Alchemy Academy archive
January 2002

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Subject: ACADEMY : Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576)
From: Glenn Perry
Date: 2 Jan 2002


I am writing to please request any information on the alchemy
writings of Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576).

I am a writer who is researching Cardano and would be
interested in communicating with anyone who is interested or
has knowledge of his work. I would also be interested in any
suggestions you have of any published texts of Cardano's
writings on alchemy.

I would very much appreciate if you could point me in the right
direction on this as I have found any writings by Cardano on
alchemy difficult to find.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Glenn Perry

Subject: ACADEMY : Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576)
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002
From: Cis van Heertum

Dear Glenn Perry,

There is a recent exhibition catalogue by Thomas Hofmeier and
Manuel Bachmann, Geheimnisse der Alchemie, Basel 1999,
which has quite a few entries on Cardano. The Bibliotheca
Philosophica Hermetica has the following works:

Opera (Basel 1562)
Liber de immortalitate animorum (Lyon 1545)
Somnium Synesiorum (Basel 1562)
La science du monde (Paris 1652)

There is also a recent work on Cardano: Nancy Siraisi, The clock
and the mirror. Girolamo Cardano and Renaissance medicine,
Princeton 1997, but I don't know if it contains a Cardano bibliography.

Best wishes,

Cis van Heertum

Subject: ACADEMY : Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576)
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002

Dear Glenn Perry,


This is a little bit off the alchemy thread, but it is interesting that
the Danish chemist Olaus Borrichius met the famous Italian
rebel alchemist Giuseppe Borri in Amsterdam 31.5 1662.
Borrichius says that Borri showed him a passage in Cardano:

"Ostendit mihi quaedam in Cardani dialectic: unde arcdebat
Cartesium omnia sua philosophemata metaphysica haussisse."

That is Borri showed Borrichius a place in Cardano's dialectic:
from this Cartesius derived all his metaphysical philosophemata.
p. 138 Vol. I in H. D. Shepelern Olaus Borrichi itinerarium
1660-1665, The Journal of the Danish polyhistor Ole Borch.
Leiden, Brill 1983.

I have tried to compare Cardanos Dialectic in vol. I of his
collected work with Cartesian philosophy and saw some
reasoning on geometry that could be seen as similar to Descartes'
ideas, but I could not work it out very far. Descartes read Cardano
as is shown by William Shea. Cardano is famous, according to
Shea, for his experiment with wolf's skin and lamb's skin, and
how they react on each others sound when set in vibration.
Perhaps there is something deeper here on Descartes' debt
to occultism or to Cardano's mathematics that perhaps you
or some other Cardano scholar could sort out! I just thought
it should not pass unnoticed.

Regards,

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576)
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002


Dear Glen Perry,

Although I know next to nothing about Cardano, I have a couple of
books at hand that might be useful... one is by Ingo Schütze, "Die
Naturphilosophie in Girolamo Cardanos De subtilitate", Wilhelm
Fink Verlag, München 2000 - there you will find a short chapter
(some 15 pages) at the end of the book on 'Alchemie als Ars
Destillatoria', which discusses Cardano's three-element theory
(Water, Oil, Earth), how he developed this theory from a study of
distillation processes, and its relation (or lack of relation) to
Paracelsus' theory; apparently Cardano was taught the Art by
his father, whom he nevertheless criticised for being an empiricist
lacking method. There is also a work here by Anthony Grafton, a
German translation of Cardano's Cosmos (1999), which chiefly
concerns astrology but may have something on alchemy... I don't
really have time to look, I'm afraid, but you should be able to get
this one fairly easily if you haven't seen it already. You may well
also find something in Partington's History of Chemistry.

Cheers

Hereward Tilton

Subject: ACADEMY : Butler's Stone
From: Robert.Vanloo
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002

Does anybody know about the life and works of the Irish
Alchemist Butler, who gave J.-B. Van Helmont (1579-1644)
1/2 grain of his Powder of Projection while he was in jail at
Vilvoorde ?

Cf. "Jean-Baptitse Van Helmont, Philosophe par le Feu", Paul
Neve de Mevergnies, Liège, 1935, pp. 70-72.

Robert Vanloo

Subject: ACADEMY : Butler's Stone
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke


Robert.Vanloo wrote:

> Does anybody know about the life and works of the Irish
> Alchemist Butler, who gave J.-B. Van Helmont (1579-1644)
> 1/2 grain of his Powder of Projection while he was in jail at
> Vilvoorde ?

In A.E. Waite's _Alchemists Through the Ages_ there is
the episode you mention described (van Helmont) and
another one, describing how Butler learned the art
from an Arab and later performed transmutations in London.
Hardly credible.

Olaus Borch apparently identified him with Alexander Seton
but it is rather impossible on chronological grounds.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Butler's Stone
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2002
From: Adam McLean

There are two manuscripts that might be of interest.
I have not seen either of these.


London, Wellcome Institute MS. 2358. 18th Century [c. 1725]
1 folio + 115 pages + 8 folios + 21 pages. 160x105mm.
[The first section consists mainly of extracts from the works of
J. B. van Helmont. Pages 3-13 of this section give an account
of William Butler [1535-1618] and his cures.]
[The second section begins from the end of the volume,
and is headed 'Alchimie'.]
[The MSS. has been ascribed to 'J. Feuilly' whose name is
inscribed on the inside cover.]
[From the Julius Kohn Library.]


London, Wellcome Institute MS. 4745.
54 + 26 + 150 pages. 190x125mm. 18th Century.
Swibach des Fontaines. La moëlle de la philosophie hermétique.
[Compilers holograph.]
Item 8. pp 89-95 W. Butler. Médecine philosophique.


Subject: ACADEMY : Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576)
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2002
From: Lauren Kassell

In addition to Siraisi on Cardano's medicine and Grafton on
his astrology, they've co-authored a long essay on Cardano's
astrological medicine: 'Between the Election and My Hopes:
Girolamo Cardano and Medical Astrology', in A. Grafton and
W. Newman (eds.), Secrets of Nature: Astrology and Alchemy
in Early Modern Europe (MIT, 2001).

