Alchemy Academy archive
August 1999

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Subject: New Atalantis and George Herbert
From: Bartek Protas
Date: 5 Aug 1999


In the year 1660 Robert Hooke published a continuation of Bacon's
"New Atlantis". I heard that this work was prefaced by a poem
written by George Herbert. Does anyone know which poem this was?

Bartek Protas


Subject: New Atlantis and George Herbert
From: George Leake
Date: 5 Aug 1999

Bartek Protas wrote:

>In the year 1660 Robert Hooke published a continuation of Bacon's
>"New Atlantis". I heard that this work was prefaced by a poem
>written by George Herbert. Does anyone know which poem this was?

Keynes' bibliography of Hooke has some interesting information.
Keynes casts doubts on the suggestion that Bacon had anything
to do with this "continuation" of New Atlantis. A copy of this was
apparently in the Wing Collection, or cataloged with Wing Collection
cataloging, at B309. Our Wing Collection does not include this piece.
There is a brief note about the Herbert poem you ask about, pretty
much a passing remark, nothing specific like a title however.

G.Leake


Subject: New Atlantis and George Herbert
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 99
From: Jon Marshall

The "New Atlantis Continued" was reissued by the PRS in 1985, so
you might still be able to find copies.

It is written by R.H. which may or may not be Robert Hooke. Manly Hall
states that Gibson states that Hazlitt states that R.H. may be Richard
Haines, about whom I know nothing.

The poem by Herbert (described as 'public speaker in the Academy of
Canterbury') is in Latin, sadly the PRS edition silently translates the
Latin.

The First Lines of the Translation state:

"In honour of the most illustrious D.D. Verulam, Viscount of St. Albans,
Keeper of the Great Seal, after the great Instauration given by him.

"Who finally is he? Indeed he does not stride with an ordinary
contenance"

jon


Subject: New Atlantis and George Herbert
Date: Sat, 07 Aug 99
From: Jon Marshall

If I may be pardoned for replying to myself:

I wrote:

>The poem by Herbert.. is in Latin, sadly the PRS edition silently
>translates the Latin...
>
>"In honour of the most illustrious D.D. Verulam, Viscount of St. Albans,
Keeper of the Great Seal, after the great Instauration given by him.

The Latin poem is probably

In Honorium Illustr. D.D. Verulamij, S[superscript]ti[end superscript]
Albani, Mag. Sigilli Custodis post editam ab eo Instaurationem Magnum

Qvis iste tandem? non enim vultu ambulat
Quotidiano! Necis, Ignare? Audies! [[etc.etc.]]

In the old Oxford World Classics Edition page 273

The editor, Helen Gardner, dates the poem from 1620-21 so it presumably
was not written for the *New Atlantis... Continued*

Herbert wrote several other poems to Bacon

Ad Autorem Instaurationis Magnae
and
In obitum incomparabilis Francisci Vicecomitis Sancti Albani, Barnois
Verulamij

jon



Subject: Alchemical references in the poetry of George Herbert
Date: Sat, 07 Aug 99
From: Jon Marshall

As probably everyone knows George Herbert used Alchemy as a
metaphor for spiritual processes in several poems;

'The Elixir', suggests a vague pantheism, and the virtue of 'working in
the Lord' (like the vocation of Max Weber's Protestant Ethic).

"Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in any thing
To do it as for thee [...]

"This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold:
For that which God dothe touch and own
Cannot for lesse be told."

In 'Easter' is a comparison of alchemy with Christ:

"Rise heart thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just. [...]"

In 'The Sinner' Herbert finds piles of vanities within him and "but
shreds of holiness"

"In so much dross the quintessance is small:
The spirit and good extract of my heart
Comes to about the hundredth part"

though this quintessence is not enough for salvation without the
help of god.


In the poem 'to all the Angels and Saints' there is a reference to the
healing power of gold

"Thou art the holy mine, whence came the gold,
The great resorative for all decay
In young and old"

Herbert's approach to laboratory alchemy is critical in 'Vanitie' (I)

"The subtil Chymick can devest
And strip the creature naked, till he finde
The callow principles within their nest:
There he impsrts to them his minde,
Admitted to their bed-chamber, before
They appeare trim and drest
To ordinary suitors at the door."

The point seems to be that the alchemist misses the only important
thing which is the command of God which gives life. I guess that
creature is used in the sense of the 'created thing', not 'animal'.

Clearly the implicit theory that Alchemy is about spiritual redemption
was 'in the air' in the 17th Century so that it became an easy
metaphor for people to use. The question of whether this 'easy
metaphor' is a 'truth' or not, is a different matter.

jon


Subject: Dee and Kelley in Bohemia
From: Michal Pober
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 1999

I have recently had a considerable opportunity and valuable
help from someone who reserves anonymity to explore some of
the minutiae of Dee and Kelley's movements in Bohemia and am
taking this opportunity to post some details of what is still work in
progress. Along the way I have also had considerable help from a
number of Dee scholars to whom I also give great thanks for their
generous sharing of information and checking of information.

Perhaps some of these details are already known to some people
but I wasn't able to find the information anywhere; if we have
re-invented the wheel, so be it.

All place names and people's names are given in modern
equivalents in the current language of the place but with diacritics
omitted.

We have identified the house where Dee and Kelley stayed when
they first arrived in Prague and its exact [former] location and also
the identity of 'Simon Baccalaureus Pragensis' whose name and
other decorations adorned the 'excellent little Stove, or Study'.
Probably few will be surprised to hear that the house is no longer
standing, nor is its next-door neighbour to which it was later joined,
though otherwise the surrounding houses are almost intact.

Regarding the house of Tadeas Hajek [full name Tadeas
Hajek z Hajku]: 'by Bethlem', first mentioned in "A True and Faithful
Relation' p. 212, Prague 1584, 15th August:

From:

Zaklady stareho mistopisu Prazskeho
[1437-1620]
Sestavil Dr. Josef Teige, archivar kr. hl. m. Prahy
Oddil I.
Stare mesto Prazske.
Dil II.
(Ochoz XIIa - XXX.)
V PRAZE 1915
Nakladem obce kralovskeho hlavniho mesta Prahy.

translation:

A Basic Description of the Geography of old Prague
[dates]
Compiled by Dr. J.T., archivist of the royal capital city of Prague
Vol.I
Prague Old Town
Part II
Section XIIa - XXX
Prague1915
Published by the municipality of the royal capital, Prague

[This is a book about the ownership of individual buildings in
Prague and about the wills of the deceased owners and other legal
documents connected to the properties; all the entries are referenced
to archival documents. It includes the following information:

Section XXX, p.874

[Building] No. 252

[in the historic numbering system based on the order of construction
of the original building at the location - in Prague the 'red' numbers,
as opposed to the more modern 'blue' numbers, which follow each
other sequentially in any particular street]

Dum u zelenych hajku, u Hajku.

[House at the green mound, at Hajek's; Hajek being a description
both of the geography and the family name]

7. 1504, Manuscript no. 2107, f. 253 speaks in Latin of the house being
left by Dorothea Vitova to her son Simon.

8. 1519, 13th August, Manuscript no. 534 II f.5 speaks of the marriage
of Simon bakalar to Katerina Kanhova who had previously been
married to a well-known teacher at Charles University called
Mikulas Kanh.

