Military Themes in Selected Eighteenth-Century Prayer Books in Relation to the Emblem Tradition

Iwona Słomak


The starting point in this paper is an absence of studies which show the realizations of the military-erotic symbols in religious literature ssociated with the emblem tradition. The discussed works—prayer books by Andrzej Gabriel Kasperowicz, anonymous Atak niebieskiej twierdzy [The Attack of the Heavens or The Attack into Fortress of Heavens] and Wojsko serdecznych afektów [The Army of Heartfelt Affections] by Hieronim Falęcki—retain high formal and semantic discipline; as a result, they are examples of interesting phenomena of Baroque culture. In the first part of the study, Słomak presents three prayer books in which the concept is based on analogy with the organization of the army of Christ. In the second part, she presents the book in which the theme of war is combined with the theme of “holy erotica”. In part three, she discusses a print whose composition refers to the structure of military detachments. It is conceived as a collection of “affections” whose task is “to conquer” heaven and the hearts of readers. Characteristically, the formula of the discussed books will be understandable only if we reconstruct their reference to the popular allegorical images (to be found in the collections of emblems, in many treatises on religious themes or in descriptions of the great ceremonies of that era); therefore, it is necessary to take into account the emblematic model that clearly influenced their final shape.

* Polish version: I. Słomak, “Militaria w wybranych modlitewnikach XVIII wieku – wobec tradycji emblematycznej”, Terminus 14/25 (2012), pp. 69–84.


Publication of this paper was financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education uder the grant 643/P-DUN/2018.

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