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December 2003

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Subject: ACADEMY : Liber Platonis quartorum
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003

Dear Adam,

The text entitled Kitâb al-rawâbî' li-Iflâtûn is available in Badawî
volume on Plotin and neoplatonism:

'ABD A-RAHMAN BADAWÎ, (1977), _ Al-Iflâtûniyya al-muhdatha
'înda al-'Arab _, Wikâlat al-matbû'ât, Kuwait, pp. 117-239.


José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: ACADEMY : Help with translating the word 'limon'
From: Adam McLean
Date: 6 Dec 2003

I wonder if anyone could assist me with a suggestion for translating
the French word 'limon' in an alchemical context.

Of course it means 'silt', 'mud', or 'slime', but feel there is some
nuance specific to an alchemical context that is escaping me.

This is from a late 18th century French alchemical work by Grassot.

De ce principe substantiel qui est la forme et la matière universelle
de toutes choses, Dieu fit les élémens qui sont les principes succédant,
et de la combinaison des élémens, il en fit un limon déterminé à la
génération des individus ; lequel contient en soi toutes les vertus
élémentaires en puissance et non en acte. Et c'est ce limon qui
est la semence de toutes choses.

"From this substantial principle that is the form and universal matter
of all things, God created the elements, which are the subsequent
principles, and from the combination of the elements, he made a silt,
appointed for the generation of individuals; which contains in itself
all the elementary virtues in potency and not in act. And it is this silt
that is the seed of all things."

'Silt' does not capture the meaning I feel sure. 'Slime' is perhaps closer,
but I feel there is some English word here which would be better. It
is a kind of 'primal ooze' perhaps that is intended, close to the more
modern term 'Gur' or universal prime matter.

Any suggestions please.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Liber Platonis quartorum
From: Ahmad Y. al-Hassan
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2003

Dear Adam

I have just read with interest the correspondence regarding Plato's "Liber
Platonis quartorum,". The article on Aflatun (or Plato) was a reproduction
from the Encyclopedia of Islam and was written by R. Walzer. It is a
scholarly article but it must have been written before the sixties, because
Walzer wrote between 1929 and 1962. Since then the works of Sezgin and
Ullmann had appeared in the seventies and both authors gave the locations,
the titles and the manuscript numbers of most of the existing alchemical
manuscripts in Arabic. The title of the Arabic original of the Latin text
is Kitab rawabi ' Aflaton. According to Ullmann there is a MS in Munich
649, fol.1-136, and another in Leiden 1431(= Cod. 1021,8). And as mentioned
by José Rodríguez Guerrero the Arabic original (which was based on the two
manuscripts) was edited by 'Abd Al -Rahman Badawi in Al-Iflâtûniyya
al-muhdatha 'înd al-'Arab. The 1977 Kuwaiti edition of Al-Iflâtûniyya
al-muhdatha is a reproduction of the original Cairo edition of 1955.

Ahmad Y. al-Hassan

Subject: ACADEMY : Help with translating the word 'limon'
From: Ray Cullen
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2003

>I wonder if anyone could assist me with a suggestion for
>translating the French word 'limon' in an alchemical context.

How about "divine mud"?


Ray Cullen

Subject: ACADEMY : Help with translating the word 'limon'
Date: Sat, 06 Dec 2003
From: M.E. Warlick

Hi Adam,

Here are some definitions from my Petit Larousse illustre, 1952.
Diluted earth, or primal matter seems to be the main idea.

LIMON n. m. (lat. limus). Boue, terre détrempé. Alluvion : le limon du Nil fertilise l'Egypte. Fig. Origine, vile origine, par allusion à la boue dont Dieu a tiré l'homme, suivant la Bible.

LIMON n. m. (ar. leimoun). Sort de citron qui a beaucoup de jus: sirop de limon.

LIMON N. M. Chacune des deux branches de la limonière: le limons d'une charrette. Archit. Pièce de bois ou de pierre, taillée en biais, qui supporte les marches et la balustrade d'un escalier.

There is also a Limon, Colorado, but I doubt you will find any clues there.


