Origins of Alciato's Book of Emblems

It is typical of us to ask for origins. Perhaps origins and their categories give us a way to organize the chaotic experience of reading. What we provide here are some possible "sources" for the look and method of the Renaissance emblem book.

Of course, it's impossible to separate the categories in any ultimately satisfying way. For instance, the animals in fables are found in hieroglyphics, medieval bestiaries, and heraldic devices, and are explained in the tradition of allegorical interpretation.

Over the next while, we'll be adding notes for those topics not yet linked.

Theories of Language and Signification
Allegorical Interpretation
Biblical exegesis
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
Classical Mythology
Epigrams and The Greek Anthology
Medieval bestiaries and nature symbolism
Ancient coins
Commemorative medals
Heraldic Marks
Guild Marks

Last modified 13 November 1995
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