[Subsequent entries continue to refer to him as Simon bakalar and
as the father of Tadeas Hajek.
Clearly he is the A-- [dept] who is referred to in AT&FR as 'Simon
Baccalaureus Pragensis' and author of the verses and illustrations
described in detail in the same entry of Aug. 15th 1584.]

We have consulted a number of maps and pictures of Bethlemske
nam., from dates ranging from 1562 -1845 and have also consulted
with Katerina Beckova, who is an authority on the changing buildings
of Prague, and ascertained that the buildings no. 252 and 253 stood
at the NW corner of the square, mostly in front of the building no. 251
which currently has a Fish Restaurant on the Ground Floor, making
the square considerably narrower at that point than it is today. From
the plans that we have it also seems extremely likely that the entrance
to 252 was probably facing away from the square and would have
been from what is now Liliova St.

The Jutner Map of 1816 shows the two as distinct buildings, no. 253
being considerably larger, while a map from 1845 shows only
no. 252 occupying the area of both the original houses.
We have a drawing of the Bethlehem Chapel and the square from
1562, by Jan Kozl and Michal Peterl which shows the two
buildings clearly.

According to Katerina Beckova & Miroslav Fokt's: Svedectvi
Lagweilova modelu Prahy, 1996 Schola ludus - Pragensia,
Muzeum Hlavniho Mesta Praha
[Evidence of the Langweil model of Prague, pub. 1996 - this is a model
which is is in the Museum of the Capital City of Prague] in 1837 no. 253
was destroyed and in 1896 no. 252. and no. 251 changed its
appearance in 1895.

This concludes our completed research, however we are very close to
completing research on the 'two sisters' and are continuing to search for
the location of the house next to the vineyard of 'John Carpio' [Jan Kapr z
Kaprsteina. Kapr= Carp], site of the Book Burning.
We already have some information about the latter's family, who
owned property in the old town on what is now Kaprova St. For example,
one member of the family, Pavel Kapr, who owned vineyards, died in
1583 and had a son called Jan.

There is also incomplete information about Zikmund Kapr, relationship
still unknown, and about another alchemist called Daniel Prantner z
Prantnu who both also lived on Bethlehem Square, the former in 1560,
the latter in1622.

In my previous accidental message I mentioned some place names
which augmented the information in Fenton's glossary, which I
won't repeat here.

More information will be coming in September.
Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,
Michal Pober


Subject: Artists pigments
From: Adam McLean
Date: 10th August 1999

I was recently asked about the influence of alchemy on artists
pigments during the early period of the development of
painting in Europe.

Does anyone know an article or have a listing of the metal salts
which were used in these early artists pigments? There is
obviously, iron oxides used in browns, cinnabar the orange-red
vermilion, lapis lazuli for deep blues and malachite for greens.

I would like to have a more complete listing. I am not interested here
in post 18th century pigments which drew on the new discoveries of
organic chemistry. I am sure I have seen an article or chapter of a
book on this subject but the reference seems to have slipped from
my memory.

Adam McLean


Subject: Artists pigments
From: George Leake
Date: 11 Aug 1999

Adam Mclean writes:

>Does anyone know an article or have a listing of the metal salts
>which were used in these early artists pigments? There is
>obviously, iron oxides used in browns, cinnabar the orange-red
>vermilion, lapis lazuli for deep blues and malachite for greens.

*I took a quick look around at lunch today and found several
possibilities (more later)

*Daniel V. Thompson's Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting
looks like a decent primer--covers the above pigments and others.
(cv section on Pigments, p.74)

*for a period approach to the same Theophilus' On Divers Arts
(various titles; the one I found is De Diversis Artibus with English
translation facing the Latin) has simplistic instructions for pigments
in Book One. For example, chapter XXXIV of Bk. I is on Vermillion.

*there's half a dozen other titles I'll look at later which look promising.
Take a look at these and tell me whether these are good or whether
you need more technical detail.


Subject: Artists pigments
From: Tom Morris
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999

Some information on this can be found in "A History of Industrial
Chemistry" by F. Sherwood Taylor, Heinman, 1957. This book
also deals with the development of glass, ceramics, acids and
dyeing and illustrates the slow emergence of, for want of a better
word "practical" chemistry from antiquity through the middle ages.
Did alchemy influence the development of pigments or did the
quest for new pigments facilitate alchemy?

Tom Morris


Subject: Artists pigments
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999
From: Barbara Berrie

Beginning with Cennino Cennini (trans by D. V. Thompson
republished by Dover) there are various treatises on artists'
materials including pigments. There is verbatim reissue of
de Mayerne's treatise, which, if you do not know, would give
you information on artists' pigments and in this case from an
alchemist!

the citation is
Le Manuscript de Turquet de Mayerne presente par M. Faidutti
et C. Versini; Audin Imprimeurs, Lyon, 1974.

The original manuscipt is at the British museum. Its frontispiece
reads: Pictoria Sculptoria & quae subalternarum artium 1620
...demayerne

If you need more I will keep my eyes open for various articles that
address this topic.

Hope this is a useful beginning,
Barbara


Subject: Hermetic seal
From: David Ulansey
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999:

I am trying to find the earliest known
references in alchemical literature to the
importance of the hermetically sealed
vessel. So far I have not been able to
find any clear expressions of this idea
in Graeco-Roman alchemical sources.
I have scoured Jack Lindsay's "Origins of
Alchemy," but he doesn't discuss it. Does
anyone know of any instances of this concept
appearing in ancient (pre-Medieval) alchemy?
It doesn't matter whether the exact term
"Hermetically sealed" is used -- I'm looking
for any sort of expression of the basic concept --
although I am also very interested in tracing the
origins of the term "Hermetically sealed," and
would welcome any information on that as well.


Subject: Artists pigments
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999
From: Mike Dickman

An interesting sideline on the subject is David & Janice Jackson's
'Tibetan Thangka Painting: Methods and materials', (Serindia, 1984,
ISBN 0 906026 19 9) pp. 75-93 and passim.

m


Subject: Hermetic seal
From: Iain Jamieson
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 1999

David Ulansey wrote:

> I am trying to find the earliest known
> references in alchemical literature to the
> importance of the hermetically sealed vessel.
>... I am also very interested in tracing the
> origins of the term "Hermetically sealed," and
> would welcome any information on that as well.

Dear David

A difficult one this. Perhaps a couple of references may help.

In the second section of the 'Kitab al-Asrar' (Book of Secrets) of
the 10th cent. A.D. Islamic alchemist, doctor, and philosopher
Al-Razi, which deals with with alchemical apparatus, the following
passage occurs during a discussion of the 'mustauqad':

"If oils are not used, the mouth (of the flask) is firmly closed with
thread (khitt): but if oils are present, pure white wool is tied round
the mouth, and when it becomes moistened it is removed and
wrung out and another (pad) is substituted for it. When this in turn
gets moist, the former is put in its place and the moistened one
is taken away. In this way all the moisteness is removed, until
one of the pieces of wool catches fire. Then the mouth of the flask
is closed with dried salt, mixed with clay - the salt and the clay
being made into a paste with lot water - so that the flask may
not be broken. And this is the strongest lute for the heads of flasks."

Earlier in the same section the author, in speaking of distillation, says:

"It is necessary that the sides of the lip (of the curcurbit) and the
head of the reeiving flask should be well closed so the the smoke
may not enter into it, and the air amy not spoil it (i.e., the substance
undergoing distillation)."

