The 22 hebraic letters, from Johannes Reuchlin’s Principium libri de rudimentis hebraicis, 1506. Reuchlin’s interest in the hebraic alphabet stem from his investigations in the recently founded Christian cabala, itself built on the Jewish cabala of Spanish origins (but thought by Reuchlin to be much more ancient); hence the reference to Plato’s Cratylus dialogue immediately afterwards (where Socrates investigates the meaning and origin of individual greek letters).
The mountain where amber is found; close to a source, appears a creature of human form, and another with the head of a horse. (Persian manuscript, XVIth century)
… in which Church some Portuguese, a few years ago, took part in a strange brotherhood. They married male to male at the Mass, with the same ceremonies as our marriages, were doing Easter together, reading the same nuptial gospel, and then sleeping and living together. The Roman spirits said that, because the other conjunction of male and female is legitimated by this only circumstance, as in a marriage, it seemed to those fine people that this other action would be similarly just, authorized to the ceremonies and mysteries of the Church. Eight or nine Portuguese of this fine sect were burnt.
Michel de Montaigne, Travel journal in Italy via Switzerland and Germany in 1580 and 1581, with notes by M. de Querlon, published in Paris in 1774. While the text makes it clear that Montaigne was not disapproving those same-sex weddings, the commentator feels forced to add a footnote about the “sacrilegious monstrosity of this impiety”.
Torments of the damned: idlers and lazy. From Calendrier et compost des bergiers. La grant danse macabre, 1531 (Shepherd’s calendar, the Dance of Death)
Ancient Goth alphabet, from Olaus Magnus, History of Northern Peoples, French translation, Paris, 1561. Inspired the Cirth.
A comet, as depicted in Ambroise Paré’s complete works, XVIth century.
Figure d’une Comete admirable veuë en l’air. Iosephe & Eusebe escrivent qu’apres la Passion de Jesus-Christ, la miserable destruction de la ville de Hierusalem fut signifiee par plusieurs signes, & mesme entre les autres une espouventable Comete en forme d’espee luisante en feu, laquelle apparut bien l’espace d’un an sur le temple: comme demonstrant que l’ire divine se vouloit vanger de la nation Judaïque, par feu, par sang, & par famine. Ce qui advint, & y eut une si calamiteuse famine, que les meres mangerent leurs propres enfans: & perirent en la Cité durant le siege des Romains plus de douze cens mille Juifs, & en fut vendu plus de quatre vingts dix mille.
Figure of a comet seen in the air. Joseph and Eusebius write that after the Passion of Jesus-Christ, the miserable destruction of the city of Jerusalem was signified by several signs, and among others a terrible Comet like a gleaming sword in flames, that appeared for one year on the temple: as to demonstrate that the divine anger wanted to take vengeance upon the Jewish nation, by fire, by blood and by starvation. Which happened, and there was such a desastrous famine, that mothers ate their own children: and died in the City during the Roman besieging more than 1,200,000 Jews, and 90,000 were sold.
Mechanical prosthetic hand, from Ambroise Paré's complete works, XVIth century.
La Table et description universelle de toute l’Afrique, voire estendue outre les limites de Ptolemée, by the cartographer Sebastian Münster, published in 1552. Most notable is the presence of monocoli, cyclops, in the current-day Cameroon.
Evil spirits, called Aygnan, tormenting Brazilian Indians (Esprits malins, appelés Aygnan, tourmentant des Indiens du Brésil) — Illustration from the 1580 edition of Histoire d’un voyage faict en la terre du Brésil, autrement dite Amérique, by Jean de Léry. Another version of this interesting picture can be found on the website of Confins, a Franco-Brazilian geographical publication.