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  1. Last 7 days
    1. Moving beyond its role merely as a storehouse, generative aspects of the memory arts were highlighted by scholars like Raymond Llull. He designed mnemonic charts for considering all angles of an issue so as to arrive at otherwise unthought-of possibilities [Kircher, 1669]. This medieval system, consisting of diagrams and accompanying letters for easier exposition, was revived by the Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher [FIGURES 5 and 6].

      Raymond Llull's combinatoric art of memory was revived by Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher.

      want to read:

      Kircher, Athanasius, Artis Magnae Sciendi (Amsterdam, 1669).

  2. Jan 2022
    1. Kircher was sent the Voynich Manuscript in 1666 by Johannes Marcus Marci in the hope of Kircher being able to decipher it.
    2. In Kircher's system, ideograms were inferior to hieroglyphs because they referred to specific ideas rather than to mysterious complexes of ideas, while the signs of the Maya and Aztecs were yet lower pictograms which referred only to objects. Umberto Eco comments that this idea reflected and supported the ethnocentric European attitude toward Chinese and native American civilizations: "China was presented not as an unknown barbarian to be defeated but as a prodigal son who should return to the home of the common father". (p. 69)
    3. China Illustrata emphasized the Christian elements of Chinese history, both real and imagined: the book noted the early presence of Nestorian Christians (with a Latin translation of the Nestorian Stele of Xi'an provided by Boym and his Chinese collaborator, Andrew Zheng),[23] but also claimed that the Chinese were descended from the sons of Ham, that Confucius was Hermes Trismegistus/Moses and that the Chinese characters were abstracted hieroglyphs.

      Example of non-Europeans being considered the sons of Ham, in this case by an incredibly learned and influential Roman Catholic scholar.