

14 Strictly, the manipularis was a soldier of the ranks; the manipulus was a 'company' under the same standard. See for example Polybius, Histories, 6.24. [back]

15 Strangely, not in Erasmus' Adagia. Perhaps a satirical allusion to the knights of the golden fleece. See the Latin text at note 52.[back]

16 That is, in French, 'porc-épic'. [back]

17 Philip II. [back]

18 Or 'Madruzzo'. [back]

19 For example, Robert Gaguin, Compendium de gestis francorum (Paris, Jean Petit, 1507), lib. I, f. ix v: Fuisse regibus francis buffones tris [sic] nobilitatis quidem insigne: sed Clodoueo christianis sacris inititato demissum coelo esse id quod nunc reges gestant lilia aurea quibus subest coeli sereni color quem asurum franci dicunt.
[That the French kings had as their insignia of nobility three toads; but that when Clovis was converted to the Christian religion there was sent down from heaven that which the kings now bear, three golden lilies on a blue ground which the French call azure.]

I have not been able to trace the authors who mention the three crowns, or the lion and eagle. In some cases Mignault may be reporting what he would have been able to see for himself, for example in the chapel of the Duke of Burgundy in Dijon. Cf. Chasseneux, 38a consideratio, 49a conclusio.[back]

20 I.e. William the Conqueror. [back]

21 This triple classification, which Mignault was already using in 1571, is probably inspired by Sambucus: trium tamen praecipuè sunt generum, quomodo & ipsorum expositio, & intelligentia. Nam & de moribus, & natura, & historica, fabulosaque διὰ χαρακτηρισμῶν, καὶ συνθημάτων commode finguntur: sed imprimis vitam, [4] vt historiae, volo erudiant ...
[However they are, more precisely, of three sorts according to the way they are expounded and understood. For there are moral, natural, or historical and mythical emblems, all properly composed of outward attributes and symbolic signs. But above all I would have them teach good living, like histories ...] (Emblemata, 1564, pp. 3-4) [back]

22 'Nec quaestioni quidem cedendum' [back]

23 'Etiam ferocissimos domari' [back]

24 'Omnia mea mecum porto' [back]

25 'Vino prudentiam augeri' [back]

26 'Gratiam referendam' [back]

27 In his commentary on Emblem 1 (1577, p. 51), Mignault refers to some remarks of Alciato on the confusion of schema and stemma (De verborum significatione - 1530, p. 98; Parergon iuris, lib. 2, cap. 30), but does not follow his conclusion here. (It is now accepted in fact that Alciato was wrong on this point). When discussing contemporary examples, Mignault uses symbolum as an equivalent of the Italian impresa, and stemma for traditional and official devices or coats of arms, but here seems to treat schema (literally 'figure') and stemma (literally 'garland') as synonyms. Alciato, seeking to correct a reading in Paulus, had argued that since the Romans used images as symbols of their pedigrees, schema was more likely to be correct, and that stemma, a Greek word, was not used by the Greeks in this sense. Tiraqueau (De Nobilitate, cap. 6, quaest. 14) disagrees with Alciato. Budé (Annotationes - 1557 - 52D-53B, 'De origine iuris'), who does not question the word stemma, may be the principal source for this passage. It is now accepted that stemma cognationum was the correct expression for a genealogical tree (and consequently for ancestry as represented in a coat of arms). [back]

28 In the translation of Polybius by W. R. Patton (Loeb III, 389), the image is said to be a mask, kept in a wooden 'shrine', and to be 'put on men who seem to them [the family] to bear the closest resemblance to the original in stature and carriage'. [back]

29 There are a number of areas in which Mignault's ideas run parallel to those of the Italian impresa theorists, enough in fact to suggest that, if had not read any of their work, he was at least aware of some of their thinking. It is quite possible that Sambucus, on his return from Italy through France in the late 1560's, brought news of what was being done there. Mignault sounds particularly like these writers when he describes the epigram as an 'explanation' of the emblem, which is easier to understand than some other forms of symbol, though worthy of educated people, and is essentially, and sometimes only the picture: The apparent suggestion that the motto of an impresa could be a proverb (p. 41) would, of course, be anathema to all the Italian theorists, but we have to remember that, although he is repeating Giovio, Mignault is talking about the genus 'symbol', not the species impresa. [back]

30 See English translation of the Letter, note 10. [back]

31 In the section 'Unde profectus ...' (p. 36 of the Latin 'Syntagma'), he refers to the motto of Charles V's impresa as the anima; but when quoting Giovio's rules (p. 41), he defines animus as the motto in the first, but uses anima in the fifth, where he is talking of the language of the motto. There seems to be little choice but to regard this as an inconsistency. In the letter to the reader, where he adapts Giovio's 'body-and-soul' terminology to the emblem, he says that the inscription (epigraphe) is the 'soul' (anima) of the whole emblem; but then adds that the emblem consists of the poem expressing the animus, and the picture, expressing the corpus. Here animus might be equated with what some Italians (eg. Ruscelli) call the 'intention' of the impresa or emblem, which apparently in Mignault's view is not necessarily expressed. The Italians however are disagreeing with Giovio about the use of the Italian word anima. [back]

