Switch to Dual Emblem Display

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Oo1r]


Hi colubris colubri, cristas tollente Ceraste,[1]
Conferti pariter, sinuosa volumina quorum
Dextra secat, gladium caeli quae librat ab arce,
Quos signent rogitas? satis & re & nomine notos,
Quos Satan, armavit iusti quem numinis ira
Terrarum exitio, funesto excivit ab orco.
Ast hominum tandem sortem miseratus acerbam
Exerto verbi Christus nunc dissecat ense.[2]

You ask what they mean, these snakes, with the horned dragon bearing plumes/crests, entwined likewise with snakes, whose sinuous mass the right hand, which brandishes a sword from the citadel of heaven, severs. Satan, whom the anger of the just God armed for the destruction of the world, brought forth from the infernal regions of the dead those who are sufficiently known by name and by their essence. But Christ, taking pity on the bitter fate of mankind, now cuts [them] with the brandished sword of the word.


1.  Cerastes, the horned-serpent or viper, refers to Satan or the Antichrist. See Genesis 49:17 and Apocalypse 13:11. Here the pictura clearly identifies this serpent with the Papal tiara, bishops’ mitres and doctors’ caps of the Catholic Church.

2.  The sword as the Word comes from Ephesians 6:17.

Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

Relating to the text:

Hint: You can turn translations and name underlining on or off using the preferences page.


Back to top