American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society



Sambucus, Johannes (1531 – 1584). Emblemata, et aliqvot nvmmi antiqvi operis Ioan. Sambvci Tirnaviensis Pannonii. 352 pages : plates ; 17 cm. Antverpiae : ex officina Chr. Plantini, 1584.

[bound with]:

Hadriani Iunii medici Emblemata : eiusdem Aenigmatum libellus. 157 pages, 17 cm. Antuerpiae : Ex officina Christophori Plantini, 1564

Sambucus studied philosophy and medicine and had a love of ancient art and poetry. He had a large coin and art collection and produced a number of these Emblemata in his lifetime. This work contains 220 woodcuts of emblems with another 45 of coins and a portrait of the author. Page 121 shows an early illustration of a tennis match. "The tennis emblem had appeared in Guillaume de la Perrières's Le theatre des bons engins of 1539, and then in the Picta Poesis of Barthélémy Aneau (first edition 1552). Here the emblem is more refined, there is greater form to the rackets and dress of the players, and the tennis balls on the court floor are an important addition. While the net still appears to be a simple rope, two lines of the accompanying poem, 'Temporis iactura' ('A Waste of Time'), draw a comparison between the allure of tennis nets and the more useful nets used in hunting birds. Addressed 'Ad pilulam' ('To the tennis ball'), the poem treats the ball as the deceiver of the young men who waste their time chasing after it". See Christies, London, Sale 3013, lot 155, 28 November 2011.