I've had a quick look at all three of these items, and Siraisi's
book seems to be the only to mention alchemy.

Lauren Kassell

Subject: ACADEMY : Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576)
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Lauren Kassell wrote:

> I've had a quick look at all three of these items, and Siraisi's
> book seems to be the only to mention alchemy.

I have the book _Cardano. The gambling scholar_ by Oystein Ore
(Princeton UP, 1953) where he quotes from Cardano's autobiography
(_De propria vita_):

But I have not applied myself to any malicious, dangerous,
or vain sciences, consequently not to chiromancy, nor
to chemistry, nor the science of poisons.

The authors did not indicate where in the autobiography it
appears - and I could not find it browsing through the Polish edition.
He also commented: "By chemistry Cardano may possibly mean alchemy,
and this seems to have been a field which he left alone."

Another quotation of interest is from _De utilitate_, where Cardano
lists five activities which are likely to bring a man to bankruptcy:

Among these there are five: gambling, alchemy, architecture,
lawsuits, and luxury.

Thus it seems that he was indeed uninterested in alchemy.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576)
From: José Rodríguez
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002

Dear Glenn Perry:

You can find the Cardano's points of view on alchemy in:

- HIERONYMI CARDANI, (1550), "De subtilitate libri XXI",
Norimbergae [Liber VI; chapter «De metallis». Liber XVII;
chapter «De artibus, artificiosisque rebus»].

- HIERONYMI CARDANI, (1557), "De rerum varietate libri XVII",
Basileae [Liber X; chapter «De ignis artificis»; sec. 50
(Distillationes), 51 (chymica), 52 (Vitri artificia)].

Cardano speaks about "ars chimistica" as a craft or "ignis
artificia". You can find more details in:

- JEAN MARC MANDOSIO, (1990-1991), "La place de
l'alchimie dans les clasifications des sciences et des
arts à la Renaissance", in: «Chrysopoeia», 4, pp. 199-282,
cf. pp. 253, 257, 262, 271 [in French].

Grettings,

José Rodríguez

Subject: ACADEMY : Butler's Stone
From: Peter Kelly
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002

There is also a mention of Butler in "The Magus" by Francis
Barrett. This is very similar to the account in "Alchemists
through the ages."

Apparently Butler was an Irish gentleman, who was captured
by pirates, and sold as a slave to an Arabian, who was an
alchemical Philosopher. It was from this Philosopher that
Butler learned about the stone.

At a later time he was imprisoned in Vilvord Castle in
Flanders where Helmont came to visit him after hearing of
the cures Butler performed with the stone.

Best Regards,
Peter Kelly

Subject: ACADEMY : Frata Elia e l'Alchimia
From: Adam McLean
Date: 10 Jan 2002
I wonder if any of our Italian members have seen the article

Bruno Bruni 'Frata Elia e l'Alchimia', in the 'Actes du VIII Congres
Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences, Florence-Milan 3-9 Sep.,
1956', Vol. II, p. 506.

This apparently investigates the first translation of the writings of
Jabir and Razi into Latin in the 13th century.

Unfortunately I have been unable to find a copy of the Actes
anywhere in the UK.

Is this article a significant piece of research ? Does it establish
the earliest date when these writings appeared in Latin, and
thus became part of European alchemy ?

Following the work of a number of recent scholars, the impact
and role of arabic alchemy upon Europe is being reassessed.
I wondered if this older article was still relevant or provided
references to source material.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Maryanus
From: Adam McLean
Date: 10 Jan 2002
There is an exquisite legend that an Egyptian monk, Maryanus,
taught the Umayyad Prince Khalid ibn Yazid ( -704) the secrets of
alchemy, and thus brought alchemy to the Arab-Islamic world.

This alchemist-monk Maryanus is supposed to have written
several epistles on alchemy, and also taken Khalid on a number
of journeys to isolated places and caves where Maryanus
performed many experiments for making gold, and taught
Khalid the wonders of the alchemical art and the miraculous
effects of the elixir.

Of course this could merely be a later story created to make
alchemy appear to have early foothold in the Arab-Islamic world,
and I wonder if anyone knows of any research into this alchemist-
monk. Are there any articles focussing upon Maryanus and
Khalid ? Is there any evidence that there may be some fact
behind the legend ? It would even be interesting to see when
the legend first appeared.

I know next to nothing about Maryanus. Has anyone looked at
this ?

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Maryanus
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke


Adam McLean wrote:

> There is an exquisite legend that an Egyptian monk, Maryanus,
> taught the Umayyad Prince Khalid ibn Yazid ( -704) the secrets of
> alchemy, and thus brought alchemy to the Arab-Islamic world.

> I know next to nothing about Maryanus. Has anyone looked at
> this ?

He is obviously better known as Morienus the Roman. I have found
the following statement in an unreferenced article on the Web:

Morienus (a Hermit, whose works were translated from Arabic
into Latin as early as A.D. 1182) learned the Art of
Transmutation, or the Great Elixir, at Rome of Adsar,
an Alexandrian and a Christian, and afterwards taught it
to Calid, or Evelid, the son of Gizid the Second, who was
King of Egypt about the year A.D. 725.

John Morby's _Dynasties of the World_ gives this "Gizid" as
Jazid II (ie. Yazid II) who ruled 720-724. And he was indeed
of the Umayyad dynasty. His son named Al-Walid II ruled 743-744
and thus may be "the" Khalid/Calid of alchemical history.
The first Al-Walid ruled 705-715 in the same dynasty.

I'll check the full Umayyad genealogy for any other
possibilities.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Maryanus
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Adam,

Maryanus/Morienus must be the ascetic monk mentioned in Yeats's
'Rosa Alchemica' and described in Langlet du Fresnoy's 'Histoire
de la Philosophie Hermetique' (Paris, 1742) 101. I mentioned this
briefly in a letter of 26 Nov 2001.

Best wishes,

Michael

Subject: ACADEMY : Maryanus
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002

Dear Adam,

I don't have the book to hand, but from memory I believe there may
be some good information on 'the hermit of Jerusalem' in the
introduction to Stavenhagen's translation of his work:

Stavenhagen, Lee (ed., trans.). 'A Testament of Alchemy'.
Hanover: University Press of New England, 1974.

