JF Ptak Science Books
I'm offering for sale some engravings from Athanasius Kircher's Mundus subterraneus... (1678) which, in spite of its title, explores/classifies/theorizes on the grand scheme of all creation, hardly limited to just the world going on underground. Kircher (who has appeared on this blog numerous times, simply enter his name in the Google search box at left and you'll find many entries) approaches the nature of terrestrial heat, volcanoes, the origins of lakes and rivers, optics, fossils/agates (in "de lapide philosopherum"), distillation, alchemy, ocean currents, insects, plant life, and so on, a real summa cum laude tour de force, Kircher being the Renaissance man's Renaissance man.
All images are printed on 14 3/4 x 8 7/8" sheets (375x220mm) and have been removed from a defeated and dead copy of the book, the full title of which is Athanasii Kircheri ... Mundus subterraneus, in XII libros digestus: quo divinum subterrestris mundi opificium, mira ergasteriorum naturae in eo distributio ... universae denique naturae maiestatis & divitiae summa rerum varietate exponuntur ... This copy (lacking the title page and much else) I believe was printed in Amsterdam in 1668 (I believe--the other somewhat later editions to 1678 that I have checked all seem to have added material and different and later pagination, leading me to believe that this is an earlier edition.) The pagination ran 346+487pp, being two volumes printed as one.
For a later, full-text version of the 1678 edition, see the University of Heidelberg, here.
- Please keep in mind that the scans leave off the top 1.5" or so of each image as well as the bottom half-inch--the paper was simply too long for the scanner bed. The pages are complete (in real life).
And so the list (of 18), thus far:
Fabrica Furnorum (pg 239, in the chapter "De Origine Alchymiae")
Ex Chymicis Manuscriptis Fraus detecta (in the chapter "De Alchymia Sophistica", pg 293)
(Alchemical Furnaces), opposite page 391, volume 2, in the chapter "Arte Stalactic sive Distillatoria"
("Alchemical Furnaces") in the chapter "De Fodinarum Conditionibus" (page 213):
Image 7 1/2 x 5 1/2", 190x145mm. SOLD
Kircher inferred by "anthropomorphic calculus" (Jan Bondesman, A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities, pg 82) the size a human/giant must have been to accommodate (for example) an elephant tooth. So instead of dinosaurs you'd get these enormous creatures many time larger than a "Homo ordinarius"--as you can see in the scale, we have the enormous creature flanked by "homo ordinarius", then Goliath (still puny), "Helvetius Gygas", and "Gygas Mauritanius", all quite tiny compared to the big boy, who stood 200 cubits. (A cubit was a measure from he elbow to the fingertips, so depending on where you were, the cubit could be 17-20 inches or so; in any event the giant woul dhave been 300-400 feet tall.
Machina Anemica I AND II. These machines are respiratory/breathing agents for transferring wind to mines and (in the second case) for ventilation:
And on the reverse of the same sheet:
"Quomodo ventus, quem turbinem sive Typhonem vvocant, terra marique causetur"
Gallus...serpentina cauda conspicuus...In the chapter, "de Animalibus Subterraneis", p 97.
(Underground animals) Draco Helveticus bipes et alatus.
On the other side of the page: Hic Dracunuculus...
Magnetismus Globorum Astralium, in the chapter "Opificium Globi Terreni..."
(Origins of water)
Image 4 1/4 x 6 3/4 inches; 115x175mm. $150
(Origins of volcanoes)
(Sources of water, the Alps)
(Origins of rivers)
"De Artis Metallicae Requisitis" p. 165:
Classification Document: "Tabula Resolutoria, Omnium Venenorum, quae in Natura rerum considerari possunt"
Here Kircher organizes and classifies the world, according to animal, mineral, vegetable, and "ex cibis usitatis".
____. Another, very similar in presentation, titled Tabula Analuytica Generalis, Omnium Plantarum figuram & differentias explicans.
Image 13 x16 inches. Presentation of the botanical kingdom.
Tabula Synoptica omnium eoram...
"Organum Maritimum quo dato Rhombio & aetateLunae, aestus plenitudo, quovis in loco reperitar", a two-level volvelle supposing to show the workings of the movements of the oceans. It also appears in later editions not as a volvelle but in its constituent parts so that you could cut it out and make the volvelle yourself, saving on a time-intensive production cost.
And the image (quite a bit darker here than in the original, which is too bad, since I'm trying to sell the thing):