ut minima, maximum facit
Symb. CXII. Magnam parva facit favilla flammam. Haec pulveris inventio bombardici.
“From a small spark, a great flame. Thus was gunpowder invented.”
ex Achille Bocchi (1488-1562, *). Symbolicarum quaestionum de universo genere (Bologna, 1555 — openlibrary.org, but whose copy?)
“What happens in an emblem or symbol is an explosion of meaning ignited by the spark from the impact of a tiny picture, motto or poem coming together. Bocchi illustrates this concept with his symbol CXIII [in a later edition] on the invention of gunpowder by an alchemist whose pestle accidentally ignited a mixture of powdered sulphur, saltpeter, and carbon. In the resulting conflagration, the alchemist himself was destroyed.”
Barbara See Watson. Achille Bocchi and the Emblem Book as Symbolic Form (1993): 116
tags: alchemy; combinatorics; emblemata; paradox
Achille Bocchi, Symbolicarum quaestionum de universo genere (1555)