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February 2005
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Subject: ACADEMY: Bibliotheca chemica on line
From: Giuseppe de Nicolellis
Date: 1 Feb 2005

Bibliotheca chemica; a bibliography of books on alchemy,
chemistry, and pharmaceutics [by] John Ferguson
yesterday appeared on line by Carnegie Mellon University:

Giuseppe de Nicolellis

Subject: ACADEMY: La Bugia
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: 1 Feb 2005

Dear Adam,

Thank you for taking the time to reply with such precious details. It would
be invaluable to confront both mss as the earlier one appears to be a
fragment of REG. LAT. 1521 which is 143 pages long.

It would also be interesting to compare Massimiliano Palombara's
distinctive handwriting with the one published by Mino Gabrieli.
Does he reproduce a page of handwriting?

At any rate, it is quite clear that I must find his work forthwith. He does
however clearly express uncertainty - in the description you supplied
- over whether or not the images are by Palombara.

The date 1656 is intriguing as Palombara declares having made a
major breakthrough on Sunday 13th of October 1652 thus perhaps
the 1656 La Bugia is an earlier abandoned effort.
That is a thread worthy of attention.

Again thank you.
All the very best,
Stanislas Klossowski de Rola

Subject: ACADEMY: La Bugia
From: Adam McLean
Date: 1 Feb 2005

Dear Stanislas,

>It would also be interesting to compare Massimiliano Palombara's
>distinctive handwriting with the one published by Mino Gabrieli.
>Does he reproduce a page of handwriting?

No. He does not include an illustration of the handwriting.
There is only a short line of text on one of the illustrations,
and as Gabriele has said the images may not have been made
by Palombara himself.

>The date 1656 is intriguing as Palombara declares having made a
>major breakthrough on Sunday 13th of October 1652

Gabriele does address this point

Il codice benché datato 1656 potrebbe essere stato composto in
precedenza. Difatti dalle notizie autobiografiche che il Palombara
da in alcune pagine (cc. 17v e 18r), sappiamo che egli ricevette la
'conoscenza alchemica' attraverso una illuminazione divina nell'ottobre
1652. Pertanto ritengo che l'opera fosse concepita e scritta tra
questa data - termine post quem - che sancisce l'autorità sapienziale
del filosofo ermetico, ed il 1656, anno e termine ante quem, che posto
sul frontespizio indica la conclusione della stesura. Come mera
ipotesi propongo anche quest'altra possibilità, più precisa nella
datazione: a e. 47r si parla del 'contagio' che allora correva per la
città; se ciò non è una finzione letteraria, ma una puntuale allusione
alla peste che dal maggio 1656 all'agosto 1657 colpì Roma, e tenendo
poi presente che a e. 38v il Palombara confessa di avere scritto l'opera
in "ore e non in giorni", potrebbe darsi che egli, ritiratosi fuori dalla
città per la pestilenza, abbia avuto il tempo e colta l'occasione per
dedicarsi alla prima stesura dell'opera.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY: La Bugia
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: 2 Feb 2005

Dear Stanislas,

Mino Gabriele states that the Palombara 1656 manuscript is in a
private collection, but he does not tell where. The two manuscripts
are very different. The above is entirely in prose, and the Reg. lat 1521
is just small prose and a lot of intriguing poems and verse, seemingly
lacking in the now private version. The best thing would be to make
contact with Gabriele himself, somehow.

If the older version is a fragment of the Reg. lat that would be highly
interesting. There was a poem by one unknown poet Melosio referring
to La Bugia and alchemy in Christina's court academy in the year
coming up, when she arrived in Rome (1655 on Christmas day).
The Rosicrucian informed alchemist poet F. M. Santinelli was
director of the Christina academies in that year, 1656.

Oh this needs more detailed study than I can do tonight.

Best regards,
Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY: Ovid and Alchemy
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: 3 Feb 2005

Clare Brown wrote:

>I have read - or at least seen snippets - that suggest that Ovid's
>Metamorphoses were interpreted alchemistically in the Renaissance.

I remember a rare Spanish translation of the Ovidius Moralizatus
attibuted to Petrus Berchorius (Biblioteca Nacional de España,
Ms. 10144, 15th century). The anonymous translator suggest
the alchemical significance of two mythes (Aretusa and Alpheus;
Priame and Tisbe). You can find a full transcription in:

- PIERRE BERÇUIRE, (c. 1992), "Text and concordance of Morales
de Ovidio: a fifteenth-century Castilian translation of the Ovidius
moralizatus : Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional ms. 10144; edited by
Derek C. Carr", Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, Madison.

