Emblemas morales, by Juan de Horozco and Covarrubias

The book written by Juan de Horozco and Covarrubias, Emblemas morales, (Moral emblem) is the first emblematic book printed in Spain. Horozco belongs to a distinguished family of humanists and clerics who held important positions of power in the Spanish main courts. After the editio princeps, his book of emblems had a series of reprints and re-editions: in our Nueva Miscelánea Austral collection we consign the Aragonese edition of Saragossa, whose copies are conserved in libraries such as the Abbey of Montserrat or the Old Fund of The University of Navarra. For a complete overview of the volume, among other key examples of the European emblematic tradition, you can look up the portal developed by the Library of the University of Navarra, titled Deleitando se enseña. There, Rafael Zafra and José Javier Azanza emphasize the author’s decision to use the Spanish language, a fundamental decision to understand the dissemination of the emblematic tradition in the Hispanic World:

The use of the Castilian language is justified according to its author “because our language is so widespread in the world that it is already as general as the Latin, and even some think that Castilian will be more or very presto”; this does not prevent him from writing most of the phrases of his emblems in Latin, although it is also possible to find them in Greek and Spanish.


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