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VMs: Re: "M." Georg Barchius
> [Dana Scott:] I wonder if the M. might refer to 'Monsignore'.
> Merriam-Webster's date for this title is 1641 (close enough).
> The definition given is 'a Roman Catholic prelate having a
> dignity or titular distinction (as of domestic prelate or
> protonotary apostolic) usually conferred by the pope -- used as
> a title prefixed to the surname or to the given name and
> surname'. Maybe not, but at least it makes for some interesting
I thought that it could be that, or perhaps "Monk" ("Monacus"?).
However, to my eyes, the tone of the letter does not seem to be what I
would expect from a member of the Church. For example, I don't think
that he would have referred to the first courier simply as "a certain
religious person". Wouldn't he have been more conscious of the
person's name and title, or at least referred to him as "brother" or
such? And would Kircher write to Marci (a layman) to inquire about
another "man of the cloth"?
As for "Monsignore", specifically, that title would have made Baresch an
equal or superior to Kircher in the hierarchy, and again the tone of
the letter seems to be against that. Not to mention that a Monsignore
would have been much easier to track down in historical records,
What do we know of Baresch's first attempt to communicate with
Kircher? Was the contact arranged by or through Marci, or did Baresch
contact the "religious person" directly?
Rafal's explanation of "M"="Magister" (in the sense of M.Sc)
makes enough sense for me. Are there instances of it being used?
Could it be instead "Magister" in the sense of "Professor" or "Teacher"?
Could it be "Physician" ("Medicus"?)?
All the best,