Tempus edax rerum
Long before Conrad Dasypodius began work on the clock in Strasbourg Cathedral, the topic of time had crossed his mind. In 1558 he inscribed an interleaved edition of the Liber Emblemata of Andreas Alciato, which a certain Phillipus Anshelm had made into an album amicorum (Den Haag KB:133 M142, 172r); among the hasty quill-stroke heraldry, horoscopes, and platitudes of other young humanists, Dasypodius wrote Tempus omnia consumit below an equivalent statement in Greek. This, of course, is a variant of the sentiment expressed in Ovid, Metamorphoses XV, 234-6: tempus edax rerum, tuque, invidiosa vetustas, omnia destruitis vitiataque dentibus aevi, paulatim lenta consumitis omnia morte. Time devours all things, as we find in the so-called Latin Anthology, and the Χρóνος οξυς οδóντας of Simonides, via Stobaeus (unfortunately, I’ve left my Oxford reprint of Martin West’s Iambi et Elegi Graeci at home, otherwise I might be able to cough up more). Although I’m uncertain whether Dasypodius read this somewhere, or simply used his Latin, we can find the exact language in the commentary of Huldrych Zwingli on Luke 11:45: Quid ergo gloriamur imaginibus, stemmatis, insigniis? …edax tempus omnia consumit, senium omnia obliterat (Zürich, 1539, p.257).
After they signed the album amicorum, the humanists seem to have dispersed (Jeremias Jahn turned up in Dresden in March, 1585, when he wrote the Lutheran theologian Paul Jenisch); most are hopelessly obscure. For the moment, this also includes Phillipus Anshelm. I’ve never heard the name before. To be sure, I’ve heard of the printer Thomas Anshelm (c.1470-1523), I know that Phillipus Melanchthon worked as a corrector for Anshelm at Tübingen from 1514, and I might make something of a name given to a son. But this would be guesswork. For me, a more definite answer would take some directed research, and at the moment, I’m not sure whether Phillipus Anshelm can be identified, or whether his name is lost to time.