32 The following is the translation of the text corresponding to this section in 1573 (Latin text, note 81): In this, we can easily see that the emblem differs from the maxim in the ordinary sense, and even from the aphorism, and from the riddle. The emblem can contain an aphorism if we take 'emblem' metonymically as the verse or epigram by which the image or emblem is explained. This is supported by the fact that the maxim finds expression in words, and, if I am not mistaken, the maxim cannot exist in any other way. The emblem, however, is often 'silent'; it is not always necessary for the emblem to have an epigram. And then, to put it in a word, the aphorism and the emblem differ as things from words. In this respect many seem to be at fault for another reason, for they have sought to call 'emblems' certain aphorisms, fables, stories and apophthegms, as if an emblem should be made out of anything. It is as if a jewel made of any sort of stone could or should be fitted into a ring. But an emblem is not even an analogy, for this sort of turn of phrase is used by everyone, or at least by the majority, the emblem only by the wise. Then again, it is not a riddle, although sometimes it is similar to the riddle, for a particular meaning is more apparent in the emblem because of the signs which should be open and clear. But a riddle has a certain ambiguity in the terms, which sometimes even the most learned, even with the most careful thought cannot unravel. But the meaning of symbols should be clearer, so that, just as the uninitiated are prevented, so the learned can have something on which to exercise their mind. These parasema [countersigns, seals] or 'icons' and images are examples of a particular recondite erudition, which require deliberation and which offer, along with the novelty of their expression, a not inconsiderable usefulness mixed with pleasure. [back]

33 Mignault's word in Latin here is symbolum, but the sense would seem to require that in this case we understand impresa. [back]

34 I.e. unless, like the second premise of the enthymeme understood as an incomplete syllogism, it is not expressed, is taken as understood. [back]

35 Lecture notes made by Boniface Amerbach in Avignon in 1521, which survive in the library of the University of Basle, show that Alciato did not refer to the Emblems (and Chaeremon) in commenting on the De verborum significatione at that time. The reference were probably added shortly before the work was first published in 1530 at Lyons by S. Gryphius. It consists of a treatise in four books and a commentary on Book 50, rubric 16 of the Digest, and there is an important dedication to Cardinal François de Tournon dated 1 May 1529. Traditionally the rubric read 'De verborum et rerum significatione'; the following words (p. 102) are part of the commentary on the word rerum. At the end, Alciato remarks that some authorities claim that ancient manuscripts do not contain this word, but have simply 'De verborum significatione'. See Denis L. Drysdall, 'A Lawyer's Language Theory: Alciato's De verborum significatione,' Emblematica 9.2 (1995), 269-92, especially pp. 288-91. [back]

36 For argumentum as 'genre', see J. Chomarat, Grammaire et Rhétorique chez Erasme (Paris, 'Les Belles Lettres', 1981), I, 510(3), 511(10), 537(159), and compare Alciato's letter to Amerbach in 1523. [back]

37 The translation of Lucilius 2.84 is by E. H. Warmington in Remains of Old Latin (Loeb III, 29). [back]

38 The following is the translation of the passage added here in 1602 (Latin text, note 87): I cannot omit the story of Verres bitterly reproved by Cicero because he had stolen a quantity of emblems which were on vessels belonging to the Sicilians; nor what Suetonius says: 'Tiberius was rather zealous about the elegance of words and rejected the term "emblem" used in some decree of the senate, thinking that it should be changed and that a Latin term should be sought in place of the foreign one.' 'Emblem', as it is used by Cicero and Ulpian, is a detachable ornament which can be conveniently removed at will from silver or golden vessels and replaced again; these were fashioned in the form of little figures or images of things, little flowers or patterns of colours. Indeed an 'emblem' is 'something adorned with figures, a work of art, as the learned Hadrianus Junius rightly says. Chrysendeta in Martial are gold vessels which have inlays or collars of gold bound round them, as in Lazare de Baïf. Adrien Turnèbe explains chrysendeta as jewelled vessels to which jewels are fastened with gold, that is they are 'mounted with stones inlaid in gold.' [back]

39 This is perhaps not an inconsistency, because in this case he may be thinking of the 'Emblemata' as existing, for a while, without their pictures, though deriving their name from the 'subject' (the picture) with which they are associated. If this is so, it must be granted to Mignault that he was quite correctly informed about the genesis of the emblems - better than Contile, who perhaps started the rumour about the 1522 edition: 'Imperò alcuni si truouano i quali dicono essere stato il detto libro, primieramente stampato senza le figure, ma dopo alcun tempo, furono da quel gran Iureconsulto giuditiosamente aggionte ...' (Ragionamento, 24r) For the significance of the Ramist use of 'metonymy', 'adjunct' and 'subject', and for the relationship of Mignault's emblem theory to Ramism, see Denis L. Drysdall, 'Presence and Absence of Ramus in Mignault's Emblematics and Poetics,' in Emblems from Alciato to the Tattoo. Selected papers of the Leuven International Emblem Conference, 18-23 August 1996. Imago figurata studies, vol. 1c (Turnhout, 2001), pp. 83-104. [back]

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