Hieroglyphs: Commentaries on the Sacred Letters of the Egyptians and Other Peoples


Hieroglyphica by the Italian humanist Pierio Valeriano (1477–1560), also known by the Latinized version of his name, Pierius Valerianus, is the first modern study of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Originally published in Basel, Switzerland, in 1556, the book became very popular in Europe. It was reprinted in the 16th and 17th centuries and translated from the original Latin into French and Italian. This Latin edition was published in Lyon, France, in 1602. Valeriano partly based his book on the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo, who is said to have been an Egyptian priest whose work survives in a fifth-century Greek translation that was discovered on the island of Andros in 1419. The Hieroglyphica is often considered a Renaissance dictionary of symbols. Valeriano collates a wide variety of passages from ancient authors and brings together Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and mediaeval symbols, with commentary and numerous illustrations. The work is dedicated to the Duke of Florence, Cosimo de’ Medici (1519–74).

Date Created

Publication Information

Paul Frellon, Lyon


Title in Original Language

Hieroglyphica, seu de sacris Aegyptiorum, aliarumque gentium literis commentarii

Type of Item

Physical Description

644 pages

Last updated: February 29, 2012