“Plato said, ‘Nothing is more divine than to know everything,’ sagely and elegantly, for just as Knowledge illuminates the mind, refines the intellect and pursues universal truths, so out of the love of beautiful things it quickly conceives and then gives birth to a daughter, Wisdom, the explorer of the loftiest matters, who, passing far beyond the limits of human joy, joins her own to the Angelic Choruses, and borne before the Ultimate Throne of Divinity, makes them consorts and possessors of Divine Nature.”1
Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel in Lower Saxony have lately been uploading a number of works by the 17th century Jesuit polymath, Athanasius Kircher. To the best of my knowledge these books are making their first appearance on the web as photographed page images, as opposed to microfilm scans or other less optimal formats such as djvu files.
So I thought it was worthwhile assembling a selection of images from across these lesser known works which in all probability haven’t been circulated widely before, although some of them may have appeared in modified forms in one or more of Kircher’s more famous books. It’s an eclectic bunch and more visual evidence of the breadth of Kircher’s interests. The whirlwind of erudition and wayward knowledge published the majority of his tomes with the Amsterdam printer, Johannes Jansson van Waesberghe (Janssonius), just by the by.
Mouseover the above images (a couple of which were background cleaned extensively) to see which book they come from.
The source book titles:
- ‘Historia Evstachio-Mariana : Qua admiranda D. Eustachij, sociorumque vita ex varijs Authoribus Collecta..’, 1665. Link.
- ‘Arithmologia sive De abditis numerorum mysterijs’, 1665. Link.
- ‘Ars Magna Sciendi’, 1669. Link.
- ‘Latium. Id Est, Nova & Parallela Latii tum Veteris tum Novi Descriptio’, 1671. Link.
- ‘Obeliscus Pamphilius : hoc est, Interpretatio noua & Hucusque Intentata Obelisci Hieroglyphici’, 1650. Link.
- ‘Physiologia Kircheriana Experimentalis’, 1680. Link.
- ‘Sphinx Mystagoga : sive Diatribe hieroglyphica, qua Mumiae, ex Memphiticis Pyramidum Adytis Erutae..’, 1676. Link.
1She-Philosopher quoting Athanasius Kircher from ‘Ars Magna Sciendi’.