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Kircher, Athanasius [Athanasii Kircheri] (1601 Or 02-1680).

Oedipus Aegyptiacus. Hoc Est Vniuersalis Hieroglyphicæ Veterum Doctrinæ Temporum Iniuria Abolitæ Instauratio. Opus Ex Omni Orientalium Doctrina & Sapientia Conditum, Nec Non Viginti Diuersarium Linguarum Authoritate Stabilitum

      Rome / Romae: Ex typographia Vitalis Mascardi, 1652-1654 (1655). Folio (346 x 233 mm), 3 vols. bound in 4. Collation: v.1: [cross]2, 2-9 cross4, a-c4, d2, A-Mmm4; v.2: A-Nnn4; v.2 (part 2): A-Zzz4, Zzz2, Aaaa-Cccc4, Dddd2; v.3: A-Iiiii4, Kkkk2. Bound with engraved half title, portrait of Ferdinand III and two folding maps in v.1; two plates in v.2 (one folding, one not); and, 10 folding plates in vol. 3., in addition to numerous woodcut and engraved illustrations throughout the text. Complete. Bound in near contemporary full leather boards, sympathetically rebacked. A few short tears along folds of plates (quite minor), a handful of marginal paper defects and flaws, some with early repairs, and a few pages browned or foxed as if the book was left open. Otherwise, internal contents are well-margined and quite fresh with clear type and clean, white pages, just about Fine. Bookplates of Charles F. Cox and George Oakley Fisher. Kircher was the most famous Egyptologist of his day and was a pioneer in deciphering hieroglyphics. While many of his “ translations” were later found inaccurate after the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, his early work was important to those later scholars. Egyptologist Erik Iverson wrote: “ It is therefore Kircher's incontestable merit that he was the first to have discovered the phonetic value of an Egyptian hieroglyph. From a humanistic as well as an intellectual point of view Egyptology may very well be proud of having Kircher as its founder. ” This approbation of his work softens the irony of the engraved title illustration showing Oedipus solving the riddle of the Sphinx (i.e. Kircher deciphering the riddle of the hieroglyphs). A magnificent work with stunning illustrations and text in several ancient languages. Additional images available upon request.

      [Bookseller: Alibris]
Last Found On: 2012-06-25          Check current availability from:     Alibris


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