Two Early Illustrated books, each which has depictions of Geographical changes, Technical inventions, and  Historical milestones. 

646J. Werner Rolewinck.1425-1502 (With a continuation by J. Linturius and others from 1484-1514)

Fasciculus temporum omnes antiquorum cronicas a creatione mundi usque ad annum christi M.ccccc.xxiiii subcincte complectens una cum multis additionibus : tam de gallia quam de aliis regionibus sparsim hic adjectis q̄ nūsq[ue] antea apposite fuerant.

[Paris] Venalis in vico sancti Iacobi sub flore lilii [Jean Petit] expensis … Iohannis parui vniuersitatis parrhisiensis bibliopole iurati in vico diui Iacobi sub lilio aureo commorantis.  1524  $ 8,000

Quarto 28 x 18 cm. Signatures: πA⁶,A-K⁸L⁶M⁸. According to Moreau, the date of 1524 is confirmed by the state of printing of the publisher’s mark of Jean Petit.

With woodcut printer’s mark and 21 hand coloured text woodcuts. Flexible vellum of the time with handwritten spine title (stained and slightly creased, the original ties were removed)

Rolewinck’s Fasciculus Temporum was an enormously popular world chronicle, appearing in over 30 incunabular editions in Latin, German, French, and Dutch. A very handsome and typographically-sophisticated volume, with varying columns, circular devices with inset type, and woodcuts throughout. This work aspires to trace the history of the world from the beginning of time until the year of pulication. The wood cuts include Monstrous births, a Merman, the destruction of Sodom & Gormora, city views, Venice , Babylon, a Dogman… The thirty-three woodcuts are crisp and rather charming, and, like those in many fifteenth- and sixteenth-century chronicles, are occasionally reused to illustrate different events and locations. The work is fascinating for the comprehensiveness of its content as well as the beauty of its execution. Of particular interest is a reference to the invention of printing (in 1454) on the verso of Folio Wiii.

USTC 181884; Adams R675..; BM STC France; p. 161; (Renouard, Marques, n° 887; Renouard, ICP, III, 743; Haebler, Nº8


567J Kircher,Athanasius. (1602-1680)

567J    Kircher, Athanasius. (1602-1680) 

Romani Collegii Societatis Jesu Musaeum Celeberrimum, Cujus magnum Antiquariae rei, statuarum, imaginum, picturarumque partem Ex Legato Alphonsi Donini, S.P.Q.R. A Secretis, munifica Liberalitate relictum. P. Athanasius Kircherus Soc. Jesu, novis & raris inventis locupletatum, compluriumque Principum curiosis donariis magno rerum apparatu instruxit; Innumeris insuper rebus ditatum, ad plurimorum, maxime exterorum, curiositatisque doctrinae avidorum instantiam urgentesque preces novis compluribusque machinis, tum peregrinis ex Indiis allatis rebus publicae luci votisque exponit Georgius de Sepibus Valesius, Authoris in Machinis concinnandis Executor.

Amsterdam: Ex Officina Janssonio-Waesbergiana 1678    $18,700 

Folio, 37 x 23.5 cm. Signatures: *4, A-I4. Complete with all  [19leaves of plates (9 folded) : illustrations, portrait ; First plate has engraved title page on recto and blank verso. Printer’s device on title page./ Dedication (unnumbered pages 5-6) by Athanasius Kircher, dated Jan. 25, 1678./ Includes index. a list of books by Kircher and a List of Illustrations.  First edition. 

The many fantastic illustrations in this copy include a frontispiece view of the museum’s interior display, nine large folding engravings of obelisks, seven full paged engravings, nineteen text woodcuts, and three text engravings. Bound in full early vellum, smooth spine with title in ink (contemporary binding). A very nice large copy. 

I have found three digital/internet virtual copies:,1

“Athanasius Kircher, who was (is still) celebrated for the versatility of his knowledge and particularly distinguished for his knowledge of the natural sciences.” Collected physical representation of his intellectual voyages and his Museum/Cabinet is its manifestation.

“This book is the only description of Kircher’s museum in the Collegio Romano as it appeared in his lifetime, with the only extant depiction of the museum in all its fantastic glory.”(P.Dowling.)

The breath of the polymatical [ or polyhistorc?] territory represented in this work, certainly was a life source of the energy which birthed the possibility of concept of Enlightenment. And places Kircher beyond Bacon as the true homo universalis of his century. A quick look at the index of this book shows the precursor of Diderot and D’Alembert 1751, who were among the last who did not suffer from “the cult of specialisation” which in a short time redirected the epistem of western culture, fueled by capitalistic energies and moralities.

As a Historical Snapshot of Early-modern sensibilities I can think of no better book.

