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


Discreet Reader

IN THIS SECTION we offer some of the curiosities that strike us while advancing in our editions and other projects: things that have stirred our interest, either because they illustrate a passage held to be obscure, or  because they give us the surprise of an unexpected fact, or simply because browsing through the books we have felt that we had learnt something new.

We write these notes in order to share our certainties and doubts. Their aim is to be useful to our fellow humanists. And our wish is that over time they might form an archive of dates on various aspects of the culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

In this silva there are also included reviews on publications and events that relate to our work. Thus we will be grateful for notices on editorial news, meetings of researchers, and conferences, as well as of other projects.

We are bold enough to consider this our silva a digital review, and its articles will follow each other with frequency. If any reader should wish to quote from them, he or she can do so by indicating the source in this way:

"His Master’s Voice. Johannes Sambucus and his dog Bombo," Silva 3, 15-12-2004 (

When the articles or reviews are signed as studiolum, it means that its authors are to be regarded as Antonio Bernat Vistarini, Emilio Blanco, John T. Cull and Tamás Sajó, that is, the editors of silva.

However, this silva is also open to anyone who wishes to collaborate with a work of his or her own. Naturally, in the event of publication, the authors will be identified with their own name.


It was a sentence and opinion of that great Philosopher Plato, that man was not born for himself only, but also for the use and utility of his motherland, and of his friends. And all the school of the Stoics conforms with this, asserting that people were created and formed for the sake of [other] people, and thus they were born obliged to help each other, and to be of use to one another. So if the natural light in itself shows and declares this to us, how much more the Christian man should understand this, to whom the Divine Law bids to love his neighbour as himself. This being known to me, and several times considered by me, o Christian and friendly reader, I, having spent a large part of my life in reading and browsing through many books, and in various studies, I decided that if in these I have acquired any erudition or knowledge of things (which, of course, is very little), I am obliged to share it, and make participants in it my fellow countryment and neighbors, by writing something that should be public to everybody. And as in these and similar things the judgements of people are so different, and each goes his own way, I also follow my own, so I contrived and decided to write this book with different discourses and chapters dedicated to different subjects, without keeping myself to one, or keeping order in them. This is why I gave it the name Silva (that is forest): for in the forests the plants and trees grow without any order or rule. And although this way of writing is new in our Spanish language, and I believe to be the first to have taken this invention in it, nevertheless in the Greek and Latin tongues very eminent Authors wrote in this way, such as Athenaus, Vindex Caecilius, Aulus Gellius, Macrobius, and even in our times Petrus Crinitus, Ludovicus Caelius, Nicolaus Leonicus, and many others. And as the Spanish language, if one considers it well, does not have reason to recognize itself inferior to any other: therefore I do not see why one should not dare to take over the inventions of the others, and treat high subjects, as the Italians and other nations do in their own languages; for in Spain there are not missing witty and high geniuses. Therefore I, appreciating the language learnt from my Fathers and of my Tutors, wanted to offer these vigiliae to those who do not understand the Latin books. They are those whom I principally want to enjoy this work, for they are the most in number, and they have the greatest need of it, and the greatest desire to know about these things. For I tried to speak about matters that are not very common, nor vulgar, but are high and very useful, at least in my judgement. How much study it has cost me to write and order this work, and how many books I had to read and browse, this I leave to the judgement of the discreet and benevolent reader, for I do not care to place overmuch value on it. Neither will I answer to the malicious, nor defend my work from murmurers, as all people do in their forewords, for I know well how many errors, inadvertencies and carelessnesses it contains. On the contrary, I will regard it a singular benefice, if you will advise me about my errors, in order that I might, if God wills, emend and revise them. And if someone reads my book with the sole intention of besmirching and judging it, I want to warn him that he is committing an offence to God with this, and that he should rather set himself to writing and composing something for the common good, instead of obstructing and despising those who animate themselves and get on with doing it. And let both the former and the latter be be assured that I did what I could, and made every effort not to commit errors in anything, and make my work very perfect; and they should accept my intention with good reason and mind, even if it perhaps does not merit it. Concerning historical truth and all pertaining to it, I certainly did not say or write anything that I have not read in some book of great authority, as I refer to it in most cases. So it will be a just thing that before anyone judges what he is going to read, first he considers the authority and reason I offer. For not everything that one does not know or understand has to be regarded as uncertain. Finally I conclude that this writing, being dedicated to His Imperial Majesty our Lord, to such a high name, should be treated with consideration, even if it does not merit it. (Pedro Mexía, Silva de varia lección, Madrid: Matheo de Espinosa y Arteaga, 1673, «Prooemium and preface of the work», s.n.).


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• 5.4: RSA: A Recapitulation

• 4.4: DVD edition of Covarrubias, Tesoro de la lengua española

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



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

• 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