Editions on CD:


• Corpus of Spanish Emblem Books

• The Golden Age of European Emblematics

• Emblems of Wither & Rollenhagen

• Alciato, Emblemata. Critical Edition

• Emblems of the Society of Jesus

• Renaissance Books of Imprese

• Baroque Repertories of Imprese


• Hieroglyphics

•  Animal Symbolism

• Mytographies


• Renaissance Numismatics

• Complete Works of Hubert Goltzius

proverbial wisdom

• Erasmus' Adagia. Versions and Sources


• Covarrubias, Tesoro de la lengua española

complete works

• Baltasar Gracián

Treasures of Kalocsa

• Book of Psalms MS 382 c. 1438


Joaquín Setantí: Centellas de varios conceptos

Edited by Emilio Blanco.

Joaquín Setantí (c. 1540-1617) was an important figure in the municipality of Barcelona at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He appears to the modern reader as an avid buff of History and political reflectio, as part of the movement known as tacitism. He dedicated several monograhs to these matters, among which Centellas de varios conceptos (1614) stands out, due to its originality and being the first of its kind. Our author was a precursor of Baltasar Gracián and of the other great cultivators of aphorisms during the Spanish Baroque. With this edition we offer the reader a work both little known but also highly necessary for an understanding of the history of the aphorism and of European gnomic literature. A reading of these 500 dense Centellas (sparks) reveals a modern political and personal attitude that marks an important milestone in Spanish sententious literature.

Professor Emilio Blanco's introduction carefully sets forth a definition of the aphorism in relationship to its closest literary forms, and he situates Setantí's work within its Baroque context, while offering abundant textual annotations.

As an example, we offer here several of the aphorisms in English translation (without the author's notes).










Centellas 412 - 416

412. Since the tongue has lately become looser and lighter than thought, sharper than the blade of a knife and given to slicing into the lives of others, there is hardly a human deed that can escape its wounds. Thus, one must live in the world aware of this pretext.

413. Let the world, then, go on as it will; let time alter and stir up customs; let everyone follow slavishly after their whims; let some ascend and others fall; for since life is so short and death common to everyone, all the things we see are of little import.

414. Often, well-ordered resolutions are made which, due to a lack of order in carrying them out, result in new and tremendous examples of disorder. Thus when giving counsel it is not sufficient simply to deliberate prudently, for it is even more important to know how to choose wisely those who will carry out the matter under deliberation.

415. It seems to me that in no other matter should Princes take greater care than in the choice of counsellors, because errors are born of ignorant advisors, evils of malicious advisors, and both kinds result in the perdition of republics.

416. For the acquittal of judges, for the punishment of lawyers and prosecutors, and for the benefit of litigants, it would be good if a Council was formed in every province in order to resolve and bring harmony to civil differences, and nobody would be allowed to initiate a new suit who had not first passed through the melting pot of concord in order to prevent in this way the loss of estates, since we see clearly that endless delays in lawsuits bring about greater harm than favorable sentences bring about advantages.


Medio Maravedí is a copublication of
the Universitat de les Illes Balears
and José J. de Olañeta, Editor.


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• 18.3: Treasures of Kalocsa, vol. 1: Psalterium MS 382



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biblioteca abierta

• Bibliography of Spanish Emblematics

• Horapolo, Hieroglyphica 1547

• Alciato, Emblemata 1531

• The Album Amicorum of Franciscus Pápai Páriz

• Ludovicus Carbo, De Mathiae regis rebus gestis (c. 1473-75)

• Epistolary of Pedro de Santacilia y Pax

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