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The letter of Johannes Marcus Marci to Athanasius Kircher (1665)

Reverend Lord Father in Christ

This book was left to me by a close friend in his will and ever since I first owned it I have destined it for you my dearest Athanasius, persuaded as I am that it can be read by none if not by you.

The then possessor of the book once sent you letters seeking your judgment about a part of it which he wrote down and sent to you, being convinced that the rest of it could be read by you. He refused to send the actual book and put untiring work into its decipherment. as will be seen from his attempts now sent to you under the same cover. He did not give up this hope until he reached the end of his life. But in fact his work was in vain, as such riddles only obey their very own Kircher. So now please accept what was long owed to you as some small token of my affection for you, and break through its bars with your habitual ease.

Doctor Raphael, the Czech language tutor of King Ferdinand III as they both then were, once told me that the said book belonged to Emperor Rudolph and that he presented 600 ducats to the messenger who brought him the book. He, Raphael, thought that the author was Roger Bacon the Englishman. I suspend my judgement on the matter.

You be the judge of what we should think about it. I commend myself to your favour and grace and I remain

At the service of your Reverence.

Prague 19 August 1665