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Athanasius Kircher

Geisa 1601 - Rom 1680


The polymath Athanasius Kircher was born in Geisa near Fulda on May 2, 1602. He first studied at the Jesuit secondary school in Fulda before he entered the Jesuit order in Padua in 1618 and studied philosophy and theology there. After that followed temporary stays in Münster, Cologne, Koblenz and Mainz.
In the year 1628, Kircher was ordained a priest. Two years later he was appointed Professor of Ethics and Mathematics in Würzburg. Here he wrote a discourse on magnetism, "Ars magnetica". Then in 1630, Kircher fled the Swedes in Würzburg; in 1633 he lived in Avignon.
In the same year, Kirchner received a call to the Viennese court of Emperor Ferdinand II (1619–37) to serve as court mathematician. However, he went to Rome, and from then on he was established for the long term as a mathematics teacher and papal librarian.
Athanasius Kircher illustrated several of his writings with very correctly sketched, constructively thought out and convincing fantasy architecture in an equally freely invented landscape. To some extent, these are reconstructions of famous old structures such as the Tower of Babel, the Gardens of Semiramis and the sun god statue, the Colossus of Rhodes.
Above all, the "Turris Babelis, sive Archontologia qua Primo, priscorum post diluvium magnitudo etc". that appeared in 1679 in Amsterdam reveals such fantastic architecture. In the Vatican, Kircher established the museum named after him, the Museum Kircheriuanum, a curio collection. He was also very active as an inventor.
Athanasius Kircher died in Rome on November 28, 1680.


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