Rome: Typis Ludovici Grignani, 1650. First edition. Folio (pages 306 x 212 mm) collating: , 560, ; complete with the inserted illustrated title, portrait of Pope Innocent X, and the large folding engraved plate. Numerous woodcuts and engravings within the text (all on numbered leaves in the collation). Bound in full contemporary vellum, page edges stained blue. An excellent copy overall with minor foxing and browning to leaves throughout. Bookplate on the front paste-down (S. Schwarz).
"During his lifetime, the Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher was widely regarded as the physical embodiment of all the learning of his age...He wrote over thirty separate works dealing with subjects ranging from optics to music, from Egyptology to magnetism...His books, lavishly illustrated volumes destined for Baroque princes with a love of the curious and exotic are permeated with a strong element of the Hermetic philosophy of the Renaissance, synthesized with the Christianized Aristotelianism of the Jesuit order to which Kircher belonged" (Stanford Project). The present work contains Kircher's extensive research on the hieroglyphics on the obelisk of the Piazza Navona fountain, which had been restored by order of Pope Innocent X. "Like most of Kircher's works, the present book is filled with fascinating arcana and Kircher's interpretations of Egyptian mythology" (Merrill). An influential work by one of the true Renaissance men. (Item #2613)