It seems possible to me that the legend was indeed a means of
'Christianising' alchemy by claiming a Christian source of Arabic
alchemical knowledge, although the Latin Morienus texts derive
in part from Arabic sources. Count Michael Maier devoted a chapter
to Morienus in his 'Symbola Aureae Mensae'; he was also fond
of the ladder-alchemical process analogy which is given in
"Morieni Romani Eremitae Hierosolymitani Sermo," British Library,
MS Sloane 3697, 17th century, pp.52-53, when Morienus confides
to his patron King Khalid:

"...whosoever shall seeke any other thinge than this stone for this
magistery shall be likened unto a Man that endeavoreth to clyme
a Ladder without steppes, which thing he being unable to doe, he
falleth to the Earth on his face... this stone is cast in the wayes, it is
trodden upon in the dunghills of those wayes, and many men have
digged in dunghills in hope to finde it out in them, and herein they
have been deceived: but the wise men have known that thinge,
and have often used it, which containeth in itself four Elements,
and hath Dominion over them."

An illustration of this passage appears in the emblematic depiction
of Morienus given in Maier's 'Symbola Aureae Mensae'; there
we see a figure attempting to scale a wall without a ladder, and
another figure with his foot in a dungheap, whilst Morienus gestures
didactically and the motto warns, "hoc accipe, quod in sterquiliniis
suis calcatur: si non, absque scala ascensurus cades in caput"...
"accept that it is trampled upon in their dungheap; if not, when
climbing without a ladder you will fall on your head." Maier's
source was probably the "Liber de Compositione Alchemiae
quem edidit Morienus Romanus". 'Artis Auriferae'. Vol. 2. Basel:
Conrad Waldkirch, 1593; there is also the Sloane version and
the modern English translation of what I believe is essentially the
same tract by Stavenhagen above. According to Stavenhagen
the original Arabic text is unknown, but a number of identical
passages are to be found in an Arabic tract written around 1250
by Abu'l-Qâsim Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Irâqî; see Stavenhagen,
p. 60; see also Abu'l-Qâsim Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Irâqî.
'Book of the Knowledge Acquired Concerning the Cultivation
of Gold'. Tr. E. J. Holmyard. Paul Geuthner: Paris, 1923.


Hereward Tilton

Subject: ACADEMY : Maryanus
From: Samten de Wet
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 200

Maria's claim that alchemical secrets were revealed to her by
God were unquestioningly accepted in early Medieval days.
One of the earliest Arab alchemists was (according to later legend)
the Omayyad pretender to the caliphate of Egypt and ruler of the
emirate of Khims, Khalid b. Yazid b. Muawiya (ca. 668 - ca. 704). He
is said to have ordered Egyptian scholars to translate Greek and
Coptic alchemical and astronomical works into Arabic, and to have
been initiated into alchemy by a Byzantine monk, Maryanus, also
known as Morienus Romanus.
Nothing is known of the life of this man - a common phenomenon
with alchemical authors - but several treatises attributed to him are
extant. One of these is De compositions alchemiae, which was
translated into Latin by Robertus Castrensis. In it Maryanus writes
that the philosophers (i.e., the alchemists) having assembled in
the presence of Maria. said to her: "Happy are you, O Maria, for
the divine hidden and always splendid secret is revealed to you!"
RAPHAEL PATAI - MARIA THE JEWESS - FOUNDING MOTHER
OF ALCHEMY, AMBIX. Vol. 29, Part 3, November 1982, pp.186-187.


EARLY ISLAMIC TRADITION
Muslim chroniclers of the medieval period rarely doubted that the
Umayyad Prince Khalid b. (for Ibn) Yazid (died in Damascus.
A.D. 704) was an Arab patron of learning, scion of the royal family.
He personally embraced and participated in promoting many
disciplines, including alchemy. It was reported that Khalid had been
the first in Islam to order the translation of many texts from the Greek,
Coptic and other languages into Arabic. He was taught the "black art"
by an Egyptian monk, Maryanus, and wrote several epistles on
alchemy - a topic he had chosen over others and substituted for the
vain-glory of monarchy.Legends abound in Arabic literature about
Khalid's relations with this monk-alchemist. They include stories of
their journeys to isolated places and caves where Maryanus
performed many experiments for making gold, expounding to his
student the wonders of the art and the miraculous effects of the elixir
(called also the melted body, jasad).
Sami K. Hamarneh i - ARABIC-ISLAMIC ALCHEMY-THREE
INTERTWINED STAGES - Ambix. VOL. 29. Part 2, July 1982


Subject: ACADEMY : Maryanus
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Raphael Patai _The Jewish alchemists_ has a chapter of
Pseudo-Khalid where he says (p. 125) that the attribution
of the Khalid texts to the historical Khalid (c.668-c704),
ruler of the emirate of Hims, is a later legend.

He also mentions "the Marianus legend" on the same page
and makes a refernce to EI2 (which I take to be _Encyclopedia
of Islam_, 2nd ed.) under "Marianus".

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Book on von Suchten
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Adam's list of modern books on alchemy at:

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/modern3.html

lists as no. 570 the following item - apparently a monograph on
the early (sometimes called "the first") Paracelsist: Alexander
von Suchten:

Koller, Simone.
Alexander von Suchten, sein Leben, sein Werk.
Zurich 1988

I cannot find it in any on-line library catalogue (even in
Switzerland). Has anyone seen it? Maybe it is an article?

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Book on von Suchten
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002
From: Adam McLean

Rafal,


> Koller, Simone. Alexander von Suchten, sein Leben, sein Werk.
Zurich 1988


I think I saw this in the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
some years ago

Best regards,

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Book on von Suchten
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002
From: Lauren Kassell

Rafal,

Since Bill Newman's Gehennical Fire was sitting on my desk
(it has a chunk on von Suchten), I've had a quick look -- but
there's no mention of the Koller. There are a couple of other
articles, so let me know if you want the refs.

