A list of the available books is displayed when you click on the tab “Books”, located at the top of the page.

To browse a book, select where to start, clicking your preferred option: “Page index”; “First page of the book (transcription)”; “First page of the book (facsimile image)”; “Emblem / Impresa index”.

Books are displayed page by page.

By default, they are displayed as transcriptions (placed in the left side of the webpage) accompanied with a facsimile reproduction of reduced size, expandable by a simple click.

Above the transcribed text and the reduced facsimile, a grey box contains the number of the page currently displayed and links to “previous” and “next” pages, to the “index”, and to the other two display options: by “facsimile” only (with no transcription) and “dual” (which shows both transcribed version and facsimile, side by side).

To go back to the list of books or to the browsing options for the current book, click on “Books” or on the abbreviated book title (above the grey box).

Click “Emblem / Impresa index” to browse a book by emblem or impresa. When you select this browsing option, emblems and imprese are set out in ordered succession. Each page displays all the relevant elements of an emblem or impresa (pictura, motto, commentary, etc.), with links to the pages where they are actually located in the printed book. This option can be particularly useful for books with long and irregular prose sections (as treatises or dialogues).


Click the “Search” tab at the top of the page to reach the search page.

The Search page offers three options: “Free-text search”; “Iconclass search”; “Other options”.

The “Free-text search” allows you to find all the occurrences of a string of up to three words. The result page displays every occurrence of the string, along with a portion of the surrounding text. A link to the whole of the relevant page or emblem/impresa is available under each result.

You are free to type your query string either in the form you would expect to find it in a Renaissance text, or according to modern usage (for example, searches on the Italian verb “avere” return also portions of texts containing “havere”, and viceversa).

For queries on ancient Greek sentences, please type the transcription in Latin characters (see the correspondence table).

Click the appropriate radio-button to select whether to search words beginning with the string typed in the query box, or words exactly matching the string, or phrases.

By default, searches can be performed on the entire corpus; from the “Limit by book” menu you can restrict your search to a single book.

You can also perform a more refined search, restricted to single parts of the book or of the corpus, by using the “Limit by text type” menu and selecting one out of the following types: “motto / title”; “primary text / subscriptio” (as authorial epigrams and subscriptiones); “secondary text” (as authorial commentaries or theoretical sections); “number” (where the author numbered his emblems or imprese); “other”.

The Iconclass search allows English language Iconclass terms that describe the pictura to be searched without finding the search term in other emblem text types.

Other options include "Search for names in all books" and "Find emblems/impresa belonging to keepers". The name search lists proper names included in the texts of all books. Clicking on a name will link to a list of texts including that name with the name highlighted. The search for keepers lists the names for emblem / impresa keepers. Clicking on a name retrieves the emblems / impresa belonging to that keeper.

General rules

Queries are case-insensitive (you can type your query in uppercase or lowercase, indifferently).
Accents on characters in the text are ignored for search purposes.
Apostrophes may be included in the search string.
Other punctuation marks are not included in the search text and should not be used.

Transcription conventions

Orthographic features differing from modern usage and regularly occurring in the text have been silently normalised, according to the following criteria:

  • à (preposition) → a
  • à, ì, ò, ù within monosyllabic words → normalised according to modern usage
  • è, é → normalised according to modern usage
  • (present tense of “avere”) → ho
  • u/v; i/j  → normalised according to modern usage (e.g. u and i for vowels and v and j for consonants)
  • long s or double s (ß) → ss
  • all ligatures have been expanded (e.g.: fi, ffi, ff, si, ssi, ss, st, as, es, is, os, us, etc.)
  • all digraphs have been expanded (e.g. æ becomes ae, œ becomes oe, etc.)
  • stars, ornamental punctuation and other dingbats have been removed


Books are either in Italian or in Latin, with rare passages in other languages (mostly Greek, Spanish, French).

English and Italian translations of passages in languages other than Italian should be made available with next revisions of the website.

Informative materials and instructions are in English.

Copyright questions – Orders


The copyright of all transcribed material in edited pages resides with the University of Glasgow, and due acknowledgement of this should be made by users.


For the images, copyright also resides with the University of Glasgow.

No images may be reproduced without the express permission of the appropriate copyholder.

Photographic orders

For information on how to order images of publishable standard, please refer to or apply to:

Department of Special Collections
Glasgow University Library
Hillhead Street
Glasgow G12 8QE
Phone: 0141-330 6767
Fax: 0141-330 3793