Kircher's Tower of Babel, 17th century

Kircher's Tower of Babel, 17th century

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Credit: ASIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN DIVISION/NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY/ SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Kircher's Tower of Babel. 17th-century commentary on the Tower of Babel, by German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher (circa 1601-1680). This tower in Babylon was built to reach heaven. God destroyed it and scattered the builders, causing many languages instead of one. Here, the tower reaches the orbit of the Moon (Coelum Lunae), with six quotes from Genesis: Latin, Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic. The Earth on a chain shows the centre of gravity. Kircher's comments (boxed) conclude that such a tower would cause the Earth-Moon-Sun system to collapse. Artwork from Kircher's 'Turris Babel' (1679).

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