Subject: ACADEMY : Help with translating the word 'limon'
From: Eve Sinaiko
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2003

>I wonder if anyone could assist me with a suggestion for translating
>the French word 'limon' in an alchemical context.

Sediment, perhaps? Although that carries the idea of a filtered material,
which may not be accurate.

Eve Sinaiko

Subject: ACADEMY : Help with translating the word 'limon'
From: Peter Forshaw
Date: Sat, 06 Dec 2003

Hi Adam,

I'd chose mud' or 'slime'. That's generally how I translate the latin
equivalent 'limus'. When discussing the etymology of the word Chaos,
Khunrath suggests it derives from [Cheō] 'to pour out', and explains
that it is the primal mud or slime from water and earth, said to have been
'liquid, fluid, humid, aqueous, slimy'. [Khunrath, Vom hylealischen ...
Chaos (1708), Preface sig.)()(5r 'liquidam, fusilem, humidam, aqueam,

Happy translating,


Subject: ACADEMY : Help with translating the word 'limon'
From: Chris Pickering
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2003

You could try "clay", which is formed from silt and is also reminiscent of
the clay from which Adam is made.

Personally I would go for a very literal translation such as 'silt' and
treat it as a term with italics or quotation marks. It is obviously
comparable to concepts found elsewhere - prima materia, seed, logoi
spermatikoi, lees, etc, etc - but I imagine this author would have his own
very personal intended meaning for this word and concept.

Does 'limon' appear anywhere else, with a common or traditional translation?
As well as revealing the richness of ideas in an alchemical text, single
words like this (with very specific meanings as a distinct concept) can
often be the only clue to the texts place within a tradition, and might
perhaps be intended as a marker to grab the attention of the cognoscenti.

Chris Pickering

Subject: ACADEMY : Help with translating the word 'limon'
From: William Aronstein
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003

Dear Mr. Pickering,

In response to your request:

> Does 'limon' appear anywhere else, with a common or traditional

The XIXth Century poet, Gerard de Nerval, whose writings some consider
influenced by alchemical sources, used the word "limon" in his poem, "Le
Christ aux Oliviers." The last stanza of the poem reads:

Mais l'oracle invoque our jamais dut se taire
Un seul pouvait au monde expliquer ce mystere:
--Celui qui donna l'ame aux enfants du limon.

The entire poem is well worth reading. It is rather enigmatic, however, and
I am not sure exactly what the poet means in the last line.


William S. Aronstein

Subject: ACADEMY : Help with translating the word 'limon'
From: Louis Bourbonnais
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003

Dear All,

"Limon" in french is often related to the context of the Egyptian Nil.
Like most people here mentioned it: there is a lot of words that may
be related to this one. How is the latin "limus" usually trandlated
in English? It is always the word "silt" that is use in Englsh related
to the substance that is bring by the Nil used by man in agriculture?

As Gerard de Nerval use it in a poetical sense, we always find the
idea of richeness associated with the french "limon", which is more
than the simple "boue" (=mud). But mud (P. Forshaw) or Clay
(C. Pickering) may have asymbolic sense in English that is close
to the french "Limon", but I'm not a native english speaker, so
I'm not sure about this.

John Dee, in the preface to the Monas Hieroglyphica, use the
Ge 27.28 which I have seen once translated in french using the
word "limon de la terre". It seems to be the right context; in english,
we see "fatness" or "richness".

Maybe, as Chris Pickering wrote, a translation in italic with a
explicative note could avoid tight comprehension of the word.


Louis Bourbonnais

Subject: ACADEMY : Help with translating the word 'limon'
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003

Dear Adam,

Le limon, translates in this context as the primordial slime. Indeed it
refers to the fertilizing mud of the Nile which in turns evokes for the
French speaking alchemist the nigredo or black earth of Egypt which
as the result of the first dissolution contains all that is required to
proceed in the elaboration of the great work which is after the
manner of the biblical creation a hermetickal re-creation.

