December 19 – Salamander

Salamander from Maier’s Atlanta Fugiens1618 (AlcC18MA.GO)

While salamanders are real creatures (lizards), within folklore they have been endowed with remarkable attributes, mainly their ability to withstand fire. The image of a salamander was often used within alchemy as a symbol of the soul and for its connection to the element of fire.

This engraving is taken from German alchemist Michael Maier’s Atlanta Fugiens (1618). This emblem book contains allegorical illustrations, explanatory text and music.

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