Athanasius Kircher is one man to know. He was an erudite and the explorer of an entire gamut of academic disciplines. In short, he was one of the sharpest minds of the 17 th century and of all times who saw in the interior of the earth a sort of alchemical dance between the elements. In addition, the book includes detailed discussions about giants and other animals that live in the underground, including, of course, dragons.
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With his enormous range of scholarly pursuits the 17th-century polymath Athanasius Kircher has been hailed as the last Renaissance man and "the master of hundred arts". John Glassie looks at one of Kircher's great masterworks Mundus Subterraneus and how it was inspired by a subterranean adventure Kircher himself made into the bowl of Vesuvius. Kircher offered a lengthy discussion of people who lived in caves their societies and their economy. He reported on the remains of giants also mainly cave dwellers found in the ground.
And he went into detail on the kinds of lower animals who belong to the lower world including dragons. And these fires argue for deeper treasuries and storehouses of fire, in the very heart and inward bowels of the Earth. Hot baths, hot springs, and fountains are produced where underground water passageways come near or interconnect with the fire channels. Kircher's diagram showing the interconnectedness of fire inside the earth, featured in Mundus Subterraneus.
Kircher's diagram showing the interconnectedness of water inside the earth, featured in Mundus Subterraneus. Somewhere off the coast of Norway the actual site of a major whirlpool system called the Moskenstraumen , he declared, is a giant maelstrom through which the water enters the earth — as if passing through a great drain — and runs through it, cooling it down, providing it with nutriments in particulate form before being eliminated through a nether opening at the South Pole.
Kircher was about thirty five years old, and had been based at the flagship Jesuit college in Rome for about three of four years — attempting to decipher the hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians — when in he was assigned to accompany a young German prince on an extended visit to Malta. If he was initially upset about being dragged away with an immature prince to some rocks in the middle of the Mediterranean, his curiosity quickly kicked in.
He made magnetic and astronomical readings, and studied geological formations. There were four-hundred-foot cliffs, natural arches, and a place where the tides had carved human-looking shapes into the earth.
Diagram showing the sympathies between the macro and microcosm, featured in Mundus Subterraneus. After about a year, Kircher was finally allowed to return to Rome, but he took his time getting there and lingered in Sicily for a long while. And he wanted to look into stories about a type of fish that lived in the Straits of Messina, the body of water that flows between Sicily and Calabria on the Italian mainland. Kircher recalled that the earthquake began as he and some others crossed the straits in a boat.
There was only one way, in his view, to find out. Vesuvius at that time was merely smoking. But its first major eruption in centuries had occurred seven years earlier, in Perhaps the reason for leaving at that hour was to be able to see in the dark anything that might be molten. Or maybe the idea was to allow for a full day of exploration once they got there. When they finally reached the top, Kircher looked down into the crater.
And so I went down unto it. It was within this hollow mountain that Kircher really began to develop the theories he set down so many years later in Mundus Subterraneus , to envision what it might be like even deeper within the earth, and how the mountains and fires and rivers and oceans might somehow all be connected. Books link through to Amazon who will give us a small percentage of sale price ca. Discover more recommended books in our dedicated PDR Recommends section of the site.
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Search The Public Domain Review. Published November 1, Portrait of Kircher at age 53 from Mundus Subterraneus Depiction of a Giant featured in Mundus Subterraneus. Depiction of a Dragon featured in Mundus Subterraneus. Illustration of Mount Etna, featured in Mundus Subterraneus. Public Domain Works Mundus Subterraneus. Internet Archive. Collected for the most part out of Kircher's Subterraneous World.
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