Lauren Kassell

Subject: ACADEMY : Book on von Suchten
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Lauren,

> Since Bill Newman's Gehennical Fire was sitting on my desk
> (it has a chunk on von Suchten), I've had a quick look -- but
> there's no mention of the Koller. There are a couple of other
> articles, so let me know if you want the refs.

Thanks. What a coincidence - I managed to convince my library
to buy it and also have it right here on my desk! A great book.
He lists the two articles (Haberling 1929 and Hubicki 1960)
which are practically everything of note written so far -
unless Koller discovered something new.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Alexander Seton's new alias?
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

I have just found Carlos Gilly's short article in the on-line
Encyclopedia of Swiss History at:

http://www.snl.ch/dhs/externe/protect/textes/D8251.html [German]
http://www.snl.ch/dhs/externe/protect/textes/F8251.html [French]
http://www.snl.ch/dhs/externe/protect/textes/I8251.html [Italian]

where he mentions Alexander Seton and gives him an alias
of "William Alexander". Does anyone know the source of it?

Interestingly, this is again an aristocratic Scottish name
of the period - Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (c1577-1640)
was an important courtier of James VI, owner of Nova Scotia,
educated at Leyden, and a poet. He came from the barons of Menstrie
of that name.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Book on von Suchten
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Adam,

> > Koller, Simone. Alexander von Suchten, sein Leben, sein Werk.
> Zurich 1988
>
> I think I saw this in the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
> some years ago

Thank you. Hmm... the Preisner/Figala _Lexikon_ doesn't list it,
either. Maybe it was a dissertation or offprint?

BTW: Do you perhaps know if there are plans for the BPH
catalogue to go on-line?

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Book on von Suchten
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002
From: Cis van Heertum

We have this apparently unpublished thesis by Simone Koller,
Alexander von Suchten, sein Leben, sein Werk (i.e. Chymische
Schrifften, ed. 1680). It was a 'Lizentiatsarbeit der philosophischen
Fakultät der Universität Zürich (1988), where copies may
perhaps be had. 161 pages.

Best wishes,

Cis

Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
Bloemgracht 31-35
NL-1016 KC Amsterdam
tel. 00-31-20-6258079
fax 00-31-20-6200973
www.ritmanlibrary.nl

Subject: ACADEMY : Book on von Suchten
From: José Rodríguez
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002

Concerning Koller's work, I think there is a microfilm copy in
Switzeland:

- ALEXANDER VON SUCHTEN, (1988), "Alexandri von Suchten,
Eines wahren Philosophi und der Artzneyen Doctoris
Chymische Schriften", Rentsch Verlag, Dietlikon (Zürich).

Description: Suchten's «Chymische Schriften» (ed. Frankfurt am
Main, 1680) partial edition by Simone Koller, Universität Zürich
[It includes: «Concordantia chymica» ; «Colloquia chymica»
and «De antimonio vulgari»].

Holding Library : Zentralbibliothek Zürich

Collection : P04 Best.mit rosa Zettel

Signature : MF A 749

Subject: ACADEMY : Maryanus
From: José Rodríguez
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002

> I wonder if anyone knows of any research into this alchemist-
> monk. Are there any articles focussing upon Maryanus and
> Khalid ?

Dear Adam.

The earliest notice about the Maryanus-Khâlid alchemical
conection appeared in Al-Nadim's treatise called
"Kitâb al-Fihrist" (late 10th century). In that book Maryanus
appears as an ancient byzantine alchemist, and khâlid ibn
Yazîd is an arabic Prince who stimulate the translations from
Greek into Arabic. Al-Nadim mentions alchemical texts
attributed to him:

Kitâb al-kharazât
Kitâb al-sahîfa al-kabîr
Kitâb al-sahîfa al-saghîr
Kitâb wasuyyatihi ilâ ibnihi fî al-san'a

There were other pseudoepigraphical texts under his name in
a late Arabic tradition (Firdaws al-hikmâ...) and in the Latin West
(Liber trium verborum; Liber secretorum alchemiae...)


The Maryanus-Khâlid legend in the Arabic Middle Ages in:

- JULIUS RUSKA, (1924), "Arabische Alchemisten I, Chalid Ibn
Jazid Ibn Mu'awija", Heidelberg, pp. 5-22 and 50-52. [in German].
- JULIUS RUSKA, (1928), "Zwei Bücher De Compositione
Alchemiae und ihre Vorreden", in: «Archiv f. Gesch. d. Math.,
d. Naturw. u. d. Technik», nº 11 (N.F. 2), pp. 28-37. [in German].
- FUAT SEZGIN, (1971), "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums",
E. J. Brill, Leiden, t. IV, pp. 121-122. [in German].
- MANFRED ULLMANN, (1978), "Khâlid ibn Yazîd und die Alchemie:
Eine Legende", in «Der Islam», nº 40, pp. 181 sq, [in German].
- GEORGES C. ANAWATI, (1997), "L'alchimie arabe", in: Régis
Morelon (ed.), «Histoire des sciences arabes», t. III, pp. 111-141,
cf. p. 122. [in French].


Information about the "Liber compositione alchimiae" translated
from the Arabic into Latin:

- MANFRED ULLMANN, (1972), "Die Natur und Geheimwissenschaften
im Islam", Brill, Leiden, pp. 191-194 [in German]. It is a valuable source
because Ullmann found the original arabic text.

- RICHARD LEMAY, (1990-1991), "L'Authenticié de la Préface de
Robert de Chester à sa traduction de Morenius", in: «Chrysopoeia»,
4, pp. 3-32 [in French].

- DIDIER KAHN, (1990-1991), "Note sur deux manuscrits du Prologue
attribué à Robert de Chester", in: «Chrysopoeia», 4, pp. 33-34 [in French].

- J. TELLE, (1992), "Rosarium philosophorum. Ein alchemisches
Florilegium des Spämittelalters. Faksimile der illustrierten Erstausgabe
Frankfurt 1550", VCH, Weinheim, t. II, pp. 161-248 [in German].

- R. HALLEUX, (1996), "La réception de l'alchimie arabe en
Occident", in: Régis Morelon (ed.), «Histoire des sciences arabes»,
t. III, pp. 143-154, cf. pp. 146-147 [in French].

