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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D5r p57]


Nec igni, nec ferro cedit.

It yields neither to fire nor to the sword.

Bipennis hinc, fax inde vivum ignem vomens,
Nexum adamante suo decussat annulum probè.
Fortis animus, constansque, victor omnium,
Despuit intrepidus pericula & saevas cruces.

On one side an axe, on the other a torch spewing out living flame, Form a cross in the ring fastened with its diamond. The spirit of a strong man, constant, all-conquering, Fearless, thinks nothing of dangers and fierce torments.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I7v p142]

Adamas ut inter gemmas facilè principa-
tum obtinet, neque mirum, quippe cui vis indo-
mita nomen Graeca interpretatione dedit;[1] ita
duarum violentissimae naturae rerum, ferri ignisque
contemptricem vim singulari praerogativa iam
olim possidet, atque auctoritate scriptorum veluti
mancipi tenet: quando enim incudes, nedum mal
leos ferreos dissilire inusita [=inusitata] sua duritie faciat;
hinc est quod adamantem (quem opum gaudium
praeclaro elogio nuncupat Plinius[2]) reliqua vi om-
ni infragilem atque invictum, solo hircino sangui
ne, nec nisi recenter à caede fervente, rumpi posse
naturalium rerum ventilatores negant. Emble-
ma desumptum est (ne quis nobis fascinus[3] à ma-
levolis obrepat, qui candidè nostros labores in pu
blicum proferimus) è librorum Pragae, quae Bo-
copiosissima facile & litterarum studiis ce
leberrima est civitas, excusorum frontispicio: uti
annulus pala inclusum habens adamantem, de-
cussatim praefert hinc securim Amazoniam; inde
trullam ferream igne ardente coruscam.

The diamond holds easily the pre-eminent place among gemstones, and no wonder, seeing as its invincible strength gives it is name in Greek; it possesses a strength that is disdainful of two of the most destructive things in nature, iron and fire - now for a long time known as a unique distinction, and one for which the authority of the [ancient] writers stands as it were as surety. For if you try it in a gorge, it makes even iron hammers smash in pieces with its extraordinary hardness. This is why the diamond (which Pliny in a famous phrase calls ‘the joy of wealth’) is said by the winnowers of natural history to be indestructible and invincible, and unable to be broken by any other force except only the blood of a goat, and then only if it is still warm from having been recently slaughtered. The emblem is taken (lest anyone steal our talisman against the spiteful, when we have openly and honestly offered the fruit of our labours to the public) from the frontispiece of books printed in Prague, which is far and away the richest city in Bohemia and the one most famous for its learning. In it a ring holding a diamond clasped in a bezel holds crosswise on the one hand an Amazonian axe, and on the other an iron crucible glowing with burning fire.


1.  Greek adamas (adamas), the equivalent of Latin indomitus ‘invincible’.

2.  Natural History, 10, preface, 2.

3.  Usually fascinum: a piece of witchcraft; in particular a phallic charm against evil spells, hung around the necks of children; hence also, a penis. The ‘talisman’ is the protection of honesty against malicious charges of plagiarism.

Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

Relating to the text:

  • Courage, Bravery, Valiance, Manliness; 'Ardire magnanimo et generoso', 'Gagliardezza', 'Valore', 'Virtù heroica', 'Virtù dell'animo e del corpo' (Ripa) [54A8] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Reciprocal Action (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54EE11(+4):54A7(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosità dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virtù del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Victory [54F2] Search | Browse Iconclass

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