In the first passage the author emphasises the need for a strong
seal to contain the material being operated upon, and in the
second the need for the exclusion of all external substances is
stressed. These, I think, meet your criteria. Al-Razi later described
what he calls the 'Clay of the Philosophers' (otherwise the
'Clay of Wisdom' ) used for sealing vessels.

The above passages are from: H.E. Stapleton, et. al., Chemistry
in Iraq and Persia in the Tenth Century A.D., Journal of the Asiatic
Soc. of Bengal, 8 (1927), 317-417.

The Islamic alchemists, and Al-Razi in particular, were the first to
really systematise alchemical substances, apparatus and operations,
and it is with them that I suspect that the origins of an 'Hermetic seal'
will be found.

As regards the Greek corpus, which is so fragmentary that often
no firm conclusions can be drawn from it, I would advise you to
consult Berthelot's French translation of the primary sources rather
than Lindsay's secondary work. Though this translation leaves
much to be desired it is the, sadly, the only one. The fragments
attributed to Maria the Jewess and the works Zosimos may yield
results. Luting apparatus for strength is certainly mentioned, but
I do not recall any requirements fitting your criteria.

In Chinese alchemy the phrase 'Ku chi' occurs quite early in
wai tan (Outer, material, alchemy), and Needham defines it thus:
''Sealing the parts of a vessel together, with the aid of a lute, to
make is as gas-tight (or water-tight) as possible."
(Joseph Needham, et. al., Science and Civilisation In China, 5,
part iv, p.5.)

There are many references


Subject: Arsenic
From: Johann Plattner
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999

Dear Michel,

You will find some alchemical relations about Arsenic preferably by
Basil Valentine.
For example in his tract "Von der grossen Heimlichkeit der Welt / und
ihrer Artzney"

ARSENICUM.
Sein Nahme heisset Hüttenrauch /
Und bin ein gifftiger böser Schmauch
Hab mir gar nichts mehr anzumassen /
Weil ich mein Corpus hab verlassen /
Drumb kann mich niemand wieder zwingen /
Dasslig; er mich zu eim Leib wolt bringen.
Da aber ich verlier die Gifft /
Durch Kunst und rechte Handgriff /
So kann ich Menschen und Vieh curiren /
Doch bereit mich recht / und hab gut acht /
Dasslig; du haltst mir mir gute Wach /
Sonst bin ich Gifft und bleibe Gifft /
Das machems Hertz im Leib absticht.

I'm sure, there will be much more about Arsenic in his
works. If you want, I shall have a look to it.

Best wishes
Johann



Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
From: Michael Thomas Martin
Date: 15th Aug 1999

I am looking for people who have knowledge on the figure of
Hermes/Mercury in relationship to the plays of Shakespeare. I
am a graduate student from Detroit, and as you might expect,
scholars with background in alchemy are few and far between
in the Motor City. Any suggestions you might have would be
greatly appreciated.

What I'm after in particular is anything that speaks to the images
of androgyny, doubling and tricks that get to the truth -- all mercurial
traits. Shakespeare was obsessed with Mercury. Please let me
know of anything or anyone you think of as helpful in my research.

Yours,
Michael Martin


Subject: Alchemical influences in Western literature
From: Adam McLean
Date: 15 Aug 1999

A colleague of mine, Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic, sent me this
information recently.

-------------------

A few days ago I read the July Alchemy Academy Archive,
and learned that there was some interest on Alchemy and Western
Literature. Maybe a text that I`ve found on the WWW could help, at
least to some people interested in that topic.
It is called

Magi Imaginationis - Imagining Alchemists and Magicians
in New Atlantis, The Tempest, and The Alchemist

Written by David Hurley, and discussing F. Bacon, Shakespeare
and Jonson, mostly from the literature standpoint, but who knows,
it may be useful for someone.

http://members.spree.com/education/ibidem/magiimaginationis.htm


Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson

Hello - I have found the essays to be thoughtful in

Martin Lings
The Sacred Art of Shakespeare. To Take Upon Us the
Mystery of Things Foreword HRH The Prince of Wales
Inner Traditions International, 1998
One Park Street
Rochester, Vermont 05767
ISBN 0-89281-717-8

He mentions alchemy and related terms throughout several
of the essays.

Regards,
Catherine Fox-Anderson


Subject: Artists pigments
From: Tom Morris
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999

There is a reference in "The Scientific Revolution" by A R Hall to the
"Book on Colour Making" of Peter of St Omer (c1300), but no details
are given.

Tom Morris


Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
From: George Leake
Date: 17th Aug 1999

Michael Thomas Martin wrote:
>I am looking for people who have knowledge on the figure of
>Hermes/Mercury in relationship to the plays of Shakespeare.
>What I'm after in particular is anything that speaks to the images
>of androgyny, doubling and tricks that get to the truth -- all mercurial
>traits. Shakespeare was obsessed with Mercury.

Not a lot of direct substantial connections come to mind with
Hermes/Mercury (other than passing references, of which there
are some -- I'm sure I can get my hands on a variorum or
concordance if you can't)...

But as to the rest, there's not much of a problem with the themes of
androgeny, hermaphroditism, doubling, and tricks. Many of
Shakespeare's early plays revolve around confusion between
twins (this is a classical device). Then several of his middle
comedies, say Twelfth Night and As You Like It, have women who
dress as men to get close to men they are interested in. Consider
that the actors playing these "women" are of course young men in
Shakespeare's time...and then there's also a number of
references to this fact (Cleopatra's pre-suicide speech in Antony
and Cleopatra comes to mind) in the text itself.

Of course I'm hardly the first one to point out the Alchemical
references in As You Like It, especially the Saturnine Jacques
and the clownish character Touchstone.

I'd suggest a reading of the plays I've mentioned here and in
addition King Lear, Winter's Tale and The Tempest. For a
critical approach, I favor Northrop Frye's.


Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999
From: John-Paul Hussey

Dear Mr. Martin,

As I'm sure you are aware 'Alchemy' is littered throughout
Shakespeare's work,particularly 'Measure for Measure'
'12th Night' and The Tempest' etc.
I'm a writer & theatre director and I wrote an essay while I
was at College on Othello looking at Iago as the The Spirit
of Mecurius. The idea eventually turned into a production. If
you are interested or wish to discuss the subject, don't hesitate.
If you haven't seen it already, try Peter Greenaway's film,
'Prospero Books'.

John-Paul Hussey



Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
From: George Leake
Date: 18 Aug 1999


John-Paul Hussey wrote:
>If you haven't seen it already, try Peter Greenaway's film,
>'Prospero Books'.

One minor point about that--Prospero's Books, certainly one of
my favorite films, owes quite a debt not just to The Tempest
but one interesting work on theatre, The Empty Space by Peter
Brook. Besides emphasizing the ritual/sacred aspects of
Shakespeare, Brook suggests that the role of Prospero is one
who has completed the Great Work, the Renaissance Man in
every sense of the term, the older man looking on as Marysas is
being flayed. One might also look at a few works of Frances Yates:
Theatre of the World comes to mind.


Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18 Aug 1999

Here are some articles that come to my mind.


Simonds, Peggy Munoz.
"My charms crack not": The Alchemical Structure of the Tempest.
Comparative Drama, Vol 31. Winter 1997-8. No.4.

Simonds, Peggy Munoz.
'Love is a spirit all compact of fire': Alchemical Coniunctio in Venus
and Adonis.
Emblems and Alchemy, Glasgow Emblem Studies Vol 3, 1998.

