|Published||[Amstelodami, Apud Joannem Janssonium & Elizeum Weyerstraten, Anno MDCLXV Cum Privilegiis ]|
|Dimensions||335 x 555 mm|
A fascinating and scientifically significant map of the world, demonstrating the theoretical actions and interrelationship of waves, currents, subterranean water, and volcanoes from Athanasius Kircher's geographical masterwork, Mundus subterraneus, quo universae denique naturae divitiae. The map is a slightly elongated Mercator projection, with North America and west Africa laterally exaggerated. Australasia is part of a gigantic Terra Australis Incognita, though the Tierra del Fuego is mapped separately from the landmass. California is shown correctly as a peninsula. The World's key waterways and inland seas are also exaggerated, with the Amazon almost making an island of the bottom half of south America, and Africa likewise almost divided by the Nile and the Gambia.
The most interesting features of the map though are not geographic but geological. Volcanoes are shown pictorially, while small bulls-eyes mark the theorised locations of what Kircher refers to as 'Abysses,' a series of underwater caves that he believed were the points at which the seas and oceans on the surface flowed through and joined a huge subterranean ocean inside the globe. Kircher believed that the movement of water into the globe's centre and out again caused tides, waves, and currents, while their interaction with fire and lava within the earth caused storms, volcanoes, and waterspouts. Though obviously flawed, Kircher's theory had an attractive alchemical feel to it, and, when considering his own small scale experiments with steam and his first hand studies of natural phenomena, seems to have been a fairly logical extension of things he himself had either proved or observed.
Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) was one of the leading lights of the seventeenth century's European academic community. A German Jesuit, Kircher's interests were many and varied, including comparative theology, geology, biology, history, philology, philosophy, ethnography (particularly Sinology and Egyptology), medicine, law, and technology. His studies championed empiricism, even to the point where, when in Italy, he was lowered into an active volcano. His most celebrated works included the Mundus Subterraneus, a treatise on the actions and interactions of fire, water, and air in natural phenomena and one of the earliest works of volcanology, as well as pamphlets on magnetism, Egyptian heiroglyphics, and the Tower of Babel.
Johannes Janssonius (1588 - 1664) was a famed cartographer and print publisher. More commonly known as Jan Jansson, he was born in Arnhem where his father, Jan Janszoon the Elder, was a bookseller and publisher. In 1612 he married the daughter of the cartographer and publisher Jodocus Hondius, and then set up in business in Amsterdam as a book publisher. In 1616 he published his first maps of France and Italy and from then onwards, produced a very large number of maps which went some way to rival those of the Blaeu family, who held a virtual monopoly over the industry. From about 1630 to 1638 he was in partnership with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius, issuing further editions of the Mercator/Hondius atlases to which his name was added. On the death of Hondius he took over the business, expanding the atlas still further, until eventually he published an eleven volume Atlas Major on a scale similar to Johannes Blaeu's magnum opus. After Jansson's death, his heirs published a number of maps in the Atlas Contractus of 1666, and, later still, many of the plates of his British maps were acquired by Pieter Schenk and Gerard Valck, who published them again in 1683 as separate maps.
Condition: Central vertical fold, as issued. Trimmed to plate mark on left and right margin, as issued. Minor time toning, particularly to central fold.