Kircher was born 2 May, 1601, at Geisa a small town on the northern bank of the Upper Rhone (Buchonia); died at Rome, 28 November, 1680. From his birthplace he was accustomed to add the Latin epithet Bucho, or Buchonius, to his name, although later he preferred calling himself Fuldensis after Fulda, the capital of his native country. The name Athanasius was given him in honor of the saint on whose feast he was born. John Kircher, the father of Athanasius, had studied philosophy and theology at Mainz, without, however, embracing the priestly calling. As soon as he had obtained the doctor’s degree in the latter faculty, he went to lecture on theology in the Benedictine house at Seligenstadt. Athanasius studied humanities at the Jesuit College in Fulda, and on 2 October, 1618, entered the Society of Jesus at Paderborn. At the end of his novitiate he repaired to Cologne for his philosophical studies. The journey thither was, on account of the confusion caused by the Thirty Years’ War, attended with great danger. Together with his study of speculative philosophy the talented young student devoted himself especially to the natural sciences and the classical languages, for which reason he was shortly afterwards called to teach these branches at the Jesuit colleges in Coblenz and Heiligenstadt. In Mainz, where Kircher (1625) began his theological studies, he attracted the notice of the elector through his ability and his skill as an experimentalist. In 1628 he was ordained priest, and hardly had he finished his last year of probation at Speyer when the chair of ethics and mathematics was given to him by the University of Wurzburg, while at the same time he had to give instructions in the Syrian and Hebrew Languages. However, the disorders consequent on the wars obliged him to go first to Lyons in France (1631) and later to Avignon.

“The discovery of some hieroglyphic characters in the library of Speyer led Kircher to make his first attempt to solve the problem of hieroglyphical writing, which still baffled all scholars. At Aix he made the acquaintance of the well-known French senator, Nicolas Peiresc, whose magnificent collections aroused in Kircher the highest interest. Recognizing in Kircher the right man to solve the old Egyptian riddle, Periesc applied direct to Rome and to the General of the Jesuits to have Kircher’s call to Vienna by the emperor set aside and to procure a summons for the scholar to the Eternal City. This generous intention was favored by Providence, inasmuch as Kircher on his way to Vienna was shipwrecked near Civita Vecchia, and arrived in Rome before the knowledge of his call thither had reached him. Until his death, Rome was now to be the principal scene of Kircher’s many-sided activity, which soon developed in such an astonishing way that the pope, emperor, princes, and prelates vied with one another in furthering and supporting the investigations of the learned scholar. After six years of successful teaching in the Roman College, where he lectured on physics, mathematics, and Oriental languages, he was released from these duties that he might have freedom in his studies and might devote himself to formal scientific research, especially in Southern Italy and Sicily. He took advantage of a trip to Malta to explore thoroughly the various volcanoes which exist between Naples and that island. He studied especially in 1638 the Strait of Messina, where, besides the noise of the surge, a dull subterranean rumble attracted his attention.

 At Trapani and Palermo his interest was aroused by the remains of antediluvian elephants. But before all else he tried to discover the subterranean power of the volcanoes at Aetna and Stromboli, then in eruption; public attention had been called to such mysterious phenomena by the frightful eruption of Vesuvius in 1630.

“When Kircher left Messina in 1638 to return to Naples, a terrible earthquake occurred which destroyed the city of Euphemia. Like Pliny before him Kircher wished to study at close range this powerful convulsion of nature. On reaching Naples he at once climbed Vesuvius, and had himself lowered by means of a rope into the crater and its inner structure. As the firstfruits of his travels he published, for the Knights of Malta, “Specula Melitensis Encyclica sive syntagma novum instrumentorum physico-mathematicorum” (Messina, 1638). It was forty years later that the fully matured results of these investigations appeared in Kircher’s great work, the “Mundus Subterraneus,” in two volumes (Amsterdam, 1678), which enjoyed the greatest repute in his time; not only did it give an incentive to the more searching investigation of subterranean forces, but it contributed much to their final explanation. When again in Rome, Kircher began collecting all kinds of antiquities and ethnologically important remains, thus laying the foundation of the well-known museum, which as the ‘Museum Kircherianum,’ still attracts today so many visitors to the Roman College. Epoch-making also were Kircher’s labors in the domain of deciphering hieroglyphics, and on the excavation of the so-called Pamphylian obelisk, he succeeded in supplying correctly the portions which had been concealed from him. [An engraving of the Pamphylian obelisk is part of the Kircher museum book.] It must be remembered that in those days little or no attention was paid to this subject, and that it was therefore in itself a great service to have taken the initiative in this branch of investigation, however lacking his efforts may have been in the fundamental principles of the science as it is known today. Kircher also gave an impetus to the intimate study of the relations between the different languages: Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldaic, Syrian, Samaritan, Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Persian, Ethiopian, Italian,…

DeBacker-Sommervogel Vol.IV Col. 1076 Nº ; 

 Grasse; IV,p21; .Caillet, A.L. Manuel bibliographique des sciences psychiques ou occultes,; 5784;

 Rooms of wonder, New York, The Grolier Club, 2012, n° 20 : Not in Merrill.