The Emblematum liber of 1531The first edition of Alciato first appeared in Augsburg in 1531, with 104 emblems in the collection. The printer was Heinrich Steyner. The small woodcuts have been ascribed to Jorg Breu. The title translates: The Book of Emblems of that Most Famous Man, Andrea Alciato, Jurisconsult of Milan, to Master Chonrad Peutinger, Jurisconsult of Augsburg (we have a note on Peutinger).
As has been shown by a number of scholars (Bernhard Scholz 1991 providing the most recent and most thorough summary-discussion in English), Alciato was not happy with this edition which was clearly unauthorized, and prepared a second edition of Paris, 1534. The woodcuts of 1531 are charming, though occasionally inaccurate. And the layout is difficult to follow, with titles and images often separated from the poem text by a turn of the page ("perceptual closure" at odds with "semantic closure" as Scholz  puts it). Our sample pages illustrate some of these problems, though to early 16th century readers what we term "problems" were normal occurrences in text layout and illustration. It is interesting to see, however, that they are "corrected" in the second edition, so that the emblem is presented as a complete visual unit on the page.
The original book, an octavo (signed A-E in 8, F in 4), measures 14.3 x 8.4 cm.
Page A1 recto (title page) [As was customary, the publication information is not given here, but on the colophon, F3 verso, which reads "Excusum Augustae Vindelicorum, per Heynricum Steynerum die 28. Februarij, Anno M. D. XXXI."]