Savage, D. S.
Alchemy in Shakespeare's Hamlet; an essay in creative
interpretation.
Aryan Path 23 (8) Aug 1952, p366-369.

Savage, D. S.
An alchemical metaphor in 'Hamlet'.
Notes and Queries 197, 1952, p157-160.

Cobb, Noel.
Prospero's Island. The secret alchemy at the heart of The
Tempest.
Coventure. London. 1984.

Srigley, Michael.
Images of Regeneration: A Study of Shakespeare's The Tempest
and its Cultural Background. Uppsala, 1985.


Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
From: Iain Jamieson
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999

> I am looking for people who have knowledge on the figure of
> Hermes/Mercury in relationship to the plays of Shakespeare.

Dear Michael

You might find the following useful:

Charles Nicholl, The Chemical Theatre, Routledge & Kegan Paul,
London, 1980, chaps 6 & 7 (on alchemical imagery in King Lear),
and especially pp. 168 ff.

Frances A. Yates, Shakespeare's Last Plays: a New Approach,
Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1975.

John S. Mebane, Renaissance Magic and the Return of the
Golden Age, Univ. of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1992, especially
pp.174, which, while dealing with Prospero as a magus figure,
is suggestive.


Iain Jamieson


Subject: The "Liber defloracionis philosophorum"
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999


The authenticity of all of the alchemical works attributed to Arnau
de Vilanova (1245-1311) can't be guaranteed by historical
research. For example the oldest copies of the "Rosarium
Philosophorum" are anonymous texts:

- Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale MS. 651 (E - IV - 22). Second half
of 14th Century. Rosarium Philosophorum. (Anonymous text dedicated
to the king Robert of Napoles. It's the first complete copy of the "Rosarius")

- Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale MS. Français Nouvelles Acquisitions 4141
End of 14th Century.

Rosarius alkymicus Montispessulani. (Anonymous text. It's an incomplete
copy of the "Rosarius")

In the 14th Century I know only a late copy with the name "Arnau the
Vilanova"

- Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal MS. 2872 (101 S.A.F.)
477 folios. Parchment. 337x270mm. End of 14th Century.

Ci commence le rosaire de maistre Arnauld de Villeneuve sur
la fleur d'alkemie.

I found the first historical document about an alchemist called
"Arnau de Vilanova" in a list of alchemy works handwritten by
a "frater Dominicus monacus monaterii sancti Proculi de
Bolonia" (Palermo. Biblioteca Comunale. MS 4Qq A 10). The
list has been dated around 1330-40 by S. H. Thomson in the
article: "The texts of Michael Scot's «Ars alkimiae»", «Osiris» 5 (1938),
pp528-9

The reference about "Arnau de Vilanova" is the item number five.
I read:

"5. Item Liber magistri Raynaldi de Villa Nova qui incipit: Incipit
liber defloracionis philosophorum."

The "Liber defloracionis philosophorum" begins the legend about the
Spanish alchemist Arnau de Vilanova (1245-1311) who was a
famous physician from Valencia but I think that the real author of
this work could be an alchemist of Montpellier called Pere Arnau
de Vilanova who signed his works around 1330-1345 like
"Arnau de Vilanova", "Pere de Vilanova" or "magister Arnau
de Vilanova".

I have a copy of the "Liber defloracionis philosophorum" from:
Florencia, Biblioteca Riccardina,119, ff. 182v- 183v.

Does anyone knows manuscripts, articles or editions in any
languages of the "Liber defloracionis philosophorum"?

All information to this work would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

José Rodríguez


Subject: The "Liber defloracionis philosophorum"
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18 Aug 1999

I found this reference in my database of alchemical
manuscripts.


Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale MS. 6749 B.
15th Century [1481.]

1. Albertus Magnus. Libri quinque de mineralibus.
2. Albertus Magnus. Alchymia minor.
3. Thomas Aquinas. Liber super lapide Philosophorum.
4. Thomas Aquinas. Tractus de alchymia.
5. Arnoldus de Villa Nova. Thesaurus secretus operationum naturalium.
6. Arnoldus de Villa Nova. Rosa novella.
7. Arnoldus de Villa Nova. Liber de florationis Philosophorum.
8. Anonymi secretum secretorum de aquis.
9, Anonymi tractatus de coloribus.
10. Lumen luminum de coloribus.
11. Epistola Regis Sholax, cognominati Absilem, ad Hassem.
12. Liber aquarum, quomodo scilicet debent componi vel fieri et custodiri.
13. [Various chemical experiments and medical recipes.]


Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
From: Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999

Dear Michael Martin,

Maybe this article on WWW could be of some help.
Hermaphrodites. Gender Transgression, or Gender Transcendence?
(with subtitle - Jonson, Shakespeare, and Early Modern Androgyne).
It is on

www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/seveness.htm

Best wishes

Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic


Subject: Arsenic
From: Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999

Michel Brosse wrote:

>-- is there a major alchemical text about arsenic...
>- ... I am interested in any facts about arsenic.


Dear Michel Brosse,

There is some material on ARSENIC in Al-Razi`s *Book of Secrets*.
Here are two qotations from Julius Ruska, *Al-Razi`s Buch Geheimnis der
Geheimnisse*, Berlin 1937, from Ruska`s Introduction.

`... Realgar und Auripigment, die beiden Arsensulfide, werden
von den arabischen Alchemisten roter und gelber ZARNICH
genannt und, wenn keine Unterscheidung geboten ist, als
`die beiden Zarniche` zusammengefasst. In aehnlicher Weise
bezeichen die leteinischen Alchemisten beide Mineralien als
Arsenicum ...
Ein sprachlicher Zusammenhang zwischen gr. ARSENIKON
(in Greek language) und pers. ZARNIH (in Persian language) ist
kaum anzunehmen. Im Syrischen kommen beide Bezeichnungen
als ARSENIQUN, bzw. ZARNIQA, ZARNIKHA nebeneinander vor.
Es liegt nahe, das persische Wort mit ZAR - `Gold`, ZARIN - `golden`
zusammenzubringen, so dass die goldgelbe Farbe nicht nur bei
`auripigmentum`, sondern auch beim Zarnich den Namen veranlaesst
haette.`

`Dass der Name des naechsten Steines ... als AL-SAKK, der
ARSENIK, zu lesen ist, ergibt sich aus der Beschreibung. Es handelt
sich um den bei der Verhuettung von arsenhaltigen Silbererzen
auftretenden weissen und gelblichen Huettenrauch. Etwas
ausfuehrlicher ist die Beschreibung in den *Mafatih al-ulum* - `Der
Sakk kommt in zwei Arten vor, gelb und weiss, es gibt mineralischen
und solchen, der aus dem Rauch des Silbers gemacht wird,
er wird Rattnegift genannt`.
Nach Ibn al-Baitar, heisst das Gift im Iraq TURAB HALIK, d. i.
`totbringender Staub`. Er zitiert zwei Stellen aus Werken Razi`s,
von denen ich die aus dem *Buch der Eigenschaften* hier
wiederhole, weil sie das besondere Interesse des Arztes und
Naturforschers an dem Gift bezeugt - `Der Sakk ist ein Stoff, der
aus Chorasan zu uns kommt, wo man ihn aus den Silbergruben
gewinnt. Es gibt zwei Arten, einen weissen und einen gelben.
Wenn man ihn einem Teig beimischt und in einem Hause hinlegt,
wo die Ratten davon fressen, sterben sie, auch die Ratten, die den
Geruch dieser Leichen riechen, sterben bis auf die letzte. Das ist
eine sichere Tatsache, die ich ausgeprobt habe.`

Hope this is of some help.

