Pierio Valeriano, hieroglyphs, meaning, egyptian wisdom, reception, Hypnerotomachia Poliphilii, Caussin, Joannes Annius


Editions on CD:


• Corpus of Spanish Emblem Books

• The Golden Age of European Emblematics

• Emblems of Wither & Rollenhagen

• Alciato, Emblemata. Critical Edition

• Emblems of the Society of Jesus

• Renaissance Books of Imprese

• Baroque Repertories of Imprese


• Hieroglyphics

• Animal Symbolism

• Mythographies


• Renaissance Numismatics

• Complete Works of Hubert Goltzius

proverbial wisdom

• Erasmus’ Adagia. Versions and Sources


• Covarrubias, Tesoro de la lengua española

complete works

• Baltasar Gracián

Treasures of Kalocsa

• Book of Psalms
MS 382, c. 1438


8. Hieroglyphics. Egyptian Wisdom in the Renaissance

THE RENAISSANCE SPARKED an interest in decoding the hidden knowledge believed to be contained in hieroglyphics. The attraction of the mysterious Egyptian images dates back to Antiquity and still fascinates us to this day, but it was especially rekindled in Europe towards the end of the fifteenth century. The entire symbolic culture of the Renaissance and Baroque comes together in this renewed Humanist curiosity.

The work that served as the point of departure was the Hieroglyphica by Horapollo, which was published in 1505 by Aldo Manuzio. The Greek text – derived from the Alexandrian spirit, which was favorably disposed to the fusion of oriental elements – was enthusiastically embraced by Ficino and the Neoplatonism associated with Florence. Artists fixed their attention on those symbols and began to see them as motifs and sources of invention. Later on, the success of Horapollo was cemented by the edition with commentary by Pierio Valeriano – with spectacular engravings beginning in 1575 – which endowed the hieroglyphic material with an encyclopedic order and utilized it for the moral or thological analysis of the natural world.

Valeriano alone, a veritable storehouse of information of quite varied origin, and quoted ad infinitum throughout the Renaissance and Baroque, would justify the existence of this CD, but it contains many other materials: one can compare the ancient sources of Plutarch or Iamblichus, consult the commentaries of Caussin and access Baroque interpretations, and finally have available the complete series of hieroglyphics and pseudo-hieroglyphics that were known in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As a complement, we edit Francesco Colonna’s inaugural and enigmatic work, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphilii, in such close proximity to the world of hieroglyphics.

In preparation.


Titles included:

• Annius, Pseudo-Manetho (Wittenberg 1612; Venice 1583, Italian, translated and with commentary by Francesco Sansovino)
• Caussin, Nicolas, De Symbolica Aegyptiorum Sapientia (Paris 1618; Madrid 1677, Spanish transl. by Francisco de la Torre)
• Colonna, Francesco, Hypnerotomachia Poliphilii (Venice 1499, Italian; London 1592, English)
• Goropius Becanus, Johannes. Hieroglyphica (Antwerp 1580)
• Hieroglyphicum Collectanea, ex veteribus et neotericis descripta (Lyon 1625)
• Horapollo, Hieroglyphica (Venice 1505 editio princeps of Aldus Manutius; Bologna 1517, Latin by Filippo Fasanini; Venice 1547, Italian by Pietro Vasolli; Basel 1554, German; Paris 1574, Latin-French; Paris 1618, Greek-Latin, translated and with commentary by Nicolas Caussin)
• Jamblichus, De mysteriis Aegyptiorum (Basel 1576, translated by Marsilio Ficino).
• Lackner, Christoph, Hieroglyphica (Sopron 1610)
• Meier, Michael, Arcana arcanissima; hoc est hieroglyphica Aegyptio-Graeca. (1614)
• Pignoria, Laurentius, Vetustissimae tabulae aeneae sacris Aegyptiorum simulachris coelatae explicatio (Venice 1605)
• Plutarch, Isis and Osiris (Basel 1571, Greek-Latin, translation by Guilielmus Xylander; Paris 1612, French by Jacques Amyot; London 1603, English by Philemon Holland)
• Valeriano, Pierio, Hieroglyphica (Basel 1575, Latin; Venice 1602, Italian; Cologne 1654, Latin, with commentary by Nicolas Caussin)
• Wendelin, Marcus Fridericus, Admiranda Nili, commentatione philologica, geographica, historica, physica, et hieroglyphica ex 318 autoribus (Frankfurt 1623)


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• 5.4: RSA: A Recapitulation

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• 18.3: Treasures of Kalocsa, Vol. 1: Psalterium MS 382



Discreet Reader

Sancho Panza and the Turtle

An Encounter with the Inquisition

Phoenix on the top of the palm tree

Canis reversus

His Master’s Voice

Virgil’s best verse

To eat turtle or not to eat it

blog of studiolum

•  Chinatown

•  Un viaje a la mente barroca

•  Unde Covarrubias Hungaricè didicit?


open library

• Bibliography of Hispanic Emblematics

Related to this CD: Horapollo, Hieroglyphica 1547

• Alciato, Emblemata 1531

• The Album Amicorum of Franciscus Pápai Páriz

• Ludovicus Carbo, De Mathiae regis rebus gestis (c. 1473-75)

• Epistolary of Pedro de Santacilia y Pax

medio maravedí

Texts and Studies of Medieval and Golden Age Spanish Literature