- S. GENTILE; C. GILLY, (1999), "Marsilio Ficino and the Return of
Hermes Trimegistus", Centro Di, Flocence, pp. 207-209 [in Italian
and English] It will be a short but useful "status quaestionis".

Grettings,

José Rodríguez

Subject: ACADEMY : Book on von Suchten
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Cis,

> We have this apparently unpublished thesis by Simone Koller,
> Alexander von Suchten, sein Leben, sein Werk (i.e. Chymische
> Schrifften, ed. 1680). It was a 'Lizentiatsarbeit der philosophischen
> Fakultät der Universität Zürich (1988), where copies may
> perhaps be had. 161 pages.

Thanks a lot! I will write to them and ask. I am especially
interested in the "Leben" part - but the fact that it is
a philosophical "Lizentiatsarbeit" does not seem promising
for my interests.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy conference in March
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18th January 2002


Here is a notice about the alchemy conference in Norwich
in March. I hope to attend this conference. The porgram sounds very
interesting wity a number of well known scholars


'THE RISING DAWN': THE CONTRIBUTION OF ALCHEMY
TO MEDIEVAL MEDICINE AND INTELLECTUAL LIFE

21-22 March 2002

Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine
University of East Anglia, Norwich
wellcome@uea.ac.uk

THURSDAY 21 MARCH 2002
ELIZABETH FRY BUILDING (Rm. 0.06)


9.00 COFFEE

9.15 Introduction: Roger Cooter
Jonathan Hughes, Alchemy and Late Medieval Kingship

10.00-11.30 Session One: Chair: Jonathan Hughes
Michael McVaugh, Teodorico Borgognoni and Thirteenth Century Surgery (to be confirmed)
Ms E R Truit, A trei poete, sage doctors, qui mout sorent di nigromance: Necromancy, Natural Philosophy, and Automata in Twelfth and Thirteenth Century Literature

11.30-12.00 COFFEE

12.00-13.30 Session Two: Chair: Sandy Heslop
Mike Bispham, The Practice of Ad Quadratum and Ad Triangulum Composition in Art and Architecture
Urzula Szulakowska, Geometry in Late Medieval Alchemy: the Rosarium Philosophorum and Pseudo-Lullian Alchemy

13.30-14.30 LUNCH

14.30-16.00 Session Three: Chair: Stephen Church
Linda Voigts, English Alchemical Interests in the Mid-Fifteenth Century
Peter Grund, 'ffor to make Azure as Albert biddes': Alchemical Writings in Middle English Attributed to Albertus Magnus

16.00-16.30 TEA

17.30 Coach to Great Hospital, Norwich

18.00-19.15 Tour of the Great Hospital, Norwich with Carole Rawcliffe

19.30 DINNER


FRIDAY 22 MARCH 2002
ELIZABETH FRY BUILDING (Rm 01.10)

9.15 COFFEE

Session Four: Chair: Sarah Salih
9.30-11.00 Stanton Linden, Alchemical Satire in George Ripley's Compound of Alchemy: The Chaucerian Legacy
George Keiser, 'As it is in the Picture': Two Traditions and Two Centuries of English Alchemical Illustration

11.00-11.30 COFFEE

11.30-13.00 Session Five: Chair: Carole Rawcliffe
P M Jones, Medical Practitioners and Alchemically Derived Remedies
Michael K. Jones, Thomas Forestier, 'Henry VII and a treatise on the Sweating Sickness (1485)'


13.00-14.00 LUNCH


14.00-15.30 Session Six: Chair: Vic Morgan
Stephen Clucas, John Dee and the Afterlife of Medieval Alchemy
Laurence Eldridge, The Place of Alchemy in the Intellectual World of Elias Ashmole

15.30-15.45 TEA

15.45-17.15 Session Seven: Chair: Colin Davis (to be confirmed)
Urs Leo Gantenbein, The Ars Hermetis of John of Fulda 1449
Michela Pereira, The State of Alchemical Research


Subject: ACADEMY : Book on von Suchten
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear José,

> Concerning Koller's work, I think there is a microfilm copy in
> Switzeland:
>
> - ALEXANDER VON SUCHTEN, (1988), "Alexandri von Suchten,
> Eines wahren Philosophi und der Artzneyen Doctoris
> Chymische Schriften", Rentsch Verlag, Dietlikon (Zürich).

Thank you very much. This seems to be another item - but maybe
it was just microfilmed under a different title. I have written
to Philosophical Faculty and we'll see what they say.

The reason I am trying to find it is my hope (now considerably
decreased as the book seems to be mainly an edition of the
treatises) that Koller may have found some new source information
that might helpt to determine von Suchten's date of death and thus
(possibly) definitively exclude the Suchten-Seton identification.

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Roth-Scholtz's portraits of alchemists
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

I have asked about these portraits some time ago but thought
it would be better to put them on the Web to show which
pictures I mean. So they are now at:

http://hum.amu.edu.pl/~rafalp/HERM/ROTH-SCHOLTZ/roth-scholtz.htm

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Help in identifying an illustration

X-Attachments: C:\My Photos\Lacinius1.jpg;

From: Adam McLean
Date: 20 Jan 2002
There is an illustration on page 36 of Alexander Roob's
book, The Hermetic Museum, Taschen 1997.


Roob labels this as Janus Lacinius, Pretiosa Margarita
Novella, 1577 -1583, presumably a late 16th century
manuscript of this early alchemical work. There is no
information given on the location of this manuscript.

I attach a scan to this email in the hope that someone
might have seen this item (or another copy of this
illustration). I would really like to locate the manuscript
and see if there are any other illustrations in this. There
seem to be resonances with some of the imagery on
the Ripley Scroll, which I am working on at present.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Maryanus
From: Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002

In addition to Mr. Rodriguez's account about Maryanus issue:

- Reitzenstein, Richard. "Alchemistische Lehrschriften und
Märchen bei den Arabern". Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche
und Vorarbeiten, (Giessen), XIX 2, (1923), SS. 63-86.

Very informative, pointing out, from a philological standpoint,
to various appearances of Marianus-Chalid legend throughout
Middle-East literature, (even India). If anyone is interested I can
provide more detailed information.

