Twelve years ago, when I had just started this blog and was writing a lopsided early draft of my set-theory novel, my desktop background was an allegorical Alphabeta Artis that I later lost, and never found the right Google terms for until tonight. It is pegged, finally, as the frontispiece to Athanasius Kircher’s Ars Magna Sciendi, Sive Combinatoria.
There is much to love here, but I especially like the eye and the ear. I am happy to take Kircher on as a lexically garbled ancestor. Among other achievements, he takes the time to write out the factorials all the way up to fifty.
my sister knew a fellow who would shout "shrinkage factorial!" whenever he had to wade through a river. it happened a lot?