12 June 2009
ANTWERP 1571 -- SAMBUCUS, Joannes (1531-1584). Arcus aliquot triumphal. et monimenta victor. classicae, in honor. Invictissimi ac Illustriss. Iani Austriae, Victoris no quieturi. Antwerp: Philip Galle, 1572.
2o (280 x 182 mm). 16 full-page engravings by PHILIP GALLE in text. (Some pale browning.) 19th-century vellum over pasteboard (rubbed). Provenance: The Society of Writers to the Signet (arms on binding).
Dedicated to DON JOHN of Austria (1547-1578) in celebration of his naval victory at Lepanto in 1571, Sambucus's work is illustrated with 16 numbered plates by Philip Galle. These sixteen emblems show military acts and virtues. Don John of Austria was the illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Miguel de Cervantes fought in the Battle of Lepanto. Sir William Stirling-Maxwell noted in his book Don John of Austria or Passages from the History of the Sixteenth Century 1547-1578 (London: 1883): "Of this very rare book I have seen but two copies, my own, and that in the Royal Library at Bruxelles. The author, Joannes Sambucus, well known as a physician and an author of Emblems and Latin verses, was born in Hungary, and died at Vienna in 1584. In his dedication to Don John of Austria, he says that he made these designs for his own amusement, and that the publication of them is to be considered as a testimonial of the admiration and gratitude which he entertained towards the hero of Lepanto and defender of Christendom against the Turks. The winter of 1571-2, during the dismal government of the Duke of Alba, was certainly not a time very propitious for expensive public rejoicing in the Netherlands. The book may therefore be considered as a literary tribute, or pageant on paper, contrived by the author and publisher." Berlin 2940; Landwehr Splendid Ceremonies 32; Praz, p.487.
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