Lateinische Briefe Athanasius Kirchers an Herzog August - Kommentar von John Fletcher

BA-II-5-351 (1650-01-18) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

I [16500118] 18 January, 1650

Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel (HAB): Bibliotheksarchiv (BA) N° 351

Kircher feels himself drawn to August by "quaedam vis et potestas, et nescio quis magnetismus" and, despite the distance separating them, by "nescio tamen quibus occultae energiae catenis attractum." A covering letter for the Musurgia universalis [Rome, 1650], with the promise to forward later the Obeliscus Pamphilius [Rome, 1650].

Burckhard I 42-42, 209 II 122-124: Raabe/Schinkel, p. 339. This letter was printed as "Epistola P" in Z. Goeze (ed.), Ad Augustum D.B. & L. Athanasii Kircheri S.J. epistolae tres, in quibus praecipue de eruditorum magnetismo opere Musurgico & Roma, quae Amor et Mora quaedam traduntur. Osnabrück, 1717. Goeze was rector of the school in Osnabrück: see here Burckhard I 35-36.

The copy of the Musurgia universalis in the present Herzog August Bibliothek (1.2. Mus 2°) bears on the engraved title page the entry in Kircher's hand "Serenine Duci Brunsvici donum Authoris." A second North German recipient of the Musurgia was Friedrich III (1597-1659), duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf, one of whose eight sons (there were also eight daughters) visited Kircher in Rome in 1652. Kircher's letter to him was also written on the 18 January, 1650 (HAB 12 Gud. lat. f. 223). Friedrich's grateful letter of acknowledgment (Gottorf, 24 September, 1650) is at Pontificia Universitá Gregoriana, Rome (P.U.G.) 556 f. 94: it was quickly followed (Gottorf, 5 November, 1650) by a gift of 200 "imperiales". The exchange of letters between Kircher and Friedrich was printed by J.P. Ludewig, Reliquiae manuscriptorum, Frankfurt a.M., Leipzig and Halle, 1720-1741, V (1723) 385-387: see here too Zedler 22 (1739) 1566, "Musurgie".

Other highborn recipients of the Musurgia included Ferdinand Maria, elector of Bavaria (P.U.G. 556 f. 179. Munich, 1650), Octavio Piccolomini, prince of Amalfi (P.U.G. 556 f. 358. Nuremberg, 9 May, 1650), Christina of Sweden (P.U.G. 568 f. 238. Amsterdam, 4 November, 1650) and Leopold of Austria (P.U.G. 561 f. 165. Valenciennes, 17 June, 1650).

BA-II-5-353 (1651-03-04) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

3 [16510304] 4 March, 1651

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 353

Kircher compares his relationship to August with, following Herodotus, that of Amasis, king of Egypt, and Polycrates. He praises the intellectual finesse of August's letter and develops further its reference to Plutarch. He promises the immediate dispatch of the Obeliscus Pamphilius and unsubtly draws August's attention to the generosity of Ferdinand III in subsidising, with 3000 scudi, the printing costs of the 2000-page Oedipus Aegyptiacus.

Burckhard II 124-125 (dates the letter as 4 May). This letter was printed as "Epistola II" (4 May) in Z. Goeze (ed.), Ad Augustum (see N° 1 above).

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4 [16510728] 28 July, 1651

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 354

The bearer of these lines is Friedrich Calixtus, "dolet is, doleo et ego tam ex abrupto eius ab Vrbe discessum: exiguo tempore hic moratus est". Calixtus has had little opportunity to see the sights of Rome: "... nec mirum: Roma, si angramma (sic) spectes, et Amor et Mora est". At least one year is required to see Rome properly. Calixtus will deliver the Obeliscus Pamphilius and will report more news in person. Burckhard II 125-126. This letter was printed as "Epistola III" in Z. Goeze (ed.), Ad Augustum (see N° 1 above).

Friedrich Ulrich Calixtus (1622-1701), who became professor of theology in Helmstedt in 1650, stayed in Rome from the 14 June to the end of July, 1651. He took part in various theological discussions with Kircher and was frequently conducted by Kircher in and around Rome. He could admire in the Museum "eine Syrische Uebersetzung der Evangelien" [see N° 51 below)] and noted: "[Kircher] geht jetzt damit um, eine Kunst zu erfinden, Briefe in einer Sprache zu schreiben, die, andern nicht, und nur dem bekannt ist, der das Geheimniß weiß: wie er denn schon ein ähnliches Probestück in Ansehung der Musik erdacht hat, daß jemand, ohne in der Tonkunst erfahren zu seyn, allerhand Stücke komponieren kann". See F.U. Calixtus, Auszug aus der handschriftlichen lateinischen Beschreibung einer Reise des vormaligen Gottesgelehrten F. U. Calixtus in J. Bernoulli, Sammlung kurzer Reisebeschreibungen. Berlin and Leipzig, VII (1782) 169-320, here pp. 277, 281-283, 285, 290-295, 296-297, 299, 300-301, 304.

