The reception of John Dee's Monas hieroglyphica in early modern Italy: The case of Paolo Antonio Foscarini (c. 1562–1616) [Book Review]

One of the earliest Italian printed references to John Dee’s Monas hieroglyphica is generally considered to be in Giulio Cesare Capaccio’s Delle imprese, published in Naples in 1592. In the same year, however, another work was published, this time in Cosenza, in which the Monas featured prominently. Paolo Antonio Foscarini’s Scientiarum et artium omnium ferme anacephalaeosis theoretica, a previously unknown work, is a booklet containing 344 theses that the Carmelite friar and theologian Foscarini prepared for a disputation in honour of the new head of his order. Foscarini devoted eleven of those theses to hieroglyphs, taking several of them almost verbatim from the Monas. This essay examines each of the eleven theses in turn to explore Foscarini’s use of the Monas and his attempt to integrate Dee’s work with material from other sources, such as Johann Trithemius’s De septem secundeis. It then briefly looks at Foscarini’s interest in hieroglyphs after the Anacephalaeosis
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2011.12.010
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