Alciato's Book of Emblems

The Memorial Web Edition
in Latin and English

The emblems (Latin) The emblems (English)

The emblems (Latin-English parallel) [frame]     Thumbnails: Page 1 | Page 2

Title list and searching Table of emblems Commentaries  

Alciato Editions Secondary Material on Emblems

About Alciato Project descriptionOther sites

Andrea Alciato's Emblematum liber or Book of Emblems had enormous influence and popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a collection of 212 Latin emblem poems, each consisting of a motto (a proverb or other short enigmatic expression), a picture, and an epigrammatic text. Alciato's book was first published in 1531, and was expanded in various editions during the author's lifetime. It began a craze for emblem poetry that lasted for several centuries. We use the Latin text and images from an important edition of 1621 and we give a translation into English.

Notes on use

The emblems may be read in sequence, in Latin or in English, or in Latin-English parallel. If you know a title or a motif that you might be looking for, use our title and searching files. If you know an emblem number, go directly to it via the table of emblems. Though all the Alciato emblems have commentary files, only a few have proper explanatory commentaries. We also have a short note on Alciato, and bibliographies of early editions and secondary sources. Among other supporting documents, we have texts imitated by Alciato from the Greek Anthology.
We have complete texts of the emblems, in both Latin (93k) and English (99k). These texts are very handy if you wish to download for reference or search for words in context.
Finally, a few other sites of interest.

Additional materials

We have installed all the illustrations from the editions of 1531, 1534, and 1546, source material from the Greek Anthology, the whole of Whitney's Choice of Emblemes (1586), and direct links for particular emblems in the French edition of Lefevre now on line at the Glasgow University Emblem Website. All this material is linked through the commentaries for each emblem in Alciato, where appropriate. We also give a list of emblems in Thomas Palmer's Two Hundred Poosees (a manuscript emblem book of c1566) with the links to Alciato, but we do not reproduce the text.
We give the Alciato and Whitney emblems in two sizes. Click on the smaller to get the larger.
We have a working bibliography on the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, and will continue to add other ancillary material.
And, for your further entertainment, we have an edition of Gratiae Ludentes a 17th-century jest book prepared by William Barker, Yvonne Hann, and a group of undergraduate students in English.

What's to come

We will be adding the essay by Mignault De symbolis. We also have forthcoming some notes for a full checklist of Alciato editions, and, finished for now, a short essay on Alciato editions used as alba amicorum.

Site last modified 26 April 2005
William Barker, Mark Feltham, and Jean Guthrie, with the assistance of
Allan Farrell of Memorial University's Arts Computing Centre
Department of English
Memorial University of Newfoundland

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