In a letter (Rome, 14 August, 1651 [sic]) to duke August, Calixtus describes his activities in Rome, deprecates however the various attempts at conversion made by, amongst others, Athanasius Kircher.

This letter is printed in Burckhard at III 26-127.

Similar attempts, we may note, are chronicled by Siegmund von Birken, who saw however (this was in 1660-1661) such approaches in a less threatening light: see his Hoch Fürstl. Brandenburgischer Ulysses, Bayreuth, 1669 and 1676, pp. 315-316. But we should also note here Kircher's ire at "Ulysse Brandenburgico" expressed in a letter (7 February, 1672) to the sometime rector of the Papal Seminary in Fulda, Vitus Erbermann (Trophaea Romana S. Catholicae Ecclesiae. Mainz, 1672, pp. 195-198, here p. 196). The unswerving loyalty expressed by Calixtus towards his church and against his Roman hosts was eulogised still at his death, in the January of 1701: see here Programma in funeri F. U. Calixti, Helmstedt, [1701], p. [12] and J. Fabricius, F. U. Calixti memoria oratione parentali repraesentata, Helmstedt, 1701, p. 22. The title page of the Obeliscus Pamphilius in the Herzog August Bibliothek (66. 1. Quodl. 2°) has in Kircher's hand: "Serenissimo Principi Augusto Duci Brunsvic.sis et Luneburg.sis Author".

BA-II-5-355 (1660-01-03) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

9 [16600103] 3 January, 1660

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 355

Kircher has received the exquisite "in electro ludentis Naturae miraculum" sent by August for the Museum. He will exhibit it there, enclosed in a silver capsule, to the eternal glory of its donor. Everyone who sees it is overcome with wonder. As for August's portrait, that too will be shown "primo Musaei loco". Burckhard II 130

The eternally imprisoned member of the Lacertidae is described and illustrated in Buonanni (p. 215) and Sepi (p. 44a). The same illustration is to be found in the Mundus subterraneus (Amsterdam, 1664. II 76) where the donor is referred to as "Serenissimus Augustus Dux B. & L., Princeps omni scientiarum genere, raro exemplo, excultissimus...". Burckhard (I 209-210) locates this gloss in the Musurgia universalis (Rome, 1650). In the present library's copy (2. 1. Phys. 2°) of the 1664 Mundus subterraneus we find in the margin next to the illustration a decisively ducal "N.B."

The "lizard within amber" was seen displayed in Kircher's Museum on a bitingly cold 19 December, 1663 by the English traveller Philip Skippon: see his "An account of a journey made thro' part of the Low Countries, Germany, Italy and France" in A. and J. Churchill, Collection of voyages and travels. London, 1704, 1736, 6 vols. VI 359-736, here p. 673. In 1870 the Museo Kircheriano become the property of the Italian state. There is no trace of August's gift to Kircher in either E. de Ruggiero, Guida del Museo Kircheriano, Rome, 1879 (pp. 21-22: "oggetti d'ambra") or in Ruggiero's Catalogo del Museo Kircheriano, Rome, 1878 (pp. 228-237: "oggetti varii d'oro, argento, bronzo e ambra"). In the latter work (p.xi.) Ruggiero notes: "... per dieci anni dopo la morte del Kircher, il disordine, la dispersione e l'abbandano avean regnato nel suo Gabinetto. "

In Sepi (p. 7a and b) we read of a veritable clutter of portraits at the entrance to Kircher's Museum. They included "effigies Augusti Principis Lunaeburgensis & Brunsvicensis Musaei Kircheriani Benefactoris ... Ferdinandi Alberti Dueis Augusti filii" (see too Buonanni, p. 318).

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10 [16600613] 13 June, 1660

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 356

Kircher forwards his glowing gratitude for August's portrait which will be shown to all visitors "in hoc Vrbis et Orbis Theatro ... ad exemplum, ad Vrae verá² Serentis laudem et gloriam." At the first opportunity, after first honouring the emperor and archduke Leopold, he will send the "novum linguarum artificium", which has the title: "Linguarum omnium ad unitatem reductio." This will enable all peoples and nations effortlessly to communicate with each other.