Best wishes

Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic


Subject: The "Liber defloracionis philosophorum"
From: Adam McLean
Date: 19 Aug 1999

What is the relationship between Arnold's 'Flos Florum', and
the 'Liber de floracionis philosophorum' ?

Adam McLean


Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
From: George Leake
Date: 18 Aug 1999

One last point (sorry I didn't think of these before): there is also
a lot of imagery in Shakespeare's language familiar to us in the
world of Alchemical Emblem books. Pelican imagery comes up
quite a bit. And of course let's not forget his non dramatic poetry:
The Phoenix and the Turtle in particular.


Subject: Shakespeare and alchemy
From: George Leake
Date: 19th Aug 1999

Here is an old Alchemy Forum posting which might be of interest
to this thread:

Date: Fri, 15 Aug 1997
From: Bernard Bovasso

>Your quote might be quite important, perhaps referring to a prima materia of
>alchemy. Madness can of course also mean Wisdom out of the normal frame of
>reference.

Stuart:

The gist of both Shakespeare and Alchemy is that the "vein of gold"
lies hidden or trapped in the prima materia in its state as massa confusa.
The alchemist is obliged to differentiate the Chaos, the state of matter as
undifferentiated (*con-fusa*) and which is represented by base or saturnian
matter. Translated to human psychology, and of which Shakespeare was a master
(without peerage in modern psychology!), to identify with this state is
equivalent to madness. He is thus not being negative when in his *Midsummer's
Night Dream* he speaks of poets and lovers as having something in common
with madness insofar as the hidden gold (as love and beauty) is their
aspiration. This is no less the alchemical quest: to free the Mercurious
from Mamma Materia, sprout his wings and fly off (into consciousness). That
is all that Hamlet was trying to do. But he didn't make it and in his
paradigm did Shakespear anticipate the modern age.


Subject: Artists pigments
From: Daud Sutton
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999

The following pigments were all in use at some stage before the 18th
century. I have listed them according to the seven metals.

Gold. and Silver

Gold and sliver were used both in leaf form and made into a paint.
The paint was known as shell gold/silver because small shells
were often used to hold paint.

Mercury

Cinnabar and vermilion (natural and manmade mercuric sulphide
respectively)

Copper

Azurite and Malachite (blue and green mineral copper carbonates)
Blue and green verditer (artificial copper carbonates)
Chrysocolla (a turqoise mineral, some kind of copper silicate if I
remember correctly)
Verdigris (copper acetate formed by hanging copper plates above
vinegar in a warm place, e.g a fermenting dung heap)
Egyptian blue (the secret of its manufacture is reckoned to have
been lost by the 9th century AD if not sooner)

Iron

All so called 'earth pigments' are iron based. They include;
Ochres or natural iron oxides (yellow, red, orange, brown etc.)
Raw and burnt umber
Raw and burnt Sienna
Caput mortuum
Terre Verte (and pale greyish green Iron silicate)

Man made iron oxides such as crocus martis (yellow iron oxide)

Tin

Lead-tin yellow (recently rediscovered by conservationists, it is a pale
yellow)

Lead

Flake white (basic lead carbonate)
Minium (orange lead oxide)
Naples Yellow (Lead antimonate, known to the ancient Egyptians
and still in use today)

Other Mineral Colours

Lapis Lazuli (famous blue pigment that at times cost more than
gold weight for weight
The discovery of processes to make artificial lapis lazuli, known as
ultramarine today, was the turning point in the shift from 'alchemical' or
traditional colours to 'industrial' ones.

Smalt (a blue cobalt glass based pigment)

Animal and vegetable colours

Many animal and plant colours were precipitated onto a clear alum
base to produce useable pigments known as lakes, they include;

Unripe buckthorn berry (yellow)
Madder root (red)
Cochineal beetle (red-purple)

Indigo and woad were also used as blue pigments and burnt bone
or ivory produced one of the commonest black pigments.

There are many others that were also used which you will find
mentioned in the titles already mentioned in other people's responses.
A good source for more in depth information about specific pigments
is 'Studies in Conservation'.

Raphael's 'Crucifixion' in the National Gallery is a wonderful
example of how painters were aware of the alchemical symbolism of
the metals in the pigments they used. Above Christ's right hand is an
image of the Sun, which has been gilded. Above his left hand is an
image of the Moon, now quite dark and tarnished, but most probably
originally silver. Christ's loincloth and blood are both rendered in
vermilion, and thus mercury based. Two angels bear goblets to catch
the falling blood. The garment of the angel on his left is painted using
lead-tin yellow, and the garment of the angel on his right is painted
green, and thus most probably uses verdigris (copper) and terre
verte (iron). Other garments on the right hand angel use dark
browns, which are almost certainly iron based earth pigments such
as burnt umber. On Christ's right we therefore have gold-copper-iron
and on the left silver-tin-lead, with mercury (Christ) mediating between
the two sides. This schema corresponds to that found in many alchemical
diagrams and engravings.

Hope this is still of some use.

Daud


Subject: The "Liber defloracionis philosophorum"
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999

Adam said:

>What is the relationship between Arnold's 'Flos Florum', and
>the 'Liber de floracionis philosophorum' ?


TITLE: Flos Florum

OTHER TITLES: Cathena aurea; Visio mystica; Rosarius Arnaldi de
Vilanova brevissimus.

INCIPIT: Vidi senem nimia claritate fulgentem et in manu sua librum
clausum et signatum tenentem...

EXPLICIT: ...augmentando ipsum ignem donec dictus lapis albus
fiat et ultimate rubeus cum beneplacito Dei. Finit igitur flos florum
qui dicitur rosarius.

COMENTARY: This text was printed in all the "Opera Arnaldi" (1504,
1505, 1509, 1520, 1532...). It is a manual to make the philosopher's
stone. The "Lapis Philosophorum" is like a book with "septem sigilla"
and the alchemist has to break the seven seals following the rules
of Nature.

The "Flos Florum" is a late attribution to Arnau (end of 14th century -
Early 15th century) and there aren't historical dates to concluded that
Arnau makes this work.

Haureau said that the real author is an alchemist called Johannes
de Vasconia (14th century?). He found the same text in Paris
(with different title): Bibliothèque Nationale MS. 11202 (fol. 150)
"Johannes de Vaconia opus magisteri".

Nazari in "Della Transmutatione Metallica",1599 (pag 139) confirms
the reference and attributed the text to Johannes de Vasconia with
the next title: "Ars magnae operationis"

I found a copy in a French manuscript with treatises by another
alchemist of the 14th century: Cambrai MS. 920.15th Century.
(fol 28v-29v) Incipiunt septem operaciones lapidis philosophorum
majores secundum Johannem de Vasconia.

There is a late French version of this text attributed to the Greek
alchemist María the Jewess. See: "Les septs visions de Marie la
Prophetesse sur l'Ouvre de la Pierre des Philosophes".
In «Chrysopoeia», II, fasc 4. 1988. ED. Arché - J.C. Bailly.

-----------------

TITLE: Liber defloracionis philosophorum

OTHER TITLES: Defloratio philosophorum;

INCIPIT: "Incipit liber defloracionis philosophorum. Et potius dici liber
hic noster potest liber occultacionis seu liber secretorum antiquorum..."
or "Incipiemus autem ab Hermete qui triplex in philosophia magister
dicitur..."

