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The main creators of emblem books in the 16th and 17th centuries were the Jesuits followed by the Piarists. An exception was Johannes Sambucus, János Zsámboky (1531–1584), physician, court historian, the author of several emblem books. He spent a large part of his life in Vienna, but was also in correspondence with lay aristocrats and the high clergy in Hungary. One of his most famous works was the Emblemata (1564) published by Christopher Plantin in Antwerp. The emblem book in our picture was published six years later in the same city by Philips Galle. The volume also contains 16 engravings and the Carmen heroicum by humanist physician Hugo Favolino. The work is generally regarded as a laudation of John of Austria (1547–1578), the victorious Spanish general at the battle of Lepanto (1571), but a number of quite complex interpretations have been recently proposed. Most of the emblems depict military deeds and virtues with Classic inscriptions, triumphal arches decorated with mythological heroes and gods, but also include contemporary references (e.g. Ottoman garments). The work is related to the apologetic literary tradition associated with the heroes of the battle of Lepanto, in which we can perceive the recreation of the Classical literature. The copy preserved in the University Library and Archives is damaged (signatures C5-6 and D1-6 are missing).

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RMK III 134/b 

Arcus aliquot triumphal, et monimenta victor. classicae in honor invictissimi ac illustris. Iani Austriae, victoris non quieturi, auctor Ioan. Sambuco. Quibus adiectum est eiusdem argumenti Carmen heroicum per Hugonem Favolinum. 

Antverpiae [Antwerpen] : apud Philippum Gallaeum MDLXXII [1572] 

Source/author of illustration:
ELTE University Library and Archives