2 KIRCHER, A. D'onder-aardse weereld./ Virtual Book Fair 106


Description: Important geological classic on the "subterranean world"

KIRCHER, Athanasius.
D'onder-aardse weereld in haar goddel k maaksel ... in XII boeken nauwkeurig beschreven.

Amsterdam, heirs of Johannes Janssonius van Waesberge, 1682. 2 volumes bound as 1. 1682. Contemporary blind-tooled vellum, sewn on 7 double cords, with a hollow back, each board with a large centrepiece in a double panel of fillets, and a decorative roll across the head and foot of the spine, manuscript title in 2nd of 8 spine compartments. With engraved frontispiece, engraved coat of arms of the dedicatee, Thomas Ernsthuys, 15 engraved plates (mostly double-page) and numerous woodcut and engraved illustrations in the text, woodcut tailpieces. [20], 425, [11]; [8], 415, [13] 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 was published in Amsterdam in 1655 as Mundus subterraneus.
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 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. He was appointed professor of mathematics in Rome ca. 1638, but resigned after some 8 years, devoting the rest of his life to his independent studies.
With three owners' inscriptions on the title-page, the earliest struck through and partly obscured by the second, giving the successive owners "G[?]. van Andenka..." or "Oudenka..."[?], "Jac[o]b[us] van der Nimmen" and finally "J: A: Antonius Ambroos", possibly the Dutch painter Jan Antoon Ambroos (1759-1845), this last also on the last page. With frequent pencil marks, a leaf with contemporary manuscript annotations tipped in and another loosely inserted. With some quires slightly browned and an occasional marginal water stain or similar minor defect, but otherwise in very good condition. Binding soiled, joints and hinges professionally restored.
Alden & Landis 682/99; De Backer & Sommervogel IV, col. 1061; DSB VII, pp. 374-378; Ferguson, Bib. Chem. I, p. 466; Hoover 483; Nissen, ZBI 2197; Poggendorf I, pp. 1258-1259; Sabin 37968; Wellcome III, p. 395; cf. Caillet I, 5783 (Latin ed.); Merrill, Athanasius Kircher 17 (Latin ed.); not in Coumont.
  • Number: 1060073
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum