Systema Ideale Qvo Exprimitur Aquarum per Canales hydrgagogos...
Published 1665, Amsterdam
Condition: Cropped to neat line.
A fascinating map of the globe depicting the planet’s core of fire and a plethora of subterranean seas and river systems that make their way to the earth’s upper crust via large abysses and whirlpools that are the cause of natural phenomena such as ocean currents, earthquakes and tides.
The map is adorned with clouds that surround the globe with four Aeolus like cherubs blowing winds around the earth. Also adorning the map is an insert at the bottom that describes these subterranean canals, currents and its fiery core.
It is argued that Athanasius Kirchner’s map, published in his Mundus Subterranous, was inspired by the eruption of Vesuvius in 1637 and the subsequent Calabria earthquakes in 1638. As such, Kircher’s map tried to explain these phenomena in a more scientific way than those usually reserved to acts of God alone. Although some of his reasoning has proven scientifically incorrect, some of his ideas were indeed on the mark. For example, his idea of a the earth’s core has passed the test of time as his postulation that earthquakes were caused from the shifts in parts of the earth’s crust that we now term tectonic plates.
Kircher’s map thus offers a fascinating depiction the earth both visually and through an early view of Earth that is more scientific based than religious. Ironically, it should be noted that Kircher was a Jesuit priest who, as early as 1665, attempted to provide answers to phenomena that were influenced more by scientific observations than those controlled by religion and superstition. The Jesuits society’s emphasis on education to provide answers to a changing worldview starting in the mid 16th Century thus allowed for Jesuits such as Kircher to ponder the natural world order in the 17th Century based on observations of the natural world that differed from long held assumptions.
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