I think a key text in the Renaissance was a french poem titled
'Le Grand Olympe' (ca. 1530). It is an anonymous interpretation
of Ovid's Metamorphoses sometimes attributed to Guillaume
Postel or Pierre Vitecoq.
- PAUL KUNTZE, (1912), "The Grand Olympe, eine achemistische
Deutung von Ovids Metamorphosen", Diss. Halle.
- DIDIER KAHN, (1995), "Les manuscrits originaux des
alchimistes de Flers.", in D. Kahn & S. Matton (eds. ), in Didier
Kahn; Sylvain Matton (eds), "Alchimie, art, histoire et mythes",
pp. 347-427, cf. pp. 352-355, 409-413.

Another key text was "La Espositione di Geber Philosopho" by
Giovanni Bracesco da Orzi Nuovi (1482-1555?).
- G. BRACESCHO, (1544), "La Espositione di Geber Philosopho di
misser Giouani bracescho da Iorci noui, nella quale si dichiarano
molti nobilissimi secreti dela natura", Gabriel Giolito di Ferrarii,
Venice (reed. 1548, 1551, 1561,1562).

There are important references to Ovid as alchemical author in
"De Magia naturali" (ca. 1492-1495) by Lefèvre d'Étaples.
You can find a full description and partial transcription in:
"L'interprétation alchimique de deux travaux d'Hercule dans le
De Magia naturali de Lefèvre d'Étaples.", in: "Chrysopoeia", 5,
pp. 191-264.

Finally, there are a lot of references to other alchemical lectures
of Ovid's Metamorphoses in:
- JOACHIM TELLE, (1980), "Mythologie und Alchemie. Zum Fortleben
der antiken Götter in der frühneuzeitlichen Alchemieliteratur.",
in: Rudolf Schmitz und Fritz Krafft (eds.) "Humanismus und
Naturwissenschaften" (=Beiträge zur Humanismusforschung,
Bd. VI), pp. 135-154.
- FRANÇOIS SECRET, (1981), "Alchimie et mythologie.",
in: Yves Bonefoy (ed.), "Diccionaire des mythologies...",
Flammarion, Paris, pp. 7-9.
- SYLVAIN MATTON, (1982), "L'herméneutique alchimique de
la Fable antique", introduction à la rééd. anastatique de : A.-J.
Pernety, Les Fables égyptiennes et grecques dévoilées et
réduites au même principe " (1758), Paris : La Table
d'émeraude, 1982 (21 pp. n. ch.). 2e éd. corrigée, id., 1992.

José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: ACADEMY: La Bugia
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: 5 Feb 2005

Dear Adam and Susanna,

Thank you for taking the time to supply precious details about the
Mino Gabriele publication. It would indeed be interesting to get in
touch with him and if possible to confront both mss.

I recovered among a voluminous body of notes on the subject the
following bibliographical info on another very interesting manuscript-
in the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome - written by Massimiliano Palombara
and also dated 1660 - the same year as the Vatican Ms of La Bugia:

MS 1346 in 4to dimensions 225 x 155 mm 266 pages
Title: Rimario sdrucciolo, ove vi sono parole serie, giocose, e latinisme accio
ciascheduno possa esecitarse in quel componimento che piu gli aggrada
Meso insieme dal Marchese Massimiliano Palombara l'anno MDCLX

This rhyming instrument supplies a wealth of information which I
found invaluable in my own studies of his works.

All the very best,

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola

Subject: ACADEMY: Villanova and Sundew
From: Alexandra Steiner
Date: 5 Feb 2005

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

My name is Alexandra Steiner, I am an Austrian Biologist and I am
working on my PhD about the medicinal plant Sundew. In my general
investigations I happened to find out about A. de Villanova´s efforts
of preparing Aqua auri out of sundew that was/is called Rosoglio
(from Ros solis = Sundew). I contacted a man in Germany in order
to find out about a tractate about the preparation of wines Villanova
wrote in 1506 (as far as I know it is if at all only available as microfiche)
or so but so far I could not succeed. I would really like to find out
about the original recipe and above that I would like to have a paper
copy of this microfiche. Do you know where I can get help?


Alexandra Steiner

Subject: ACADEMY: Villanova and Sundew
From: J. Plattner
Date: 5 Feb 2005

Dear Alexandra,

A possible and also a free accessible online source might be at the
'Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel'. There are several
digitalized manuscripts and one might fulfill your request:
Arnoldi de Villanova - Liber de Vinis. It is written in Latin and is
of some 30 pages. There are also many handwritten annotations
at the margins of each page.

I hope, this would be the searched tractate.

Johann Plattner

Subject: ACADEMY: Johann Winckler alchemical painting
From: Adam McLean
Date: 11 Feb 2005

Does anyone know the location of this 18th century alchemical
painting by Johann Winckler ?

