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Kircher, Athanasius (c1602-1680).

Obelisci Aegyptiaci nuper inter Isaei Romani rudera effossi Interpretatio Hieroglyphica.

Rome: Ex typographia Varesii, 1666.

"Some forty-four books and more than 2,000 extant letters and manuscripts attest to the extraordinary variety of Kircher's interests and to his intellectual endowments. His studies covered practically all fields both in the humanities and the sciences. This in harmony with the style of the period, in which polymathy was highly praised. A tendency to deal with curious questions led him to study orientology, including the culture of the Far East" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography).

"Jesuit priest and a scientist from Geissen in Germany. In 1635 he was made professor of mathematics at the Collegium Romanum in Rome by Pope Urban VI. He was the earliest to attempt to view microscopic organisms in 1658, using a primitive microscope which he constructed" (Dictionary of the History of Medicine, p. 445).

According to the Galileo Project Kircher was appointed by the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II "to the professorship of mathematics at Vienna or the position of court mathematician, but Cardinal Barberini quickly offered him a position in Rome so that he would not go. Kircher's book on magnetism and the Egyptian language are dedicated to Ferdinand III. Ferdinand III supported the costs of having manuscripts copied and sent to Kircher. Ferdinand also paid for the printing of books on hieroglyphics and ancient cultures. Especially the study of Egyptian antiquities and hieroglyphics made Kircher a cultural superstar of the mid 17th century".

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