Saturday, November 14, 2009

LOC Printers' Marks, Latin and Greek Mottos

Library of Congress, November 2009. Two early printers' marks painted on the ceiling of the Jefferson Building.

On the left, D. Appleton & Co. (note D A & CO on the shield). The Latin inscription in the ribbon reads INTER FOLIA FRUCTUS (fruit among the leaves) = e.g., the  "leaves" (i.e., pages of book) yield "fruit" (knowledge).

On the right, the De Vinne Press. The Greek inscription is a citation from "Prometheus Bound" (Προμηθεύς δεσμώτης), a tragedy by Aeschylus (Αἰσχύλος):

καὶ μὴν ἀριθμόν, ἔξοχον σοφισμάτων,
ἐξηῦρον αὐτοῖς γραμμάτων τε συνθέσεις,
μνήμην ἁπάντων, μουσομήτορ᾽ ἐργάνην. (Fragment β' lines 459-61)

[Prometheus speaks here: "Yes, and numbers, too, chiefest of sciences, I invented for them (humans), and the combining of letters, creative mother of the Muses' arts, with which to hold all things in memory."]

If you're interested, you can take a look at the original Greek text and an English translation.

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