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Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) was a Jesuit priest and a well-respected scholar known for his role in disseminating knowledge. Kircher was educated in Greek, Hebrew, and the humanities at Fulda, Paderborn, Cologne, Koblenz, and Mainz. After fleeing the Thirty Years’ War in Germany, Kircher worked as an academic at Avignon and, from 1634, Rome.

In Rome, Kircher served as an intellectual node, spreading information sent from around the world by Jesuit missionaries. Particular interests included ancient Egypt, astronomy, mathematics, medicine, music, and languages (both ancient and modern). He also made several maps and was a geographic compiler. It is likely he was the first person to depict the Pacific Ring of Fire on a map.

Kircher combined a mixture of hermeticism with nascent scientific inquiry, gaining him a reputation as one of the final Renaissance men. For example, he observed the eruptions of Etna and Stromboli. He had himself lowered into the crater of Vesuvius soon after an eruption to observe the changes wrought by the cataclysm. He experimented with bioluminescence by seeking the applications of firefly extract as a light source. He also made the first known Aeolian harp.

Kircher wrote 44 books, while over 2,000 of his manuscripts and letters survive. He also assembled one of the first natural history collections, the Museo Kircheriano or the Kircherianum, which was broken up after his death and became the foundation of several institutional collections.


Archived

Place/Date:
Nuremberg / 1665
Size:
18.5 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
20049
Place/Date:
Amsterdam / 1665
Size:
6.5 x 4.5 inches on larger sheet of text
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
20754
Place/Date:
Amsterdam / 1665
Size:
6.5 x 4.5 inches on larger sheet of text
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
25352
Place/Date:
Amsterdam / 1667
Size:
14 x 11 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
22704
Place/Date:
Amsterdam / 1670 circa
Size:
17.5 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
31091
Place/Date:
Amsterdam / 1670 circa
Size:
17.5 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
31317
Place/Date:
Amsterdam / 1670 circa
Size:
17.5 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
35531
Place/Date:
Amsterdam / 1682
Size:
8 x 8 inches (plus text)
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
36576
Place/Date:
Amsterdam / 1670 circa
Size:
17.5 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
45154
Place/Date:
Amsterdam / 1670 circa
Size:
17.5 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46936