EXPLICIT: "...et hoc est forcius experimentum quod expertus sum
in coagulacione mercurii. Tunc abscondite et bucella cum corporibus."

COMENTARY: Brief treatise in five chaptes.

-The first and second chapters explain about the properties of
the "divinis lapis", "lapide benedictus et occultus" and about the
alchemy like a "philosophia occulta". I think that it is a reference to
Petrus Bonus Pretiosa Margarita Novella (1330)

-The thirs chapter is a dialogue with "Mercurius" against "Solis"
and "Lunae".

-The next chapters are: "Capitulum 4 ad lunam" and "Capitulum 5
ad solem". There are many recipes on alchemy.

It is an unpublished text dated around 1330-1340 and the first
work attributed to an alchemist called "Arnau de Vilanova".
During the first reunion dedicated to Arnau de Vilanova
(Barcelona, 6-8 April 1994) Michela Pereira speaks in a great
conference about this early work like an interesting historical date.
Today I found references about another alchemist of Montpellier
called Pere Arnau de Vilanova who signed his works around
1330-1345 like "Arnau de Vilanova", "Pere de Vilanova" or "magister
Arnau de Vilanova". He is the author of a "Rosarium Philosophorum"
(dated 1336) unpublished with a lot of alchemy recipes. It's described
in José Ramón de Luanco. "La Alquimia en España", Barcelona, 1897,
pp 103-110. Right now I'm working with the treatises of Pere Arnau
de Vilanova and I think that he is the real author of the "Liber
desflorationis" and not the famous physician from Valencia with
very similar name died in 1311.

At the present there is a serious disagreement about the
authenticity of all the alchemical corpus attributed to the Spanish
physician Arnau de Vilanova. The authenticity of not one of the
alchemical works attributed to Arnau can't be guaranteed.
Jose Antonio Paniagua (Navarra University), Michael R.
McVaugth (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Luis
García Ballester (CSIC, Barcelona) are the best specialists of
Arnau's medical and scientific writings and they said that he
was not an alchemist. The results of recent research into the
alchemical corpus attributed to Arnau are no longer
unequivocal. Historians of medieval alchemy promote the view
according to which the idea of a "Universal Medicine" which
purges body and soul can be integrated with the authentic
corpus of Arnau's spiritual writings. Only a systematic
codicological study will be able to substantiate or refute this
view which contrasts with Arnau's anti-alchemical utterances
in his medical treatises.

José Rodríguez


Subject: Arsenic
From: Michel Brosse
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999

I am new to this site and was not able yet to perform an initial
search in the archives.

-- arsenic is present within ores of gold, copper, silver ... I have
never found anything about its mythology, symbolism ...

-- is there a major alchemical text about arsenic...

-- ...and more extensively, I am interested in any facts about arsenic.

Thank you !!

Michel Brosse


Subject: The "Liber defloracionis philosophorum"
From: Adam McLean
Date: 20 Aug 1999


Jose Rodríguez wrote:

>TITLE: Flos Florum
>OTHER TITLES: Cathena aurea; Visio mystica; Rosarius Arnaldi de
>Vilanova brevissimus.
>COMENTARY: This text was printed in all the "Opera Arnaldi" (1504,
>1505, 1509, 1520, 1532...). It is a manual to make the philosopher's
>stone. The "Lapis Philosophorum" is like a book with "septem sigilla"
>and the alchemist has to break the seven seals following the rules
>of Nature.


This text appears to be the inspiration for the seven roundels in
the flask in the first section of the early 15th Century 'Ripley Scroll'.
See

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/ripscrl1.html

Here the alchemist has to open the seven seals.

The version in the Mellon collection has a text inserted at this
point which seems to be a summary of or reference to the 'Visio
Mystica'. Here is the opening part of my provisional
transcription of this text .

An expounding or the signification of the seaven seales wherewth
the booke of philosophie is closed.
I sawe an olde man shyninge and rysinge in brightnes havinge
in his hande a booke shutt and sealed with seaven seales, and
beholdinge the booke well I perceived the leaves of the booke
to be of golde; and the cover and claspes weare silver, on the
toppe, whereof was placed a speire ringe of golde rould with
silver and in the circumference of the ringe was written this sub scription:
Sprite: Soule: Bodie. from which ringe seaven sealed chanynes
as well of golde as of silver proceadinge, did encompas the whole
booke, and by a respect often pursinge the booke, did all againe
returne unto the rynge. Whyche olde man being demanded by me
what this signified, answered sayinge, the ringe and golden skeine
coiled with silver is the Philosophers stone, which in his profunditie
is golde and the mayle, and in his manyfeste silver and the female,
And howe muche [ ] he is devided in his parte is alwayes the spirite,
but the seaven operations which doth encompass the whole maiestry
of the stone doe after make it perfect. And the olde man beinge
again commanded by me what the inscription of the rynge did
signifie, he answered the wryting is miraculus because it brieflie
comprehendeth all the secretts of Philosophie, by the Sprite is
understood Mercury which subtely entering into the bodie disposeth
it into symplicitie, and draweth the Sowle from it, And elivating it
upwards into the eayre, beareth it with him...


Adam McLean


Subject: New Atlantis and George Herbert
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999
From: George Leake

I realize that this is rather a dead thread now, but I've been going
through old messages and found a copy of this text posted on the old
Alchemy Forum:

>From : Adam McLean
>Date : 18th May 1998

I thought some of us might like to read the whole of George Herbert's
poem mentioned by M P Andrews.


George Herbert - The Elixir (1633)

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee.

Not rudely, as a beast,
To run into an action;
But still to make Thee prepossest,
And give it his perfection.

A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or it he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heav'n espy.

All may of Thee partake:
Nothing can be so mean,
Which with his tincture--"for Thy sake"--
Will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and th' action fine.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.


Subject: Artists pigments
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999
From: Barbara Berrie

I recently unearthed a reprint that may be of some interest on the
topic of artists' pigments:

Entre Technologie et Alchemie
Couleurs, colles, et vernis dans les anciens manuscrits de recettes
by R. Halleaux

in

Technologie Industrielle
Conservation Restauration du Patrimoine Culturel

Colloque AFTPV/SFIIC
Nice 19-22 septembre 1989

pub EREC 68, rue Jean-Jaures - 92800 Puteaux

Aside from the affiliation of the author--Universite de Liege--I have
no other information on this colloquium. Perhaps the author is known
to you.

BHB


Subject: Text on the elements
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999
From: John-Paul Hussey

Can anyone out there recommend a text that is a in-depth
meditation on the elements, Earth, Fire etc.

Regards

John-Paul Hussey


Subject: Alchemical symbolism in Art
From: Livia Kolb
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999

Could anyone please recommend a good source of study
of alchemical symbolism in Art during the Late Medieval and
Early Renaissance period ?...
Especially the great Italian and Spanish Masters ?

Thanks in advance !

Livia Kolb


Subject: Artists pigments - Robert Halleux
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999
From: David Porreca

Dear Barbara,

The author in question, Robert Halleux, has written several
decent and relevant works on the topic of alchemy in ancient
and medieval times.
See, for example,

Halleux, R., Les textes alchimiques (Turnhout, 1979), a book about
alchemical sources in the Middle Ages.

Halleux, R., Les alchimistes Grecs, vol. 1 (Paris, 1981), an edition
along with facing-page French translation of several Greek
alchemical papyri.