Burckhard II 131-133

The covering letter to J.G. Anckel is at HAB: BA N° 377 Kircher promised the same "artificium" as early as the 10 June, 1650 in a letter to Friedrich III, duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf. Five years later however, in a letter of the 16 April, 1655, he had needs to apologise for his inability ("vix otium habui") to produce it: see J.P. Ludewig, op.cit., V 385-387.

3-5-Aug-4f-29 (1660-10-02) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

12 [16601002] 2 October, 1660

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: Cod. Guelf. 3.5. Aug. 4° f. 29.

Covering letter for the Novum inventum linguarum omnium, underlining its ubiquitous usefulness. Burckhard I 72

BA-II-5-358 (1663-06-20) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

21 [16630620] 20 June, 1663

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 358

Kircher forwards the Polygraphia nova et universalis, written at the express command of the emperor and intended for the use of princes. The help and support of August has been of incalculable value. Further copies are included: they are to be delivered to the duly designated princes in North Germany. August's help in this regard is all the more appreciated because of Kircher's "verá² paupertas et indigentia".

Burckhard II 136-137

August's copy of the Polygraphia (6. 1. Gram. 2°) has on the title page in Kircher's hand "Serenissimo Duci Brunsvici et Luneburg Author". That of Ferdinand Albrecht (Fb 4° 52) has inserted on its inside top cover an almost identical letter (but in Italian) of the same date addressed to "Serenissimo Principe". Here the neighbouring princes are defined more closely as: Johann Friedrich of Lüneburg (in Hanover), and the electors of Saxony and Brandenburg. Johann Friedrich's extravagant letter of acknowledgment is at P.U.G. 555 f. 126: Herzberg, 14 September, 1664.

BA-II-5-359 (1664-08-31) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

BA II 359 (Digital Image 1, 2)

32 [16640831] 31 August, 1664

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 359

Kircher congratulates August on his profound letters and his solution of "steganographicum meum epistolium". He points out a minor error in August's rendering [the letter bears at this point a strong "NB" in August's hand] and, in adding the key-phrase ("Nomen costae meae Sophia Elisabetha"), is moved to dilate on the fame and virtue of the Duke's wife.

Joannes Jansson van Waesberghe [Kircher's publisher in Amsterdam] will shortly be forwarding to Wolfenbüttel a copy of the Mundus subterraneus. In his closing paragraph Kircher, in answer to August's query, further defines "la piedra de la Cobra" as "in lingua Lusitanica lapidem serpentis ... á¡ Colubro intra cuius viscera reperiri scribit ...". Burckhard I 73-74

(Eight additional pieces to HAB: BA N° 359 illustrate the presentation and solution of the number-substitution code discussed here, submitted by Kircher on 25 July, 1664.)

Joannes Jansson van Waesberghe was active in Amsterdam as printer and publisher from 1651 to 1681. See I.H. van Eeghen, De Amsterdamse boekhandel 1680-1725, Amsterdam, 1960 ff., IV 160-161 and A.M. Ledeboer, Het geslacht van Waesberghe 's Gravenhage and Utrecht, 1869, pp. 118-133. In 1661 Jansson bought the exclusive rights to Kircher's books for 2200 scudi (draft contract at P.U.G. 563 f. 265. Rome, 25 August, 1661). In his covering letter to Anckel (HAB: BA N° 398. Rome, 31 August, 1664) Kircher describes the "große freude und frolockung von wegen dem uber den türcken von keyserliche majestet erhaltenen Victorien. Und derenthalben hie in Rom in der teutschen kirchen das Te Deum mit großer solennitate gesungen worden. Gott geb weitter gluck."

BA-II-5-360 (1664-10-31) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

34 [16641031] 31 October, 1664

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 360

Kircher expresses his profuse gratitude for August's gift of 200 "imperiales", a gesture which posterity will know to value and which Kircher himself is unable to reciprocate because of "paupertatis meae atq. impotentiae".

He praises the Liber de Templo Salomonis as a fitting memorial to August's magnanimity and forwards his thoughts on the work. Jansson has informed Kircher that the Mundus subterraneus is about to be despatched to August. Kircher has now written to Amsterdam requesting that the second edition of the Ars magna lucis et umbrae be dedicated to August. He also lists the other titles soon to be published by Jansson lest August might suspect "ne pennam meam tua liberalitate concitatam otio torpescere".

In conclusion, Kircher recollects his frequent conversations in Rome with Johann Friedrich, duke of Lüneburg and with "Sermi fratris Episcopi Osnaburgensis ... cum Sera uxore sua".

