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1608 - Early Egyptology & First Printing of Gnostic Gems

1608 - Early Egyptology & First Printing of Gnostic Gems


Renaissance Europe hailed Ancient Egypt as the cradle of the most ancient and thus most primordially true philosophy and spirituality, with interest in Hermeticism blooming during this period.  This also meant that European scholars began to take a sustained scholarly interest in Egyptian Hieroglyphics and symbolism, with sustained attempts to decipher them. Along with Athanasius Kircher, Pignoria’s text might be considered among the first true works of Egyptology. Exploring and illustrating a wide range of Egyptian artifacts, this volume also contains interest because it contains the earliest depictions of Gnostic amulets and gems in European history.  Wonderfully illustrated throughout and of interest for early Egyptology as much as Gnosticism.  


1608. CHARACTERES AEGYPTII, hoc est, sacrorum, quibus aegyptii utuntur, simulachrorum accurate delineato et explicativo (...). Frankfurt. Typis Matthiae Beckeri, Impensis vero dictorum fratrum, et viduae Theodoris de Bry, matris Eorundem. Collation: 1 blank paper, title page with [6],[2] blanks, 43 pages, [8] index, many engravings in the text and 5 plates outside the text (out of 7, the two final extended plates were either never included or have been lost.  This editions contains an unreliable addition of the plates). Second edition, but much more expanded, of this which is considered the first work of Egyptology. Lorenzo Pignoria (1571-1631) was an important Italian historian, antiquarian and archaeologist. Ex libris of Jean Pierre A. Sylvestre de Grateloup, well-known French doctor and naturalist, member of the Société linnéenne de Paris, the first "Linnean society" in the world. Contemporary full leather binding in good condition, slightly loose at the bottom. Very small bookworm damage from page 23 to page. 43, but only on the lower margin without damage to the text. Very small foxing hole on page 27 without damage to the text. Some damp spots, but sturdy paper. Very nice copy. Very rare book.

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