From the treasury
Neither fish nor flesh? : a rare edition of Renard’s 'Natuurlyke Historie' (1782)

A motley collection of spectacular pictures of hundreds of fishes, crustaceans, stick-insects and even a true mermaid: the Amsterdam bookseller and publisher Louis Renard (1678/79-1746) included them from 1719 onwards in his zoological publication Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes […], better known under the half-title Histoire Naturelle or Natuurlyke Historie (‘Natural History’). At first sight these surrealistic sea creatures, which were supposed to live in the East-Indian waters, seem all to have originated from an imaginative mind, but is that really true?

Recently digitized
Oh, to be a martyr …

You are being thrown into the sea with a stone around your neck, or beaten to death with sticks and swords; thrown into the fire, and if that does not do the trick, crucified, thrown to the lions, or flung from the window into a pit… Becoming a martyr is not the easiest of tasks. A lot of pain and violence was involved, but if you stuck to your faith, a fine reward awaited you: canonization, a place in heaven, and for hundreds of years your sacrifices would be kept on record in martyrologies. Such catalogues of martyrs can ‘commemorate’ other information as well …