Burckhard II 140

An extract from this letter is printed at p. [32] in Jacobi Jehuda Leon, De Templo Hierosolymitano libri IV. Jussu et auspiciis Serenissimi Principis Dn. Augusti ducis Brunsvic. et Lunaeb. etc. ex Ebraeo latine recensiti ä Johanne Sauberto. Helmstedt, 1665.

Amongst the holdings of the Musaeum Kircherianum, Sepi notes (p. 24): "Crocodili duo, munificum donum Ser. Princ. Joannis Federici Ducis Brunsvicensis et Lunaeburgensis Athanasio Kirchero Venetiis transmissum." Moreover, Section VII(c) "De musica hieroglyphica" of the Oedipus Aegyptiacus (Rome 1652-1654, IIB 119-138) was dedicated by Kircher to Johann Friedrich in recognition of his valuable gifts to the Museum. The draft copy of Kircher's letter to Johann Friedrich informing him of this signal honour is now in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale "Vittorio Emanuele II", Rome, at Ms. Gesuit. 1235. Johann Friedrich himself had recently written to Kircher (P.U.G. 555 f. 126. Herzberg, 14 September, 1664) on perusing the Polygraphia and had declared "il Nome Kirchero essaltato e lodato". Johann Friedrich (1625-1679), duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover), became a convert to the Catholic faith in 1651 in Assisi. Ernst August (1629-1698), duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Elector of Hanover, bishop of Osnabrück, married Sophie Elisabeth (1630-1714) in 1658. She was the daughter of the Elector Friedrich V of the Palatinate (1596-1632), king of Bohemia (1619-1620). In an undated draft letter (P.U.G. 555 f. 112) Kircher asks pope Alexander VII for permission for "Elisabetha prosapia Palatina, Ducis Luneburgensis uxor" to visit the Museum and the library of the Collegium Romanum. On the visit made by Ernst August and Elisabeth to Kircher, see E. Bodemann, Briefwechsel der Herzogin Sophie von Hannover mit ihrem Bruder dem Kurfürsten Karl Ludwig von der Pfalz, Leipzig, 1885, p. 27 and A. Koecher, Memoiren der Herzogin Sophie nachmals Kurfürstin von Hannover, Leipzig, 1879, p. 81.

BA-II-5-362 (1665-02-21) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

38 [1660221] 21 February, 1665

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 362

Kircher expresses his pleasure at and abashed gratitude for August's latest gift. Jansson reports that the Mundus subterraneus is already en route to Matthias Weber in Hamburg for shipment to Wolfenbüttel. The astronomers in Rome have discovered a new comet "in cingulo Andromedae proximae Cassiopeiae" and no doubt in Wolfenbüttel too the observers are wondering "quid Deus Opt. Max. per nova haec coeli monstra nobis indicet". Kircher has added to this letter "novam Saturni et lovis phrasin quam losephus Campanus tubo 55 palmorum a se constructo detexit", a sighting which has caused intense speculation in Rome on the heavenly bodies orbiting Saturn.

Burckhard II 140-141

The covering letter to J.G. Anckel is at HAB: BA N° 402. Kircher's enclosure here was probably the single copperplate engraving from Giuseppe Campani, Lettera intorno all' ombre delle stelle Medicee nel volto di Giove, ed altri nuovi fenomeni celesti scoperti co' suo occhiali, Rome, 1665. A letter written by Kircher on the same day to Kaspar Schott (Lubienietzki 1765) forwards the same gift, echoes the same phrasing. In his closing years, Kircher did much to help promote and distribute the optical instruments made in Rome by Giuseppe Campani and Eustachio Divini. See for example the approach to Kircher by the Englishman John Dodington, resident in Venice, in his search, on behalf of the Royal Society, for "piu perfetti" instruments from Campani and Divini (P.U.G. 559 f. 21. Venice, 17 June, 1671). Kircher discusses the respective merits as instrument makers of Divini and Gottignies (see N° 39 below) in a letter of the 26 June, 1670 to Langenmantel (pp. 40-42), whilst K. Schott in turn eulogises Divini's instrumental and optical skills in his Ioco-Seriorum naturae et artis sive magiae naturalis centuriae tres, Würzburg, 1666, p. 132.

BA-II-5-363 (1665-03-27) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

39 [16650327] 27 March, 1665

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 363

Kircher thanks August for his support in printing the Iter cometae. He now forwards a further, extended observation of the same comet, carried out "a Collegii Romani Mathematico perfectius". Kircher sends too a copy of his "Nova Physiologia de natura Cometarum ... et quemadmodum ob multas causas, sub meo nomine publica'luci committendum non censui". The work has been translated into Italian by "uni ex privatis meis Auditoribus" and was in fact published under this latter's name.

