Printer's Device of Johann Froben

Book Title: Philippi Melanchthonis : De rhetorica libri tres.

Author: Melanchthon, Philipp, 1497-1560

Image Title: Printer's Device of Johann Froben

Description: Printer's device of Johann Froben (d. 1527), featuring the caduceus, with writing in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. “Erasmus in 1520 wrote of Froben and his printer’s mark: ‘If princes on this side of the Alps would encourage liberal studies with as much zeal as those of Italy, the serpents of Froben would not be so much less lucrative than the Dolphin of Aldus…’” (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,, retrieved April 28, 2008). The Greek inscription quotes the Greek text of Matthew 10:16: “Be wise as serpents, innocent as doves.” The Hebrew text is a quotation of Psalm 125:4: “Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!” According to Garth Tissol, the phrase “prudens simplicitas” translates as “wise simplicity” and is taken from Martial 10.47.7. “One of Martial’s most famous epigrams,” Froben is sure to have read it. The phrase “amor recti” translates as “love of the right” and is Statius, Silvae 5.3.248.

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