Imaginary view of the museum 445G
Imaginary view of the museum 445G

“It is difficult to accurately summarize the breadth of activities explored and mastered by the 17th century Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher. Inventor, composer, geographer, geologist, Egyptologist, historian, adventurer, philosopher, proprietor of one of the first public museums, physicist, mathematician, naturalist, astronomer, archaeologist, author of more than 40 published works: Kircher was one of the preeminent European intellectuals of the Seventeenth century. A contemporary of Newton, Boyle, Leibniz and Descartes, Kircher’s rightful place in the history of science has been shrouded by his attempt to forge a unified world view out of traditional Biblical historicism and the emerging secular scientific theory of knowledge.” © 1996-2008 The Museum Of Jurassic Technology, 9341 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232 Email:


Athanasius Kirchen 455G
Athanasius Kircher 455G
Title Page of 455G
Title Page of 455G

389G   Buonanni, Filippo.     1638-1725

Musaeum Kircherianum, sive, Musaeum a P. Athanasio Kirchero in Collegio Romano Societatis Jesu : jam pridem incoeptum nuper restitutum, auctum, descriptum, & iconibus illustratum. Classis prima. Continens idola & instrumenta ad sacrificia ethnicorum spectantia — Classis secunda. Continens tabellas votivas & anathematha — Classis tertia. Continens sepulchra & inscriptiones sepulchrales — Classis quarta. Continens lucernas sepulchrales — Classis quinta. Fragmenta eruditae antiquitatis — Classis sexta. Continens lapides, fossilia, aliasqueglebas, ê natura effigie aliqua donatas — Classis septima. Apparatum habet rerum pergrinarum, ex variis orbis plagis collectum — Classis octava. Exponuntur plantae marinae, frutices, & animalia tum mariana, tum terrestria — Classis nona. Instrumenta mathematica — Classis decima. Indicantur tabulae pictae, signa marmorea, & numismata diversi generis — Classis undecima. Continet observationes rerum minimarum ope microscopii factas — Classis duodecima. Continens animalia testacea — Pars secunda. Describuntur testacea in parte quarta delineata — Pars tertia. Continent varia problemata menti proposita in observatione testaceorum.           


Amsterdam: Jansson-Waesberg, 1709.                                              $7,000

Large Folio,14 X 9 Inches .  First edition.  *6 A-G4 H2 I-N4 O6 P-T4 V6 X-2A4 2B8 2C6 2D-2G4 2H6 2I-2Z4 3A6 3B4 engraved portrait and 171 engraved plates, lacking plate eighty,

Bound in contemporary speckled sheepskin.

Buonanni, one of the most learned Jesuits of his time and was a pupil of Athanasius Kircher, and in 1680 succeeded his master as teacher of mathematics at the Collegium Romanum; in 1698, he was appointed curator of the Kircherian Museum, which he described in this book  Museum Collegii Romani Kircherianum (1709) He took it on to restore the Kircherianum and this book is a monument to that effort. It describes in words and 171 engravings what was to be found in the awesome and astounding collection. Natural history and and antiquities are strongly represented (e.g., the final 48 plates are of shells!),  on pages 309-10 we learn of  Instrument musica, et authomata diversa. Astronomy and Miscrospy.

389G   Buonanni, Filippo slide projector
389G Buonanni, Filippo
slide projector
389G   Buonanni, Filippo Microscope
389G Buonanni, Filippo

Erudite in a number of fields, including numistmatics and ecclesiastical history (writing on both subjects), Buonanni made extensive studies in the natural sciences; he constructed his own microscope with three lenses (according to Tortona╒s system), which proved to be an ingenious mechanism for continual observation. In his ‘Ricreazione dell ochio e della mente nell observazione della chiocciole’ (1681) a work valuable for its many illustrations of shells, he explicitly affirmed his belief in the spontaneous generation of mollusks and rekindled the controversy over generation that had flared in 1671 between Kircher and Francesco Redi.

389G   Buonanni, Filippo
389G Buonanni, Filippo

Buonanni’s position was anachronistic, since the Aristotleian theory of spontaneous generation had been disproved by Redi in his “Esperienze intorno all generazione degli insetti (1668)” and by Marcello Malpighi, who had demonstrated the pathogenesis of oak galls from the development of fertilized insect eggs in his Anatome plantarum (1679). He based his belief in the spontaneous generation of mollusks partly on the authority of Aristotle and Kircher and partly on a report by Camillo Picchi of Ancona.he was convinced, as he stated in his Ricreazione, that the mollusks had no hearts.  If this were so, they had no blood; Aristotle had written that no bloodless animal is oviparous, and that all conches are generated spontaneously by the mud – oysters by dirty mud, the others by sandy mud. Convinced that the conches were heartless and bloodless, Buonanni believed that both observation and authority supported the idea of spontaneous generation. – Dictionary of Scientific Biography p.591

389G   Buonanni, Filippo Big Telescope!
389G Buonanni, Filippo
Big Telescope!

Cicognara, L. Catalogo d’arte e antichitê,; 3372;  Nissen, ZBI, 2198; Cobres I, p. 106; DeBacker-Sommervogel, II, 381-382; Cicognara 3372; Gresse I,p480,col 1