Burckhard II 141-142 with the date 25 March, 1665.

This second comet observation is in the present Library at 45.4 (11) Astron. 4° as Tabula Uranographica, exhibens situs quas Cometa habuit inter stellas fixas, cum meridianum Romanum attigit mense decembri anni 1664. iuxta observationes P. Aegidii Francisci de Gottignies Soctis Jesu in Collegio Romano Matheseos professoris. A second sheet, at 45.4 (12) Astron. 4°, has the title as above but with "mense Ianuarii anni 1665". Both broadsheets (44.00 x 25.50 cm), with commentary and copperplate engraving, bear however the manuscript addition: "Sermo Principi et Duci Ferdinando Alberto Athanasius Kircherus." Gilles François de Gottignies S.J. (1630-1689) taught mathematics at the Roman College from 1662 to 1687: see too in this context Buonanni, p. 364. Gottignies, an industrious and practical sky-watcher who developed his own telescope, was to clash in 1666 with the equally pragmatic Eustachio Divini on the interpretation of spots observed on the planet Jupiter (see his Lettera diretta ad E. Divini, Rome, 1666). It was too Gottignies' growing observational reputation that led John Dodington to enquire of Kircher from Venice on how best to acquire lenses produced by Gottignies: see P.U.G. 560 f. 97. 21 March, 1671.

In the "Nova Physiologia" we recognise the work: Gioseffo Petrucci, Fisiologia nuova della natura delle comete, Rome, 1665, (32 pages). The Herzog August Bibliothek possesses two copies: one at 42.1 (20) Astron. 4°, the other at 45.5 (11) Astron. 4°. It was no doubt Kircher's comments here that brought about August's bold statement on the title page of his copy (42.1 [20] Astron. 4°): "Kercherus Jesuita á(c) verus Authorus". Kircher also divulged his authorship of the Fisiologia in letters to the Pole Stanislas Lubienietzki. In the one (Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Fonds latins, nouv. acq. 1640 f. 59. Rome, 8 May, 1665) he explains that the book was "ad multorum Principum instantes deprecationes extortum", describes the ostensible author Giuseppe Antonio Petrucci as "meus privatus discipulus". In a second letter (S. Lubienietzki, Theatrum cometicum, Amsterdam, 1668, 1666. I 754-755. Rome, 25 July, 1665) the gloss on Petrucci is extended into "subtilis ingenii iuvenem meum privatum Academicum". Elsewhere, one of Kircher's earliest biographers, Johann Leonard Pfaff (1775-1848), who became bishop of Fulda in 1832, describes Petrucci as Kircher's "in studiis Aegyptiacis adiutor" (Vita Athanasii Kircheri, Fulda, 1831, p. 25). Earlier still in 1665, Juaá± Caramuel Lobkowitz could allude playfully to the true authorship of the Fisiologia (P.U.G. 555 f. 167. Naples, 24 March, 1665). Perhaps there was an element of the same playfulness in the mind of Stephan Johann Kestler when in 1680 he entitled his digest drawn from Kircher's printed works the Physiologia Kircheriana experimentalis (Amsterdam). Petrucci, who died in 1680 (NUC 453: 552), also compiled a collective survey based on the Master's varied statements in print. His less decisively titled Prodomo apologetico alli studi chircheriani of 1677 was summarised by Kircher in the same year to Langenmantel (p. 74), its author seen as "meo in re litteraria consorte et discipulo". The Fisiologia itself, printed in Rome by Varese, was dedicated by Petrucci (described on the title page as "candidato di Teologia") both to Franz Anton von Dietrichstein (1643-1721) and to the Scot William Lewis Leslie (1641-1704). Both men were to enter the noviciate of the Society of Jesus on the 2 May, 1666, which was also Kircher's 64th birthday.

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43 [16650508] 8 May, 1665

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 365

As already promised, Kircher forwards the Historia Eustachio-Mariana. He describes, not without emotion, his discovery and restoration of the derelict church at Mentorella. A second copy is enclosed for Johann Friedrich, "quem iam audio in defuncti fratris locum successisse".

Burckhard II 142

The covering letter to J.G. Anckel is at HAB: BA N° 405. A letter to August from Johann Friedrich (Celle, 28 August, 1665 "hor. 8 mat."), acknowledging the book's arrival, is at HAB: BA N° 369/3.

