Important geological classic on the
Title: Important geological classic on the "subterranean world"
D'onder-aardse weereld in haar goddelijk maaksel en wonderbare uitwerkselen aller dingen;... vervat in II deelen.
Description: Amsterdam, heirs of Johannes Janssonius van Waesberge, 1682. 2 volumes. Folio. Contemporary vellum. With full-page engraved frontispiece, title-page to volume 1 with engraved vignette, title-page to volume 2 with woodcut vignette, 14 engraved plates (13 double-page, including 4 double-page maps), 4 woodcut tables (3 double-page, 1 full-page), numerous engravings and woodcuts in text (including several full-page and 2 woodcuts with volvelles (volume 1, pp. 185 & 187), an armorial vignette of Thomas Ernsthuys, maps, views and tables). , 425, ; , 415,  pp.
First Dutch edition of a major scientific work by the famous German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), covering many branches of science, including physics, geography and chemistry. The original Latin edition, Mundus subterraneus, appeared in 1665, also in Amsterdam.
Kircher's "subterranean world", is an extensively illustrated mixture of odd speculation with genuine insight. It includes chapters on the Andes mountains, the Iroquois Indians in Canada, the Strait of Magellan and gold & silver in America. ''Major topics include gravity, the moon, the sun, eclipses, ocean currents, subterranean waters and fires, meteorology, rivers and lakes, hydraulics, minerals and fossils, subterranean giants, beasts and demons, poisons, metallurgy and mining, alchemy, the universal seed and the generation of insects, herbs, astrological medicine, distillation and fireworks'' (Merrill).
''Kircher pointed out a hydrologic circle of water by evaporation, geysers, creeks, cold-water springs, and oozing through the seabed back to the abyss. He assumed the existence of vast underground reservoirs. From subterranean naphta springs, he suggested, there might be an ever-burning lamp fed on the way through channels; he traced this idea back to the Egyptians of antiquity. He saw hot springs and volcanic eruptions as the consequence of subterranean regions of fire (Kircher witnessed the eruptions in 1638 of Stromboli, Etna, and Vesuvius)." (DNB)
Kircher learned Greek and Hebrew at the Jesuit gymnasium in Fulda, then entered the Society of Jesus in 1616. From 1625 to 1628 he studied theology at Mainz, and was ordained a priest in 1628. His surveying work for the Elector during this time contributed to his later interest in geography. In 1628 Kircher was appointed professor of philosophy and mathematics, as well as Hebrew and Syriac, at the University of Würzburg, where he had his first exposure to professional medicine.
In 1631 he went to Avignon and took his disciple, Capar Schott, with him. There he met the young J. Höwelcke (Hevelius) and corresponded with Christoph Scheiner. In 1633 he was introduced by Fabri to Gassendi in Aix. It was also Fabri who advised Kircher to attempt an interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Later, perhaps in 1638, he was appointed professor of mathematics in Rome. but resigned after some 8 years, devoting the rest of his life to his independent studies.
19th-century owner's signature of Pieter Jan Depoorter in the preliminaries of volume 2, small owner's stamp on each title-page and bookplate in each volume. Minor damage to one corner and top of spine of volume 2; occasional slight browning, foxing and marginal waterstains. A very good set of perhaps the most popular of Kircher's works in his own day and the best known in ours.
Alden & Landis 682/00; De Backer & Sommervogel IV, col. 1061; DSB VII, pp. 374-8; Ferguson, Bib. Chem. I, p. 466; Hoover 483; Merrill, Athanasius Kircher 17; Nissen, ZBI 2197; Poggendorf I, pp. 1258-9; Sabin 37968; Wellcome III, p. 395; cf. Caillet I, 5783 (Latin ed.); not in Coumont.
- Number: 1060364
- Dealer: Antiquariaat FORUM