JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 135
We find this splendid woodcut in the book by Guilelmus Caorsin, Obsidionis Rhodiae urbis descriptio, printed in Ulm by Johann Reger in 1496—it is anonymous, identified only as by the Maitre de Caorsin. It depicts the siege of Rhodes (from 305 to 304 BCE), one of the best known and most famous sieges of antiquity, and the handiwork of Demetrius Poliocretes, when he tried to break the back and will of the city of Rhodes (which was a great mercantile center) in its alliance with Ptolemaic Egypt. It is a strong, simple scene, showing the ships of Demetrrus trying to lay siege to the harbor, all under full sail, the their rowers at ready (under protective canopies); the water of the harbor is symbolic and beautiful, and all of the action takes place under an absolutely neutral non-sky.
Another entirely different sort of ship is found in the next
image, its outline revealing the message in a faux-cryptographic siege. It is from a curious piece of complicated
obsfucation by Porphyrius, and is entitled Publillii Optatiani Porphorii panegyricus
dictus Constantino Augusto, printed 99 years after the book above (1595, in
In the Chronicles of Hieronymous we find the following observation on this effort: It is a most extraordinary aggregation of acrostics, pattern poems, and every possible device of useless, mechanical variety of form, of little value, excepting as a sort of dime-museum exhibition of patience and ingenuity…” Be that as it may, the found artforms in the acrostics and other bits is really quite arresting, and remind me more of twentieth century artwork than 4th century BCE poetry.