BA-II-5-366 (1665-07-25) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

45 [16650725] 25 July, 1665

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August

HAB: BA N° 366

Kircher is again overwhelmed by "tantae benignitati et munificentiae", lavished by August through him for the benefit of the world of learning and of posterity. The Iter Hetruscum, on which he has spent so many years, originally intended for the grandduke of Tuscany, he now intends to dedicate to August. He will inform Jansson of the amendment, so that posterity will learn of his debt to August. To aid the duke in his advanced age, Kircher offers medicaments: "ex pharmacopaeo nostro ... magna cura et ingenio a nostris chimicis praeparata Magistoria ... quam ut vitam Ser.tis V.ri Nestorios in annos, vigore horum medicamentorum perpetuet." He will forward his recent Arithmologia sive de abditis numerorum mysteriis [Rome, 1665] when J.G. Anckel informs him it is safe to do so.

Burckhard II 234-235

BA-II-5-367 (1665-08-01) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

46 [16650801] 1 August, 1665

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 367

Kircher forwards the "musculum (sic), cui titulus de arcanis numerorum mysteriis", in which (p. 149) he describes the merits of August's own cryptographic studies, which have tremendously helped his own work. The Iter Hetruscum he has now formally dedicated to August. It describes the antiquities of Hetruria, from the days of Noah, discusses the political history of the region, expounds on "miracula naturae, quae in Montibus, Vrbibus, Territoriis, fluminibus, lacubus, Thermarumq. multitudine observavi ...".

Burckhard II 143 (with the date: 6 May, 1665).

Kircher's latest "munusculum" was the Arithmologia sive de abditis numerorum mysteriis, Rome, 1665. In one (l. 1. Arith. 4°) of the two copies now in the Library, the final paragraph (p. 149) of Part Il ("De arcanis Numerorum quorundam, quos pronicos vocant, proprietatibus") is completely underlined, with August's firmly inked "NB" in the right-hand margin. The scored paragraph deals with Kircher's current correspondence with August, "qui et innumeros alios modos invenit arcane scribendi, quos in pulchra illa sua Cristologia (sic), summo Principum emolumento mundo patescit." Ferdinand Albrecht's copy (Li Sammelband 189 [1]) bears on the same page the righteous manuscript note: "Titulus libri: Gustavi Seleni Systema integrum Cryptographiae". Kircher refers more accurately to August's Cryptologia in bis own Polygraphia (pp. 80-81, and Appendix, p. 1). In a letter of the 4 January, 1664 to J.G. AnckeI (HAB: BA N° 388 [Copy]), Kircher confesses to having not yet seen a copy of the Cryptologia (Burckhard I 72). By the 14 July, 1664 (HAB: BA N° 397) he had received the book through Anckel, which in turn inspired him to seek a copy of the "Schachspiel" [Gustavus Selenus, Das schach oder könig spiel, Leipzig, 1616]. See here Burckhard I 73.

In his covering letter to J.G. Anckel (HAB: BA N° 407) Kircher records his receipt of the 200 taler (which translated into 168 scudi) forwarded by August. The cancelled draft is at HAB: BA N° 408.

BA-II-5-368 (1665-08-22) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

48 [16650822] 22 August, 1665

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 368

Kircher ("pauper et humilis Servus suus") forwards the promised "munusculum ex pharmacopaeio nostro". August will also find in the medicine chest "Sertum Philophicum (sic) in publica disputatione Gymnasii nostri Romani a nobili quodam Polono exhibitum, quod uti absolutissimum Pictoriae et chalcographicae Artis specimen ab omnibus aestimatur."

Burckhard II 144

The covering letter to J.G. Anckel is at HAB: BA N° 409.

BA-II-5-369 (1666-01-08) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

49 [16660108] 8 January, 1666

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 369

Kircher dilates with eloquence on August's gift of 300 "imperiales". The duke's fame is resounding around Rome, "omnibus Principibus ad imitandum", and will do so for all time. Kircher has again urged Jansson not to delay with the titles dedicated to August.

Burckhard I 235-236

The covering letter to J.G. Anckel is at HAB: BA N° 416.

6-Noviss-2f-59 (1666-03-19) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

51 [16660316] 19 March, 1666

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB 6 Novissimi 2° ff. 59-61: draft (18 March, 1666 at P.U.G. 555 f. 122).

As one of the very few ways possible to him of showing his gratitude to August, Kircher forwards "id quo nihil mihi fuit carius nil pretiosus", a manuscript in Estranghelo-Syriac of the Four Gospels, written in the form of Syriac used in Palestine at the time of Christ. He appends [fol. 61] the 22-letter alphabet used. He has added to this, as a gift from the author, the second volume of G.P. Oliva's Conciones Apostolicarum. The box of medicaments already sent he now supplements with "olea pretiosa et aquae odoriferae separatis arculis inclusae: servientq.tum ad spiritus contentione studiorum exhaustos instaurandos. "

Burckhard I 133-134, 236-237, 241-242

The covering letter to J.G. Anckel is at HAB: BA N° 418.

