background image
10
of individual emblems on the themes of love, politics, and religion.
8
For example, love emblems
were especially popular in the Early Modern Period, and Dutch emblematists excelled at this
genre.The Emblem Project Utrecht is devoted entirely to Dutch love emblems of the seventeenth
century.
9
While emblems also are preserved in manuscripts, the projects presented here focus on
the printed artifact, and have a strong component for preservation of, and access to, rare books
and special collections.
10
"Sic Orbis Iter," Emblem number 7 from Peter Isselburg, Emblemata Politica (Nürnberg 1617)
serves to introduce the genre here.
11
This digital image has been altered in order for us to present the German and Latin texts
together as one image and to provide a translation of the German verse into English.The sense
of this arcane image and its texts is something like the proverbial saying "two steps forward, one
step backward."The reader must know something about natural history and that crayfish scuttle
backward.Thus, the crayfish with the globe on its back symbolizes the way of the world, or "sic
orbis iter."The epigram deepens this message and relates it to a moral lesson, admonishing the
reader to avoid the slippery slope of worldly things and to follow the divine path.
On the one hand, this emblem is typical: the Latin motto is placed in a cartouche at the top
of a high quality, enigmatic engraving, depicting a crayfish with a globe on its back. Beneath the
engraved image is an epigram that extrapolates on the interrelationship between motto and
accompanying image. On the other hand, this very typical emblem immediately presents an
exception to the ideal: the German texts of the mottos and subscriptio are not found on the same
page. In the original 1617 edition, these texts are numbered and presented together as a list at the
back of the book. In the 1640 edition the German texts are presented on the facing page of the
image and Latin texts with which they belong. Isselburg's emblems are well known examples of
emblem literature, yet these very typical examples of the genre begin to illustrate some of the
very basic issues which digital projects must confront and which pose fundamental questions faced
by all such initiatives concerning how we digitize and what we are digitizing.The quandary here
is whether to present all the texts and the accompanying images together or to present the book
as a digital edition from cover to cover as it is in its physical appearance.The two digital editions
by the UIUC and HAB show two solutions for dealing with this very easy problem.
12
The proj-
ects associated with this working conference aim to solve even more complex issues and devel-
op standards for the presentation of rare illustrated texts in a Web environment.
Isselburg's Emblem 7 used here for purposes of introduction serves to highlight several features
Illustration: Peter Isselburg, Emblemata
Politica (Nürnberg 1617), Emblem 7,
"Sic Orbis Iter."
8
For German political emblems at
UIUC, see Peter Isselburg, Emblemata
Politica... (1617), for love emblems,
see Triumphus Amoris... (1695), and
for religious emblems, see Josephus
Zoller, Maria Höchst-Wunderbarliche...
(1712) all of which can be viewed
via a search at http://images.library.
uiuc.edu: 8081/emblems/search_
frame.htm. For an example of reli-
gious emblems at the HAB, see
Daniel Cramer, Emblemata Sacra...
(1624) at http://diglib.hab.de/
drucke/th-470/start.htm; for politi-
cal emblems there, see Peter Issel-
burg, Emblemata Politica...(1617) at
http://diglib.hab. de/drucke/uk-
40/start.htm, and for love emblems,
see Paris Gille, Novum Tres Inter Deas
Junonem,Venerem Et Palladem Paridis
Judicium ... (1684) at http://diglib.
hab.de/drucke/xb-4f-386/start.htm.
9
http://emblems.let.uu.nl/
emblems/html/index.html.
10
For a list of emblem books digi-
tized by the HAB, see http://www.
hab.de/bibliothek/wdb/barockdtd/
siglist.htm#Emblembuch.
11
For a facsimile reprint edition of
the imprint from Nürnberg (1640)
with an introduction by Wolfgang
Harms, see Peter Isselburg and Georg
Rem, Emblemata Politica... (Bern:
Lang, 1982). For digitized editions
made from different copies of the
1617 imprint, see note 8.
12
See note 8 for the urls for the
digital Isselburg editions.
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