Our New Series Via Romana Celebrates the Roman Way of Life

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New for Fall 2014, our Via Romana series is inspired by the 1579 binding of Parvus Mundus by Laurentius Haechtanus Goidtsenhovius. Parvus Mundus, meaning “small world,” is a book of Latin poetry and accompanying emblems depicting classic tales of Roman mythology and early religion. The poetry and illustrations within Parvus Mundus are all cautionary morality tales that speak to “Via Romana,” or “the Roman Way of Life.”

Parvus Mundus

The original book upon which our Via Romana series is based has a brown leather cover decorated with an embossed centre piece of stylised scrollwork and four gold-plated corners. Though published in Belgium, the poetry was all written in Latin, the language of choice of Parvus Mundus’ author, Laurentius Haechtanus Goidtsenhovius (1527–1603). These poems of classic Latin mythology were accompanied by partly coloured emblems (thematic illustrations) that were engraved in steel by Gerard de Jode (1509–1591), a famed Flemish cartographer and publisher.

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Via Romana

“Via Romana” is a set of ethics by which the ancient Romans lived their lives. Though written in Belgium during the late 16th century, Parvus Mundus told these classic stories because they highlight the still-relevant moral conflicts people are faced with in daily life. As the direct application of Roman ethics, virtues and everyday philosophies, the cornerstones of Via Romana are the Virtues: those qualities that define the ideal state of being and behaviour of the Roman Citizen. We have selected the names for our two Via Romana journals, Concordia and Fortuna, from these virtues.

Concordia and Fortuna from Paperblanks®

Two of the most predominant Via Romana Virtues covered in Parvus Mundus are Concordia and Fortuna, and it is for this reason that we have chosen these names for our Fall 2014 book covers. In the poetry of Parvus Mundus, people who choose the virtuous path are rewarded with good fortune, and people choosing the selfish route receive miserable fates. Concordia, meaning “harmony among the Roman people, and also between Rome and other nations,” and Fortuna, meaning “an acknowledgement of positive events,” bring these classic cautionary tales into our modern world.

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