The Syrian manuscript was considerably older than Kircher's modest estimate: see J. Assfalg, Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, Wiesbaden, 1961, ff. Vol. 5, Syrische Handschriften, 1963, pp. 8-15, and W. Strothmann, "Der Patriarch der Syrisch-orthodoxen Kirche und das Tetraevangelium Syriacum in Wolfenbüttel", in P. Raabe (ed.), Wolfenbütteler Beiträge. I (1972), pp. 217-225. Burckhard castigates what he calls a "ridiculum errorem" (I 236) in the Annales Academiae Iuliae Semestri IV. an. 1722 (I 165) where this manuscript is described as "Novum Testamentum Syriacum S. Athanasii manu exaratum". It is possible that Kircher in turn acquired the manuscript from one of his earlier patrons, cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1679), to whom he dedicated in 1636 his Prodromus Coptus: see L. Holstenius, Epistolae ad diversos. Ed. J.F. Boissonade, Paris, 1817, p. 495 (Epistola CVIII. Rome, May, 1636 to C.F. de Peiresc). Kircher had already (26 December, 1665) announced the sending of the manuscript to Wolfenbüttel in a letter (HAB: BA N° 415) to J.G. Anckel (Burckhard I 241-242).

BA-II-5-370 (1666-04-02) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

52 [16660402] 2 April, 1666

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 370

Kircher expresses his appreciation both for August's thoughtful letters and "pro numismate illo aureo", so artfully extracted from argentiferous ore. It will be exhibited in his Museum, which is invariably thronged by visitors of all nations. He has already forwarded, with an explanatory letter, a chest of Roman delicacies. As requested, he appends his (lengthy) "iudicium ... de Calendario novo" [see N° 50 above].

Burckhard I 238 II 145-146

BA-II-5-371 (1666-07-10) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

57 [16660710] 10 July, 1666

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 371

Kircher is quite confounded by August's munificence. His only means of repayment is by describing August's generosity "in hoc mundi theatro", in talking of him as "tanquam regiae munificentiae prototypon et totius literaturae exemplar omnibus principibus imitandum habeatur." In a week's time he will forward a chest containing G.P. Oliva's Conciones, given by the author and with a letter from him. There will also be several copies of a new work by Kircher sponsored by the pope, the Ad Alexandrum VII. Obelisci Aegyptiaci nuper inter Isaei Romani rudera effossi interpretatio hieroglyphica [Rome, 1666]. One copy is intended for the elector of Saxony, another for Johann Friedrich: the remaining copies are for August to distribute at his discretion. Also in the chest will be a "vasculum Balsamo Apoplectico ... contra omnia Reumata remedium potentissimum" and for the duke's wife "aquae odoriferae, chirothecae et ventilabra similiaq. Romanarum deliciarum ...". In Amsterdam, at present, all work has stopped on the Iter Hetruscum and the Ars magna lucis et umbrae. This is due to the "bellorumq. turbines", to the cessation of all trade, the scarcity of paper, the requisition by the military of all printing-office staff. Both Jansson and Kircher are however filled with the hope of more peaceful days ahead. The covering letter to J.G. Anckel is at HAB: BA N° 421. The Latin translation (by Jean de Bussieres S.J.) of Oliva's work is the Conciones habitae in Palatio Apostolico ad Innocentium X et Alexandrum VII, Lyons, 1665, 1664 (now at 11.8. Theol. 4°). The Italian original (2. edition: Rome, 1664-1680) is Prediche dette nel Palazzo Apostolico da Giovanni Paolo Oliva, [Rome, 16591 and the present Library copy (199.8. Th. 2°) bears on its half title page: "Donum Authoris Romae 20. Martii 1666". In the Preface to the Ad Alexandrum Kircher praises the patent generosity of August, "Principum literatissimus". August's (third) wife, whom he married in 1635, was Sophie Elisabeth (1613-1676), daughter of duke Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg. Her portrait is at Raabe/Schinkel, p. 247.