I cannot even find Winckler listed as an artist on art web sites.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY: Johann Winckler alchemical painting
From: Eve Sinaiko
Date: 15 Feb 2005


Have you tried contacting the Chemical Heritage Society in
Philadelphia? I believe they have a painting curator, though I can't
lay hands on the person's name. I have also posted your query to
an art historians' list.

Regards to the Academy,

Eve Sinaiko

Subject: ACADEMY: Johann Winckler alchemical painting
From: Elizabeth O'Mahoney
Date: 15 Feb 2005

Someone at the Chemical Heritage Foundation you may want to
contact is Marjorie Gapp, Curator of Art and Images - very helpful person.

Their website is and I think contact details are on that.
I'm not sure though whether the Foundation will have much knowledge of
artists they don't 'own' and I'm fairly sure they don't have any Winckler,
however its obviously worth a shot.

Liz O'Mahoney

Subject: ACADEMY: New history of hermetic tradition
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 17 Feb 2005

Dear Academy,

Has anyone seen the new book published by Georg Olms Verlag:

STOCKINGER, HERMANN E., Die hermetisch-esoterische
Tradition unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Einflüsse auf
das Denken Johann Christian Edelmanns (1698-1767)
Hildesheim 2004.
X/968 S.

The publishers' description says it is the first comprehensive
presentation of the hermetic current in European history.

Best regards,

Subject: ACADEMY: New history of hermetic tradition
From: Julie Hollingsworth
Date: 19 Feb 2005

STOCKINGER, HERMANN E., Die hermetisch-esoterische
Tradition unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Einflüsse auf
das Denken Johann Christian Edelmanns (1698-1767)
Hildesheim 2004.
X/968 S.

Subject: ACADEMY: BBC Radio programme on alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 24 Feb 2005

This morning on the BBC's main radio station Radio 4, there
was a 45 minute discussion on alchemy on the 'In our time'
programme hosted by Melvyn Bragg. There were three guests,
two of whom are well known members of our alchemy academy
dicsussion group, namely, Peter Forshaw and Lauren Kassell,
who were joined by the historian of science, Stephen Pumphrey.

I must say it was a delight to listen to a mature scholarly discussion
of alchemy, and the presenter, Melvyn Bragg, never stooped to the
usual stance that media people seem to adopt about alchemy, indeed,
he engaged with the subject at the level of the participants.

In case you might like to listen to the programme it will be archived
for the next seven days on the BBC Radio 4 website where you
can either listen to it as a stream or download it as an mp3 file.
The relevant page is

Subject: ACADEMY: Liber ingeniorum
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: 28 Feb 2005

I am writing a descriptive catalogue of alchemical manuscripts in
the Spanish libraries and I have found a 16th century copy of a short
alchemical work entitled 'Liber ingeniorum mineralium' (divided into
21 sections or 'books'). It includes a second treatise entitled 'Libri
operis simplicis' (29 sections). Does anyone recognize this work?
Has anyone bibliographical information on this?

I send you a little description:

1 - Liber ingeniorum rerum tam naturalium quam mineralem. (8 pp.)
Incipit: In Christi nos[tr]e Amen. Incipit liber ingeniorum mineralium,
et de karateribus, et coloribus, et eorum anexis | De karaterem
dispensabis et facies cum tribus partibus mercuri et unam corporis
p[er]fecti vel imperfecti...
Explicit: ...lacetur cum sale y aceto imbibedo, sicando et tevendo et
postea lavando cum aqua calida donec tuta nigredo recedat.

2 - Libri op[er]is simplicis. (15 pp.)
Incipit: De ingeniis. Principium est scientia o[mn]ium ingeniorum
rerum naturalium est circa corpus et quadriviationem...
Explicit: p[er]venius ad quartum gradum digestibilitatis hec
o[mn]ia notantur supra in capitulo de Karatere cum...


José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: ACADEMY: BBC Radio programme on alchemy
From: Michal Pober
Date: 28 Feb 2005

Dear Adam,

Many thanks for drawing our attention to the Melvyn Bragg programme.

Finally last night I got to hear and thoroughly enjoy it and I would like
to offer warm congratulations to the participants for 'normalising'
Alchemy without losing the magic.

With Best Regards,

Michal Pober

P.S. Special greetings to Peter Forshaw who honoured us with a visit last year.

Subject: ACADEMY: Articles from Ambix
From: Adam McLean
Date: 28 Feb 2005

A rather fine compendium of some of the articles from Ambix
has now been published. These were chosen by Prof Allen Debus,
the well known historian of science with an especial interest in
alchemy. It includes 28 articles in over 570 pages. These cover
alchemy from its origins through to the time of Newton. All these
articles are well worth reading for those with a general interest
in alchemy.

I believe the Ambix back issues are no longer available, so this
volume does at least allow those without access to the entire run
in a library, to have a sense of how significant Ambix is in
providing a vehicle for the scholars to publish their work.

This book is available direct from the publisher at