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Title page.
Title page.

Atalanta Fugiens or Atalanta Fleeing is an emblem book by Michael Maier (1568–1622), published by Johann Theodor de Bry in Oppenheim in 1617 (2nd edition 1618). It consists of 50 discourses with illustrations by Matthias Merian, each of which is accompanied by an epigrammatic verse, prose and a musical fugue. It may therefore be considered an early example of multimedia.

Title page

The title page depicts various scenes from Greek mythology related to golden apples:

  • Top: Garden of the Hesperides.
  • Left: Hercules stretching out his arm to seize one of the golden apples.
  • Right: Aphrodite handing the golden apples to Hippomenes.
  • Bottom: Race between Atalanta and Hippomenes, with Atalanta picking up an apple. Behind them is a temple with lovers embracing each other, while in the background they appear as a lion and lioness.


The preface contains a dissertation upon ancient music and narrates the Greek myth of Atalanta and Hippomenes.


Each of the 50 discourses contains:

  • A detailed copper-plated engraving by Matthias Merian.
  • An epigram in verse set to music in the form of a fugue for three voices - Atalanta, or the vox fugiens; Hippomenes, or the vox sequens, and Pomum objectum (Apple) or vox morans. "Atalanta fugiens" is a play on the word "fugue"[2]
  • An epigram in German.
  • A Latin verse with an accompanying discourse.[3]
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