(A paraphrase of a part of Reitzenstein's detailed article :
The story begins, of course, with Hermes, who wrote a book,
containing all parts of "philosophy', (artistry of making gold),
which he left to his pupils.
After a long time, a man from Alexandria, named Adfur, or Afdur,
found this book of Hermes, gained the knowledge, and gave a lot
of commentaries. His fame reached the city of Rome, where
Marianus lived, who immediately left for Alexandria, where
Adfur/Afdur, at that time very old, had taught Marianus all secrets
of the Art. Adfur died and, after that, Marianus left for Jerusalem,
in fact, to a nearby desert.
In those times, the king of Egypt was Mu'awija, who had a son
Yazid, and this one's son was Chalid, or Calid. Chalid was deeply
involved with "philosophy", and called many wise men from all
countries to help him understand the secrets of Hermes' Book.
In the desert, Marianus himself heard about all this, and decided
to teach the king, and left for Alexandria, where he performed the
Great Work, and had taught Chalid everything. After that, he went
back to the desert.
There is also the story of Chalid searching for Marianus, after he
heard of him, but with the same point, of Chalid gaining the
knowledge of the Great Art from Marianus.)

Another valuable, scrupulous and detailed, source for this issue
is Julius Ruska's book about Tabula Smaragdina, which was
not mentioned by Jose Rodriguez :

- Julius Ruska, Tabula Smaragdina, Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der
Hermetischen Literatur, Heidelberg 1926.

Here it is Marianos, (or Marjas der Monch), and Chalid Ibn Jazid,
(sometimes - Haled).

Greetings
Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic

Subject: ACADEMY : Question about Israel Hiebner
From: Anna Marie Roos
Date: 23 Jan 2002

I wonder if anyone has any information (whether primary source
listings or secondary sources) about Israel Hiebner. I am writing an
article on his Mysterium Sigillorum and its transmission to England in
1698, but I've been able to find little biographical information about him,
other than what is in the Latin dedications at the beginning of his tract.

Any directions or suggestions would be much appreciated.


Israel HIEBNER von SCHNEEBERG.
Mysterium sigillorum, herbarum & lapidum; oder, Vollkommene
Cur und Heilung aller Kranckheiten Schäden und Liebes- auch
Gemüths-Beschwerungen durch underschiedliche Mittel ohne
Einnehmung der Artzney.
[Erffurdt]: in verlegung Johann Birckners. 1651.

Israel HIEBNER von SCHNEEBERG.
Mysterium Sigillorum, Herbarum & Lapidum. Oder: Vollkommene
Cur und Heilung aller Kranckheiten Schäden und Liebes- auch
Gemüths-Beschwerungen durch unterschiedliche Mittel ohne
Einnehmung der Artzeney. in 4 Classen ordentlich abgetheilet,...
Erffurdt: in verlegung Johann Caspar Birckners Buchhändlers,
1696.


Israel HIEBNER von SCHNEEBERG.
Mysterium sigillorum, herbarum & lapidum. Containing a
compleat cure of all sicknesses and diseases of mind and body
by means of the influences of the seven planets. Written originally
in Saxon, now translated into English for B. Clayton.
London: W. Downing, 1698.


Thank you!

Anna Marie Roos, Ph.D.

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy resources in Rome
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002
From: Jon Gilbert

I have just moved to Rome to study here and I am wondering
what are some interesting resources for the study of alchemy
in this area? Libraries, architectural works, etc.

Grazie,

Jonathan S. Gilbert

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy resources in Rome
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002

Dear Jon,

When you have seen the Porta Magica from 1680 in Piazza Vittorio
Emanuele you could perhaps contact Anna Maria Partini, a private
scholar who knows a lot of alchemy including where manuscript
can be found. She has edited texts for the Mediterrané publishers
that you can look up, if they still are around, it was ten years ago
that I met her and opened the world of Roman alchemy for me.
She then lived in the Via Archimede.

The Eyptian guardian of the underground, Bes, flanking the
Porta was put there in 1888, but there are real antique statutes of
Bes in the Farnesina museeum.

I also suggest you go to the Vatican library and look at Queen
Christina's ms. copy in French of "Veritas Hermetica veritati
quearenti seu de differentia inter Chymicam nostri temporis et
antiquam" (Ms. Reg. Lat. 1218). On Adam's list you have the rest
of the callnumbers of alchemy in the Vatican. the Reginense latini
numbers are from Christina's library. I am on my way to Rome
also to check things out in the collection, such as her mss. of
Joachim di Fiori, perhaps in the late spring. The Vatican often
asks for proof of scholarly status, I got recommendation from
the Swedish Institute in Rome and you can perhaps ask
someone you know for an introductory letter.

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy resources in Rome
From: Eve Sinaiko
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002

I have been told that the library of the Accademia dei Lincei
contains a collection of alchemical manuscripts. The
Accademia itself has connections with the history of alchemy,
I believe. Someone else may know more, but wasn't the academy
itself founded by the circle of Queen Christina? In any case, it is
a wonderful old library, the oldest in Rome, and I think open
to the public by appointment. It is housed in the Palazzo Farnesina.

Eve S.

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy resources in Rome
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002

Dear Eve,

The Accademia Lincei is much older, but it was housed in the house
of four seasons just in front of Christina's Palazzo Riario nearby
Trastevere. Christina held a series of scientific and cultural
academies in her palace, her Accademia Reale was held in the
palace that now has been converted to a musaeum of paintings.
This her own academy was staged briefly in the Palazzo Farnese
in her first year in Rome, 1656, and was organized by the alchemical
poet Santinelli. It was revived in 1674 to be held for a number of
years in her own Palazzo Riario. Giovanni Ciampini's Accademia
dell'Esperienze, also called Accademia fisico-mathematico, met
in her palace for the first time in 1677. She was protectress of the
Accademia degli Stravaganti in Collegio Clementina from 1678
and in Orvieto for the Accademia dei Misti. Very soon after her
death she was chosen symbolical figurehead, Basilissa (queen
and empress in greek) by the poets that formed the Accademia
d'Arcadia after her death in 1689.

