The titel of the book is de gli obelischi di Roma. With the “obelischi” is meant a pointed columne, which is, as it maybe can be guessed, located in Rom. Also, the whole book is written in Italian. In this case the title reveals the topic of the book.
At the back is a contents list to allow the reader to skip what does not interest them in that moment. That is maybe a sign, that this book could be read as a Manual and could be used as a guide.
The book is divided in 38 chapters and some examples at the end. The chapters discuss the obelisks in form, history, differences and many more aspects. Very impressive is not only the knowledge the author had about the columns itself, but also his knowledge about the backgrounds about the Egyptian kings, who built the obelisks and wrote texts on the obelisks in hieroglyphics.
There are no Illustrations nor of the columns neither of their religious backgrounds. Although it is an architectural book it is saddening that there are no impressions that support the text or make the imagination easier.
The author Michele Mercati (1541 – 1593) was born in San Miniato, Tuscany. He studied medicine and philosophy, but later became a physician and the leader of the Vatican Botanical Garden. He was one of the first, who believed that many stone constructions were built by humans, instead of the gods or mystical creatures.
Something I gathered and would like to point out is that the book starts with the words: “Beatissimo Padre”, which can be translated as “Holy father”. This very religious start is confusing to me, because the book seems to be not religious at all and the content is more a study than something religious. Maybe I’ll find the explanation to this later in the “Friends with an old book” series.