Halleux, R., Les lapidaires Grecs (Paris, 1985)

He also wrote several works on the history of science, the
most recent (1998) concerning science in Belgium from antiquity
to 1815.

David Porreca


Subject: Alchemical symbolism in Art
From: Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic
Date: 25 Aug 99

Dear Livia Kolb,

There are some informations in J. van Lennep, Art & Alchimie,
(on Mantegna, Giorgione, Raphael), (but also on Durer, Cranach,
Bosch, etc).
Especially on Giorgione's painting *Three Philosophers*, see
Hartlaub's article -'Prima Materia'. (See also other Hartlaub's articles).
You can find data on them on Adam`s Alchemy Articles Archive Project.

best wishes
Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic


Subject: Alchemical symbolism in art
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999

Livia Kolb wrote:

>Could anyone please recommend a good source of study
>of alchemical symbolism in Art during the Late Medieval and
>Early Renaissance period ?...
>Especially the great Italian and Spanish Masters ?


I found a article in spanish about the painters in 14th and 15th
century, their techniques and the the relationship between those
techniques and alchemy.

Author: IGNACIO LORENTE TALLADA
University: UNIV. VALENCIA, FAC. BELLAS ARTES, ESPAÑA

Title: LAS NUEVAS TECNICAS PICTORICAS QUE CONOCIO EL
PRIMER RENACIMIENTO, SE PROPAGARON A EUROPA DESDE
VALENCIA
ISSN: 0211-5808
Review: ARCHIVO DE ARTE VALENCIANO nº 69: pp20-26. 1988.


José Rodríguez


Subject: 'Flos Florum' and the 'Ripley Scroll'
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999

Adam wrote:

>This text appears to be the inspiration for the seven roundels in
>the flask in the first section of the early 15th Century 'Ripley Scroll'.

Thank you so much for this reference. I'm in agreement with your
commentary. The opening part of the version in the Mellon
collection that you transcribed is like the opening part of the
Johannes the Vasconia's Flos Florum (Visio Mystica, Cathena
Aurea, etc) usually attributed to Arnau de Vilanova.


José Rodríguez


Subject: Alchemical symbolism in art
From: Hans H. Hammerschlag
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999

Dear Jose :

When you say that you "found" the article, is it that you
found the bibliographical reference or that you have it ... ??

If so ... and if you could find the time to scan these 6 pages,
I would offer myself to translate it into english, so that the
interested participants of this forum could read it.

I find so much wealth and joy on the enormous depository
of alchemical work that Adam has contribute to put in order
and available for us, that this translation would be just a
extremely minute way of expressing my deep appreciation.

Best regards, and as always Jose, thanks a lot for your
enriching participation.

Hans


Subject: 'Flos Florum', 'Ripley Scroll', Maria Prophetissa
From: Adam McLean
Date: 27 Aug 1999

There is an interesting article in the French alchemical journal
Chrysopoeia Tom 2, fasc 4 , Oct/Dec 1988.

Les sept visions de Marie la Prophetesse sur l'oeuvre da
la pierre des philosophes. [text edited with an introduction
by Didier Kahn.]

Summary : In the sixteenth century there was printed as 'Cathena
aurea' a chemical allegory ascribed to Arnald of Villanova. This
allegory became 'The seven visions of Mary the Prophetesse'
in a seventeenth century versified French translation, here
published together with the list of all the manuscripts of the
various versions of this work, which draws its inspiration from the
Apocalypse and is one of the sources of the famous 'Ripley
Scrowles'.

This article has a list of manuscripts and many bibliographic
notes on Arnald.


In view of the interest in Maria the Prophetess - I wonder if
anyone competant in French might care to make a provisional
translation of this shortish poem. It amounts to five pages
164 lines. It would make a good addition to the web site,
and might help to throw some light on the Ripley scroll.

The poem begins

Par les profonds Rochers j'ay mon oeil écarté
Et veu ce saint viellard admirable en clarté,
Tenant un livre en main, de qui sage nature
Avoit à sept cachets scellé la couverture,
Laquelle pardessus avoit d'argent orné
Dessus revestu d'or en ses veines trouvé,
Où elle avoit soudé par subtille science
Un anneau qui tout d'or estoit en son essence
Fors qu'il pouvoit voler ainsy que les esprits
Estant tout ombragé d'argent de tres haut prix.
Il portoit en devise au dedans de sa lamme
Ces trois mots burinés, l'esprit, le corps, et l'ame.
Là estoient attachés sept jazerans d'or fin
Meslés de fin argent forgé à cette fin
Environnants ce livre pour par apres se rendre
Tous à un mesme poinct.

Adam McLean


Subject: Alchemical symbolism in art
From: José Rodríguez
Date: 29th Aug 1999


Hi Hans!
When I said that I "found"... it is that I had read the article. I have
a list with all the articles on alchemy that I read in Spanish scientific
reviews:

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Runway/1947/articulos.htm

Usually I have got the review in my house [for example the notice
about the book "Concordance Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique"
referred here last month], but I read the article on alchemical
symbolism in Art during 14th and 15th century in a Spanish library a
few years ago and I can´t send you the text. I'm sorry so much.

I was glancing at my little library and I read a commentary about an
alchemical painting in the Farnesio's palace (Italy) dated arround
1569. The reference is:

- IN SPANISH: Juan F. Esteban Lorente. "En el Palacio Farnesio
en Caprarola". In «Tratado de Iconografía», Ed Istmo, Madrid, 1998,
pp 459-464. ISBN: 84-7090-224-5

Other important references are:

- IN ENGLISH: Erwin Panofsky. "Early Netherlandish Painting",
New York: Icon, 1971, pp 131-148. [Panofsky explains about the
relationship between the naturalism in flemish painters and the
alchemists like materialistic monists who strove to unite the
spiritual and material in their visual imagery.]

- IN FRENCH: William Whitney. "La légende de Van Eyck alchimiste".
In «Alchimie: art, histoire et mythes» Actes du 1er colloque international
de la Société d'Étude de l'Histoire de l'Alchimie (Paris, Collège de
France, 14-15-16 mars 1991), sous la direction de Didier Kahn et
Sylvain Matton. Ed Archè, Milan, 1995, pp 235-249.
ISBN: 88-7252-178-5. [It is about the flemish painter Jan Van Eyck,
and I think that It will be really interesting for Livia Kolb]

José Rodríguez


Subject: 'Flos Florum', 'Ripley Scroll', Maria Prophetissa
From: Massimo Marra
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999

Adam McLean wrote:
>There is an interesting article in the French alchemical journal
>Chrysopoeia Tom 2, fasc 4 , Oct/Dec 1988.
>Les sept visions de Marie la Prophetesse sur l'oeuvre da
>la pierre des philosophes. [text edited with an introduction
>by Didier Kahn.]
>This article has a list of manuscripts and many bibliographic
>notes on Arnald.