Apparently there once were eighteen volumes of proceedings
for the Accademia Reale, placed in the Biblioteca Albani . Only
one volume has been identified, now Cod. Ottoboni 1744,
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.

For more info see Cesare D'Onofrio, Rom val bene un'abiura:
Storia romana tra Cristina di Svezia, Piazza del popolo e
l'Accademia d'Arcadia. Fratello Palombi, Rome 1976.
The Arcadia academy gave new names to its poet members
to mark out their fictional status as reborn pastors and shepherds,
a kind of Christian esotericism. The Arcadians were founded
by twelve poets/shepherds gathering in front of her grave.

If you want to be further mystified click on this link
http://www.consciousevolution.com/rennes/curious.htm

Susanna


Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

This is something I have always wondered about: Many
transmutation stories involve the presence of a goldsmith
who certifies that the result is genuine gold "of the best quality".
Also, in those times the ability to tell gold from non-gold
was crucial for merchants, bankers and craftsmen, not to
mention princes and kings. How did they do that? I know there
were touchstones - but how it worked in practice?

I also find it interesting that transmutation stories
seem to appear suddenly and in great numbers only
at the turn of the 16th and 17th c. Are there any such
stories known from the Middle Ages? (Flamel's story is now
considered to be made up in the early 17th c.).

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
From: William S. Aronstein
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002

Dear Rafal,

Your perceptive questions illustrate that it may be just as important
to examine the development of Renaissance alchemy in
Europe within the context of what we now call chemistry, as within
the context of hermetic philosophy.

There are a number of chemical and metallugical tests for gold --
one could assay a questionable metal by noting its apparent
melting point, for example, or by taking advantage of the fact
that gold is relatively non-reactive with many substances that will
react with other metals.

Another example of such a test would be the way Archimedes
used the specific gravity of gold to demonstrate a purportedly
golden object's corruption with an alloyed metal. By the way, these
chemical and metallurgical tests for gold are just as important today,
and not only for those who seek to create transmuted gold, but
for all of those who buy and sell gold for practical uses.

Lawrence Principe, who is a practicing chemist as well as a
practicing historian of science, has incorporated a chemical
understanding in his work on Boyle. William Newman has also
placed George Starkey in the context of contemporary chemistry.
Note that the two terms, "chemistry" and "alchemy" were
probably not completely separated until roughly 1675.

Best regards,

William S. Aronstein

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemical commentaries on Boccalini's 'General Reformation'
From: Leigh Penman
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002

A.E. Waite mentions, in a couple of his works, the existence of
alchemical interpretations/commentaries upon the content of
the Boccalini portion published with some editions of the
Rosicrucian Fama and Confessio.

I have been unable to locate any such commentaries. (I may be
at a disadvantage, not having yet consulted Gilly's Cimelia
Rhodostaurotica.) Was this a false reference based on a
bibliographical abberation of his predecessors, or some
works that Waite actually saw? I am aware that Waite
researched his histories of Rosy Cross almost exclusively in
London libraries, so my feeling is oriented toward the first option.
Can anyone shed any light on the matter?

Kindest regards,
Leigh.

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemical commentaries on Boccalini's 'General Reformation'
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002

Dear Leigh Penman,

Gilly in his new edition of the Cimelia Rhodostaurotica (originally
published 1995) p. 68 says that Christoph Besold five years after
the publication of the Fama and Boccalini's text in 1614 said that
people have believed that there were mysteries and chemical
interpretations of the text on the general reformation of the whole
wide world, but that Besold thought (knew?) them wrong.

Gilly also includes p. 185 William Vaughan's publication of
Boccalini as the _New Found Politicke. Disclosing the secret
natures and dispositions as well of private persons as of statemen
and courtiers_ (London 1626) including the seventeenth chapter
on the Reformation of the whole wide world. Gilly also refers
to the Dutch dissertation by Harald Hendrix, _Traiano Boccalini,
fra erudizione e polemica._ (s. l. 1993), showing that the
translator of the Boccalino tract was not Besold but Wilhelm
Bidenbach, friend of Tobias Adami.

Gilly's new edition of the Cimelia contains new material and
I believe it is still available through the BPH.

I conclude that there must be chemical interpretations around.

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy resources in Rome
From: Eve Sinaiko
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002

Thank you, Susanna,

I have always been fascinated by the Porta Magica of Rome.
I think the original fragments have been moved to a museum
and the door that stands in Piazza Vittorio is a cast.

Does the present library of the Accademia dei Lincei contain
alchemical texts? I was under the impression that it did. For a
researcher interested in Rome, I expect the Vatican Libraries
also have alchemical texts among their vast holdings.

On a lighter note, the visitor to Rome with a taste for arcana
may wish to consult two books published by Newton Compton:
Storie e Luoghi Segreti di Roma and Le Curiosita' di Roma.
These are collections of anecdotes, rumors, and legends, in
no way scientific or trustworthy, but great fun.

Regards,
Eve

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002
From: Eugene Beshenkovsky

Dear Rafal,

Wolfgang Hildebrands Magia Naturalis Book 4. Chapter 2.

Naturlich Gold vom Alchymistischen zu erkennen.

Best regards,

Eugene Beshenkovsky

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke


Dear William,

> There are a number of chemical and metallugical tests for gold --
> one could assay a questionable metal by noting its apparent
> melting point, for example,

Well, the melting point test would not be available to the alchemists
as there was no way of measuring temperature to a reasonable
degree before Fahrenheit invented the thermometer (1709).

> or by taking advantage of the fact
> that gold is relatively non-reactive with many substances that will
> react with other metals.

Aqua regia was known apparently as early as 1100, but was it
used on a wide scale by goldsmiths and bankers to test gold?

> Lawrence Principe, who is a practicing chemist as well as a
> practicing historian of science, has incorporated a chemical
> understanding in his work on Boyle. William Newman has also
> placed George Starkey in the context of contemporary chemistry.

But consider the following quotation from the famous description
of Seton's transmutation by Dienheim (1603):

We found not a vestige of lead remaining, only the finest
gold which, in the opinion of the goldsmith, was of a quality
better even than the excellent Hungarian and Arabian gold.