BA-II-5-372 (1666-07-24) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

58 [16660724] 24 July, 1666

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 372

Kircher has now received August's portrait ("genuinam effigiem") and one gold, and two silver coins: "Stupent et admirantur omnes is, quibus magnetica illa numismata ostendi ... similes in Italia principes non reperiri." The General of the Society, G.P. Oliva, is overcome by the heroic mould of August's bearing and has retained for himself one of the coins to show his frequent visitors. The cardinal-landgrave has taken the portrait, delighting in the German blood he shares with August. Kircher will have the coins enclosed in a cedar show-case for perpetual exhibition in the Museum. Even while he is writing this letter, curious crowds are pressing to adinire the coins. Goldsmiths too have closely inspected the coins declaring them to be of the finest quality, not yielding to Hungarian gold. Father Oliva regards the gold as unparalleled in Rome, similar in fact to that brought from the Indies. With this post Kircher has written to Jansson, urging him to accelerate his production of the titles dedicated to August.

Burckhard I 237-239

The covering letter to J.G. Anckel is at HAB: BA N° 422. At HAB: BA 372/1 and 2: drafts of August's letter of the 20/30 August, 1666 to Father G.P. Oliva. August has received Oliva's letter of the 25. June. He thanks him for his forethought and generosity and apologises (in Italian) for writing in German, since he was last in Rome in 1598 to 1600 and has "dismenticato il parlare e scrivere Italiano" (Burckhard I 240). At 372/3: memorandum of August's letter of 28 May, 1666 (see N° 55 above) to Kircher. At 372/4: "den 18. Junii 1666 an H.P. Kircherum geschrieben, und die drei Stücke, als 1. Goldstücke von 30 Ducaten, und 2 Stücke an 5. Reichsth. ihme zugesandt. " (Burckhard I 238) N° 3 and 4 are annotated by the duke's clerk, Heinrich Julius Willershausen. In his Vita (p. 53) Kircher notes the role played by him in the conversion of Friedrich (1616-1682), landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, subsequently cardinal (1659) and prince-bishop of Breslau (1672). Friedrich was in fact instructed in the Catholic faith by Lucas Holstenius (1616-1682), himself a convert, although Kircher's involvement is suggested in: A. Raess, Die Convertiten seit der Reformation, Freiburg i. Br., 1866-1880, V 468 and A. de Waal, Der Campo Santo der Deutschen zu Rom, Freiburg i. Br., 1896, p. 124. Kircher defends Father Oliva against variously bitter Protestant attacks in a letter (7 February, 1672) to Vitus Erbermann S.J., see Langenmantel, pp. 92-100 and V. Erbermann, Trophaea romana, Mainz, 1672, pp. 195-198.

BA-II-5-373 (1666-09-04) | Quelle | Übersetzung | Transkription | Transkription und Übersetzung | Transkription und Quelle | Briefe | Home

60 [16660904] 4 September, 1666

Athanasius Kircher to Duke August.

HAB: BA N° 373

Kircher complains of the delay which always seems attendant in his attempts to repay August's many acts of kindness. The Iter Hetruscum is at present in the hands of the censors of the Apostolic Palace. The work will be "valde splendidum magnificum", with "innumeris figuris." The illustrations have in fact demanded much expenditure in time and money. The chest forwarded to Wolfenbüttel on the 18. August is now reported to be in Venice and will soon be en route to Augsburg. Kircher fears further delay in Holland, which is still suffering "ob horrida bella inter eos et Anglos": other routes through Germany are closed "ob suspectam pestem". But the will of God will prevail. He has written to Jansson ordering four copies of the China Illustrata [Amsterdam, 1667] to be sent to Wolfenbüttel for distribution there by August.

The covering letter to J.G. Anckel is at HAB: BA N° 424.

The Iter Hetruscum, heralded by Buonanni (p. 65) and N. Sotwell (Bibliotheca scriptorum Societatis JESV, Rome, 1676, p. 93), never appeared. Kircher recorded its eventual completion in March, 1676, in a letter to Langenmantel (pp. 64-68) when it was submitted to the grandducal censors in Florence.

After some revision by Antonio Baldigiani S.J., the manuscript was forwarded to Jansson in Amsterdam in the summer of 1678, but was never printed. Kircher pays warm tribute to Father Baldigiani's help in a letter of the 29 June, 1675 to Francesco Redi (Biblioteca Medicea Laurentiana, Florence. Laur. Redi 203.c.289). According to Burckhard (II 144), the work was printed in Amsterdam in 1675.

The second edition of the Ars magna lucis et umbrae did however appear, in Amsterdam in 1671, five years after the death of August. lt was dedicated to Johann Friedrich von Waldstein (1642-1694), archbishop of Prague (1675-1694), who had given Kircher substantial financial backing in his restoration of the dilapidated church of S. Eustachio at Mentorella.

© 2003 Stäcker (Herzog August Bibliothek)