This chapter explores the scale of Egyptian Oedipus and how it impressed people of an age accustomed to scholarly grandiosity. To the modern reader, however, it is the book's substance that most astonishes. Egyptian Oedipus promises a complete “restoration of the hieroglyphic doctrine,” all the lost secrets of religion and science that ancient Egyptians supposedly encoded on their monuments. The massive final volume gathers almost every hieroglyphic inscription known to Europeans at that time, as well as other ancient artifacts, including mummies, sarcophagi, Canopic jars, sphinxes, idols, lamps, and amulets, found in Rome, other Christian cities, Istanbul, and Egypt. Kircher glosses each object with a learned explanation of its ancient significance. Without a Rosetta Stone, he translates the hieroglyphic inscriptions, character by character, into Latin prose.
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