All the very best,
Stanislas Klossowski de Rola

Subject: ACADEMY : Liber Platonis quartorum
From: Adam McLean
Date: 11 Dec 2003

I found an interesting article describing the 'Liber Platonis quartorum'

Singer, Dorothea Waley. Alchemical texts bearing the name of Plato.
Ambix 2 (3-4) Dec 1946, p115-128.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : La Notomia dell'Acqua
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003
From: Frank Burton

I'm looking for the following work about preparation of Alkahest
by Water and Spiritus Vini Rectificatus of Paracelsus:

Anonimous, "La Notomia dell'Acqua, osservazioni e sperienze
di un non volgare filosofo, pubblicate e dedicate da Dionisio Andrea
Sancassani Magati da Scandiano al e Dottissimo Padre
D. Pietro Canneti". 1715

Anyone know where I can find it?
I've searched in many Italian libraries and I've not found it.

Many thanks,

Subject: ACADEMY : La Notomia dell'Acqua
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003

Dear Frank Burton,

I send you the references that I found:

Main Author: Magati, Andrea (1659-1738)
Title Details: La notomia dell'acqua. Osservazioni, e sperienze di un non volgare filosofo. Pubblicate ... da Dionisio Andrea Sancassani Magati da Scandiano ..
Publisher: Giuseppe Corona.
City: Padova.
Date: 1715
Physical Description: XL, 184 p., [3] c. di tav. ripieg. : ill. ; 80.
Holding Libraries:
- Biblioteca di lettere e filosofia dell'Universita' degli studi di Firenze
- Biblioteca del Polo di medicina legale, anatomia patologica e storia della medicina dell'Universita' degli studi di Padova


José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: ACADEMY : Rouen manuscript
From: Adam McLean
Date: 20th Dec 2003

Has anyone seen

Rouen Bibliotheque Municipale MS. Leber 1255.

It is an 18th century German manuscript seemingly
in the Golden and Rosy Cross tradition.

I attach an image from it.

Does it have any more illustrations ? I understand there
is at least one other.

Is it a variation on the Geheime figuren ?

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Giovanni Battista Lambi
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2003
From: Johann Plattner

Does one of the members know more about the author Giovanni
Battista Lambi ?

During scanning the databases of some public libraries here in
Germany, I came across that Lambi wrote a book entitled:

'A revelation of the secret spirit of alchymie', London, 1623


Johann Plattner

Subject: ACADEMY : Giovanni Battista Lambi
From: Adam McLean
Date: 22 Dec 2003

Lambye, John Baptiste.
A revelation of the Secret Spirit. Declaring the most concealed secret of Alchymie. Written first in Latine by an unknowne Author, but explained in Italian, by Iohn Baptista Lambye, Venetian. Lately translated into English, by R.N.E. Gentleman.
London, Printed by Iohn Haviland for Henrie Skelton, and are to be sold at his shop a little within All-gate. 1623. [STC 15177.]
16° [12] + 80 +[2] pages.

p[1] [Title page.]
p[3]-[8] [Epistle dedicatory.] To the Right Reverend Father in God, my honourable Lord, Iohn Thornburgh, Lord Bishop of Worcester, health and happinesse. [At end "R.N.E."]
p[9]-[11] To the discreet and true searchers of the secrets of Nature, leading a solitary life. Iohn Baptista Lambye, Venetian, wisheth health.
p1-17 The revelation of the secret spirit. The author sets out to describe that secret spiritual substance which can remove all corruptions, renew youth and prolong short life.
p18-22 The Preamble to the Exposition of the secret spirit. [This is a summary of the following section.]
p23-80 [Text in eight chapters.]
Wherein it is proved that there is only one thing, out of which the secret Spirit, or the Philosophers Stone, may be taken - In which shall bee seene, (by meanes of many sentences of divers Philosophers) if it can bee judged, what thing is this only thing - Wherein is proved, that of necessity it behoveth to reduce the body to the first matter, that it may be disposed for the separation of the Elements - Where it shall bee seene if it bee possible, to know what thing is tis first matter - In which is handled the separation of the foure Elements, which the apparitions of that secret Spirit doe signifie - In which shall be declared the fifth apparition of the secret Spirit in a glorified body - Wherein is shewed the manner to make the Elixir, or medicine to conserve the life of man - Where are handled the divers workers in this Science.
p[1] Errata.