Thursday, August 10


This is the title page of a later edition of the polymathic savant Fr. Athanasius Kircher's 1656 work the Itinerarium exstaticum, a fascinating work in which the good Jesuit (here called Theodidactus) is guided through the solar system in a fantastic dream by his guardian angel Cosmiel. That's Cosmiel there with the wings, incidentally. It's right up there with Max Kolbe's speculations on rocket science as the genre of Catholic armchair space exploration goes; indeed, Kircher's universe is not only nearly Copernican, with sunspots, moon-craters and plenty of un-Aristotelian sublunar elements in distinctly translunar locations, but also one where there's room even for life on other planets!

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