Dear Adam,
This article is not a very good source of bibliographical informations
about Arnaldo. The introductory note by Kahn is focused on the text,
that is attributed to Arnaldo, Maria Prophetessa or Giovanni di
Vasconia. The unlikely attribution to Arnaldo is a problem solved
in a few lines.
A very good source of bibliographical informations about Arnaldo
da Villanova is (in French):
- Antonie Calvet - Les 'alchimica' d'Arnaud de Villeneuve à travers
la tradition imprimée [XVI-XVII siécles]. Questions bibliographiques.
- in "Alchimie, art, histoire et mythes" Paris-Milan 1995 S.E.H.A.-
Arché.) ISBN 88-7252-178-5

By the way I am working on a transcription of an Italian version of
the Flos Florum, from an unpublished manuscript signed
VIII D 75 (XVI-XVII th Century) of the National Library of
Naples.
In the next days I will send you this transcription with some
bilingual (Italian-English) introductory notes for the Italian section.

best wishes

Massimo


Subject: The "Liber defloracionis philosophorum"
From: Massimo Marra
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999

About the relationship between the Flos Florum attributed to
Arnaldo da Villanova and the "Liber Defloracionis
Jose Rodriguez wrote:

>TITLE: Flos Florum
>OTHER TITLES: Cathena aurea; Visio mystica; Rosarius Arnaldi de
>Vilanova brevissimus.
>INCIPIT: Vidi senem nimia claritate fulgentem et in manu sua librum
>clausum et signatum tenentem...
............................
>COMENTARY: This text was printed in all the editions of "Opera
Arnaldi"(1504,1505, 1509, 1520, 1532...).
>It is a manual to make the philosopher's stone. The "Lapis
>Philosophorum" is like a book with "septem sigilla"
>and the alchemist has to break the seven seals following the rules
>of Nature.
>The "Flos Florum" is a late attribution to Arnau (end of 14th century
>Lbeginning of the 15th century), but there are no historical dates to
>conclude that Arnau wrote this work
.........................
>Nazari in "Della Transmutatione Metallica",1599 (pag 139) confirms
>the reference and attributes the text to Johannes de Vasconia with
>the following title: "Ars magnae operationis"
>There is a late French version of this text attributed to the Greek
>alchemist María the Jewess. See: "Les septs visions de Marie la
>Prophetesse sur l'Ouvre de la Pierre des Philosophes".
>In «Chrysopoeia», II, fasc 4. 1988. ED. Arché - J.C. Bailly.

That text is illustrated in a French version in the Didier Kahn's
work that you have quoted. Didier Kahn quotes only one printed
version of the text (Arnaldi Villanovani ...tractatus varii Exoterici
ac Chymici...- Lyon 1586).
I do not have a copy of the various editions of the "Opera Arnaldi"
that you quote, but there is another very famous 'Flos Florum'
attributed to Arnaldo and included in Manget's 'Bibliotheca
Chemica Curiosa' (vol. I p. 679) and, by the way, included, in an
Italian translation, in the Nazari's 'De la Tramutatione Metallica
sogni tre' that you quote regarding Giovanni di Vasconia.

You can find that Italian translation at
http://www://levity.com/alchemy/nazari.html

This 'Flos Forum', also included with other titles in several alchemical
compendia has no connection with the 'Cathena Aurea' attributed
to Arnaldo or to Giovanni di Vasconia and that is among the
sources of the Ripley Scroll (for bibliographical notes see also
Ferguson ' Bibliotheca Chemica' vol. I pp. 44/45).
The 'Cathena Aurea', also called 'Flos Florum' in some manuscripts,
was published only once by the book-sellers Stratius and Antoine
Tardif in 1586 (see Antonie Calvet, Les 'alchimica' d'Arnaud de
Villeneuve à travers la tradition imprimée (XVI-XVII siécles).
Questions bibliographiques. in Alchimie, art, histoire et mythes
Paris-Milan 1995 S.E.H.A.- Arché. )

The two 'Flos Florum' are totally different and the treatise bearing
this title included in the 'Opera Arnaldi' is the same that you can
find in Manget's 'Bibliotheca'.

A treatise very similar to the 'Cathena Aurea' was printed in 1597
in Nicolas Barnaud 'Commentariolum in enigmaticum quoddam
epitaphium, Bononie studiorum. Huic additi sunt processus
chimici non pauci.' Lugduni Batavorum, Ex officina Thomae Basson
1597, p. 41-45 Processus quintus (see Calvet 'Les alchimica' quoted.)

Best wishes

Massimo Marra


Subject: Alchemical symbolism in art
From: Livia Kolb
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999

Dear Jose !

Thanks much for you reply and the reply from others...!! The
information has indeed shed a lot of light !

Warm regards...

Livia Kolb


Subject: 'Flos florum' mistake and other questions
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999

Dear Massino:

Thank you very much for your message. Really I committed a
serious mistake when I said that 'Flos Florum' (Cathena Aurea;
Visio mystica; etc): «was printed in all the editions of Opera Arnaldi
(1504,1505, 1509, 1520, 1532...)». The text in those editions is the
'Perfectum Magisterium et Gaudium transmissum ad inclytum
Regem Aragonum, quod quidem est Flos Florum, Thesaurus
omnium, incomparabilis margarita, in quo reperitur veri compositio
et perfecto elixir tam ad album quam ad rubeum componendum'.

Other titles of this texts are: Lumen Luminum; Secretum ad regem
Aragonum; Opus Magisterii; Parvum Rosarium mag. Arnaldi de
Villa Nova super arte secreta missum regi Aragonum; and, of
course :-) 'Flos Florum'.

The 'Cathena Aurea' was published in 1586 as Massimo explained
in detail. Antonie Calvet said: «L'Editeur [in 1586] incorpore en sus
deux opuscules alchimiques jusque-là enfouis: la Cathena Aurea
Philosophorum, description alchimique inspirée de l'Apocalypse...».

I'm sorry so much and I apologize to all the forum. Massimo,
thanks again for correcting my first message. In the future I'm going to
revise slowly all the messages that I will post :-)


I would like to take this subject further and ask about the
various 'Flos Florum' attributed to the Spanish physician Arnau de
Vilanova.

Recently a friend has sent me a copy of the manuscript Vaticano
Barb. Lat. 273 dated to the 16th century. It contains an alchemical
bibliography organised in alphabetical order of authors. There is
a list with 24 Arnau's treatises and on the list there are three 'Flos
Florum'. I copy:

[2] Arnaldi eiusdem perfectum Magisterium et Gaudium ad
Aragonum Regem, sub titulo Flos florum.
-Incipit-: Scias Charissime quod in amni re que sub celo /
-Explicit-: Cuius utilitas maior est, quam possit percipi ratione.

............

[6] Arnaldi Philosophi Flos florum.
-Incipit-: Vidi senem unum claruficatum fulgentem... [without explicit]

............

[23] Arnaldi Philosophi liber alius sub titulo Flos florum.
-Incipit-: O Reverende Pater, gratias Deo ago... [without explicit]

The item number two is the text cited by Massimo Marra in his
last message and the number six is the 'Cathea Aurea'. My problem
is the item 23. I know other Arnau's treatises with similar incipit like
'Semita semitae' or 'Errores alchimiae' but not with the title 'Flos florum'.
Can anyone give me an opinion?

Now I change the subject and I ask another question.

I found an article by José Ramón de Luanco with a reference
about a 'Liber deforationis' in nine chapters (¡¡¡) attributed to Arnau.
He said that there was a copy in a manuscript on alchemy
property of: «the "Speciale" family from Sicilia (14th century)».
Luanco said that this manuscript had been comented in:

Isidoro Carini. 'Sulle Scienze occulte nel medio evo e sopra un
codice della famiglia Speciale, dal Sae'. Edited in: Palermo, 1872, - in 8º.

Can anyone tell me about the "Speciale's manuscript"? All
information would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,

Jose Rodríguez