Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, July 2013

GASPAR SCHOTT (1608-1666). Physica curiosa, sive mirabilia naturae et artis libris XII. comprehensa, quibus pleraque…Wurzburg,] 1697.

Schott was the author of several works on mathematics, physics, and magic. His most interesting work is the “Magia universalis naturæ et artis”, 1657-1659, which contains a collection of mathematical problems and a large number of physical experiments in optics and acoustics. He published “Pantometricum Kircherianum”; “Physica curiosa”, a supplement to the “Magia universalis”; “Anatomia physico-hydrostatica fontium et fluminum”, and a “Cursus mathematicus”. “Physica Curiosa” is a large compendium of pictures and stories regarding monsters, physical abnormalities, and bizarre animals. Rather than a work of original scholarship Schott’s book, like many others of its kind, attempts to gather together as much as is commonly known on a topic. Many of the descriptions of animals and creatures repeat apocryphal accounts as if they are fact, and perpetuate belief in unicorns, satyrs, and other mythical beings”.