Is the title of a plate by German Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) of a graphic representation of the heavens made in his work Oboliscus Aegyptiacus. Kircher was the brightest scientific star of his day. Towards the end of his life, though he was to be eclipsed by the rationalism of René Descartes and others he is still “a giant among seventeenth-century scholars… one of the last thinkers who could rightfully claim all knowledge as his domain”.
Described as the last man of the Renassiance, Kircher was “a champion of wonder, a man of awe-inspiring erudition and inventiveness,” whose work was read “by the smartest minds of the time.” He is known in history primarily as the man who drew the map of the fabled Atlantis.
Kircher argued that Coptic preserved the last development of ancient Egyptian. For this Kircher has been considered the true “founder of Egyptology”, because his work was conducted “before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone rendered Egyptian hieroglyphics comprehensible to scholars”. He also recognized the relationship between hieratic and hieroglyphic scripts.
In Oedipus Aegyptiacus, Kircher argued under the impression of the Hieroglyphica that ancient Egyptian was the language spoken by Adam and Eve, that Hermes Trismegistus was Moses, and that hieroglyphs were occult symbols which “cannot be translated by words, but expressed only by marks, characters and figures.” This led him to translate simple hieroglyphic texts now known to read as dd Wsr (“Osiris says”) as “The treachery of Typhon ends at the throne of Isis; the moisture of nature is guarded by the vigilance of Anubis”
Scholars of the 20th century discovered amongst Kircher’s writings, correspondence with hieroglyphic inscriptions deciphered to represent past events thought unique – Kircher illustrating sources lost to science. He established the link between the ancient Egyptian and the modern Coptic languages, and some commentators regard him as the founder of Egyptology, while others that his writings were too subjective to have been science.
The following is an extract from the fragments of the journals of archaeologist Karl Oskar Eklund:
“Kircher, other than the drawing of the map of Atlantis, is most infamously known wihin our small eclectic circles of scholars, as the man who deciphered the secret writings ‘Alpahetvm Scriptvræ Coelestis’. The featured image shows the night heavens called by Kircher ‘Hemisphæreum Coelestium’ – deciphering the mystery of mysterious symbols that have long plagued archaeologists and students of esoterica. This at least, partly answered with reference to Kircher’s work, revealing the use of symbols to group stars in a codification of the heavens.”
“This resolves the mysterious symbols seen on such wonders of the ancient world as the Prognosticon, the divining disc of Ancient Pergamon. What the stars or constellations are, remain of course still open to interpretation, but there can be no doubt, that with reference to Kircher and Kircher’s interpretation of ancient studies that the peculiar symbols decode the heaven into a symbolic script.”
Kircher cited as his sources Chaldean astrology, Hebrew kabbalah, Greek myth,Pythagorean mathematics, Arabian alchemy and Latin philology. Modern experts on hieroglyphic writing have found Kircher’s work to be of little value. Another symbol featured in Kircher’s writings is the seven-pointed star:
Downloadable images the full text of Oboliscus Aegytiacus (Rome 1666)