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See my earlier post on the work of Camerarius here for some background. Today the emblem is “Non levis ascensus”. The distich reads “Disce, puer, virtutem ex me verumque laborem, Si verae ornari laudis honore cupis” [1]. The text has both been literally and liberally translated by Gibbs [2]: In the emblem, you can see the snail slowly making its way up the hill. It’s a lot of work for the little snail, but exactly because the ascent is not undertaken lightly, there is real praise to be earned by reaching the top!

The two snails are shown with two tentacles only, and an eye-spot. The upper shell seems more or less segmented, the lower shell smoother.


While one snail is moving to the right and has a dextral shell, the snail in the foreground is sinistral and moving to the left. If one assumes that these are views from both sides, the snail in the foreground may still be dextral if it was drawn in ‘squashed 2D mode’ and a further assumption is the umbilical side of the shell was incorrectly drawn (i.e. not showing the depth of the umbilicus). That’s a lot of assumptions to be made! Indeed, the top is not reached lightly….

[1] Digitally available in Münchener Digitalisierungs Zentrum, urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb00028237-8.
[2] http://bit.ly/1oPtk57.