Chapter 3 focuses on seventeenth-century Rome and examines the impact of missionary activities of the Catholic Church, in particular relating to studies in ethnography and linguistics, on architectural developments in the papal city. The central theme of the chapter concerns the growing interest in the concept of a universal language among late humanists, polyglots and literati, promulgated through exposure by missionaries to previously unknown cultures and languages throughout the world, coupled with growing interests in pictographic and emblematic forms of language. These interests are most clearly demonstrated in the work of the famous Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher, who identified what he believed to be an archaic connection between Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese characters. The visual arts played a key role in cultivating these relationships during the so-called ‘Age of Discovery’, evidenced in the iconography of quadrature frescoes and in architectural developments. The chapter will focus on an important dispute between the Collegio Romano and La Sapienza in seventeenth-century papal Rome, in respect of two competing visions of divine order; the former driven by a new geographical perspective (rooted in Aristotelian physics) and the latter informed by the new science of Galileo (underpinned by Platonic principles). These investigations demonstrate how the design and iconography of both institutions partly reflected these opposing outlooks, which in turn helped perpetuate a new graphic/emblematic understanding of language.