Content: Titlepage →


This is our edition of Typus mundi of 1627. In this introduction, we have limited ourselves to the essentials.

About Nine Lecturers of the Antwerp Jesuit College

The titlepage of the Typus mundi says: RR.C.S.I.A. These initials represent 'Rhetoribus Collegij Societatis Iesv Antuerp'1, the Jesuit Order of Antwerp. The book has been composed by senior students of the class of Humanities. Each of them created three or four emblems, including a long Latin poem and short poems in French and Dutch. The names of the students are mentioned after the thirty second and last emblem: Egidius Tellier, Balthasar Gallaeus, Gerardus van Rheyden, Ioannes Waerenborch, Ioannes Moretus, Ioannes Tissu, Nicolaus Coldenhoue, Philippus Helman and Philippus Fruytiers; people of whom we do not know much. At the time Jean Matthiae (1601-1669) was their professor of rhetoric. Such a way of teaching was normal within the Jesuit colleges. The colleges provided a humanist education for a large part of the population. Young people were taught Latin and Greek and rhetorics. In the senior classes they were able to use the classical models and to create persuasive texts. So emblematics had been included into the curriculum for its rhetorical function. Making the emblems themselves, the lecturers learned even better how convincing the rhetoric instrument could be. Emblems in the Typus mundi emphasize the joy the students had in appealing to their wit. The collection they created has less to do with the devotional emblem books the Jesuit Order produced in the same era. In that context images and poetry together supported the exercising of faith, certainly a different aim.

About the Typus mundi

Jan Cnobbaert published the Typus mundi in 1627. The full Latin title means Image of the World, in which Calamities and Perils are emblematically presented along with the opposition in feeling between the Love of God and that of man. These calamities and perils are pointed out in all kinds of objects representing human failures. Swords and crowns for instance, represent the dangers of human power. Furthermore a lot of familiar habits pass by, like pride and vanity. Sometimes the examples are somewhat odd and very humorous: Cupid crushing the world with all its goods with a machine (Erit ex hoc æquior Orbis [31]) or Cupid playing pool using globes as pool balls (in Hâc vincitur, illâc perditur [26]).

The cuts are by Phillip de Mallery (1598-?). Some of the them were already used for the Amoris divini et humani antipathia (1626). But the Typus mundi must have had a larger in influence on the Amoris divini et humani antipathia than vice versa. Some illustations of the Typus mundi can be found in the edition of 1629 of the Antipathia.

A portrait of St. Ignatius Loyola fills the frontispiece, properly speaking the thirty third emblem. Loloya is standing on top of the world, looking into heaven. He despises what is below and respects what is above. Only the important places on earth are marked - the Jesuit seminaries or colleges.

Without any doubt the four editions of the Typus mundi (1627, 1630, 1652 and 1697) proof that it has been a popular book. In addition a part of the emblems has been copied in the first and second book of Francis Quarles's Emblemes (1635). More important is the influence on the Poirters, Ydelheit des weerelts, which exploited the success of its ancestor.

Copy Used for this Edition

In preparing this edition of Typus mundi we have used the copy of Utrecht University Library, call number LBKUN RAR LMY TYPUS 1/I-II.


The full text has been transcribed and encoded using TEI mark-up, to allow for flexibility in presentation and non-destructive editorial enhancement of the text. The full project guidelines for transcription, editorial intervention and indexing of the text are available elsewhere on this site.

In transcribing the text, we corrected the page numbers 100 through 140. In the original text, these pages are by mistake numbered 200 through 240. Our (new) page numbers are placed in between brackets.


The full Emblem Project Utrecht bibliography may be accessed using the menu option at the top of this window. A selection of literature relevant to the Typus mundi follows here.

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This brief sketch of the Antwerp Jesuit Order is based on Moseley, Century of Emblems, Daly, Emblematic Publications, Porteman, Nieuwe gegevens, pages 195, 200, 205 and 211, and Porteman, Inleiding tot de Nederlandse emblemataliteratuur. The full name of the order is named in the 'Approbatio' on page 142.