It was the goldsmith who was the authority to them - but how
would he test the gold? Maybe he would just hammer it and
"feel" its malleability and ductility? Craftsmen certainly can
tell the quality of the materials they are working with - and
without using any scientific measurements.

I am not sure how touchstone works - would it be possible to
"cheat" it with an alloy or gilded piece of some other metal?

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Question about Israel Hiebner
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: 28th Jan 2002

Dear Anna Marie,

I don't know anything about Hiebner, but I see that the first part
of his Mysterium Sigillorum is devoted to astrological influences
in herbal medicine - a subject popularised by Bartholomaeus
Carrichter, the 'Kräuterdoktor' resident at the imperial court of
Maximillian II, who described various herbal cures as well as the
Zodiac signs under which their healing powers thrive in his
Kräutterbuch des Edelen und Hochgelehrten Herzen Doctoris
Bartholomei Carrichters. Straßburg: Antony Bertram, 1609.

Michael Maier also believed that the gathering of medicinal
herbs according to certain constellations may provide cures
for dangerous diseases, just as the mysterious Rosicrucian
brother claimed in Georg Molther's De quodam peregrino, qui
anno superiore MDCXV imperialem Wetzflariam transiens...
Frankfurt am Main: Johann Bringer, 1616.

Perhaps this would be a good subject for another academy
thread; in any case, a quick look in my favourite meta-databank,
Gateway Bayern (http://gateway-bayern.bib-bvb.de) gives the
following results for Hiebner's works:

Geburts-Minut. Oder Der Edlen Astrologischen Kunst/ Erster Theil.
Das ist/ New erfunden- Ewigwerender Calender und
General-Uhrwerck/ So durch die gantze Welt zugebrauchen.:
In welchem 1. der Monat/ Tag/ die Stund und Minut ... gezeiget
wird ...
Hiebner, Israel; Messt, Gabriel von (Widm.empf.);
Feyerabend, Marx (Widm.empf.). Bitterholt ; Nuernberg, 1645

Geursachte Apologia und Schutzrede Israel Hiebners von
Schneeberg [et]c.
Hiebner, Israel. Leipzig, 1653

Prognosticon oder Practica auff das Jahr ... 1647
Hiebner, Israel (Hrsg.). Lueneburg, 1646

Jsrael Hiebners Prognosticon Auff dasz voellig geniesend-
und empfindliche FriedensJahr nach der Geburth unsers
Heylandes Jesu Christi. M.DC.LI: Welches ist das Dritte
nach dem Friedenschluss ...
Hiebner, Israel; Hertz, Georg (Drucker u. Verl.). Erfurt, 1650

Israel Hiebners Prognosticon
Hiebner, Israel. Erffurdt, 1652

Israel Hiebners Prognosticon Auff das Jahr ... M.DC.LVII.
Hiebner, Israel. Lintz, [1656]

Mysterium sigillorum, herbarum & lapidum : oder Vollkommene
Cur und Heilung aller Kranckheiten, Schäden und Leibes-
auch Gemüths- Beschwerungen durch, underschiedliche
Mittel ohne Einnehmung der Artzney : In 4 Classen ordentlich
abgetheilet Alsz I : Erste Cur und Heilung durch die
himmlische Influentz mit Hülff der Kräuter und Wurtzeln :
II. Zweydte Cur und Heilung durch die himmlische Influentz
aus den Metallen und Steinen mit Hülff der 7. Sigillen : III. Dritte
und zwar Summarische völlige Cur und Heilung durch die
Zusammensetzung der 7. Metallen und Sigillen : IV. Vierdte
Cur und Heilung aller Menschlichen Laster und Gebrechen ... :
Mit beygefügten Figuren und Kupfferstücken, auch gantzem
Grund dieses Astronomisch und himlischen Processus /
Hiebnern von Schneebergk, Israel. Erfurt, 1651

Israel Hiebners Mysterium Sigillorum, Herbarum & Lapidum Continuatio
Hiebner, Israel. Leipzig, 1653

Mysterium sigillorum, herbarum et lapidum
Hiebner, Israel. [Erfurt], 1696

Mysterium sigillorum, herbarum et lapidum. Containing a
compleat cure of all sicknesses and diseases of mind and
body, by means of the influences of the seven planets. Adorned
with copper plates & figures, shewing the foundation of this
astronomical and coelestial science / Hiebner, Israel, fl. London,
1698

Mysterium sigillorum, herbarum et lapidum
Hiebner, Israel. [Erfurt], 1731

Mysterium sigillorum, herbarum et lapidum
Hiebner, Israel. Frankfurt u.a., 1735

Mysterium sigillorum, herbarum et lapidum oder vollkommenes
Geheimniss dero Sigillen, Kraeuter und Steine in der Cur und
Heilung aller Kranckheiten ...
Hiebner, Israel. Franckfurt ; Leipzig, 1735

Mysterium sigellorum, herbarum & lapidum oder vollkommenes
Geheimniss deren Sigillen, Kraeuter und Steine ...
Hiebner, Israel. Franckfurt & Leipzig, 1737

Practica Reformata. Oder Rechtfundirter Astrologischer Tractat.
Das ist: Newgegruendete Verkuendigung aller und jeden
Zufaelle/ so wol an Gewitter als andern Welthaendeln/ Hoch-und
nidrige Stands-Personen betreffende. ; auff das Jahr ... M.DC.XXXXIX.
und 1650
Hiebner, Israel; Humm, Anton (Drucker). Frankfurt, Main, 1648

Practicum Reformatam, Oder Rechtfundirter Astrologischer
Tractat, Das ist: Newgegründete Verkündigung aller und jeden
Zufälle/ so wol an Gewitter als andern Welthändeln/ Hoch-und
nidrige Stands-Personen betreffende
Hiebner Israel. Frankfurt 1650

Alter und newer Schreib-Calender auff das Jahr ... 1647
Hiebner, Israel. Nuernberg, 1647

Nürmbergischer alt und new Schreib-Calender
Hiebner Israel. Erffurdt 1652

Israel Hiebern's Quadrant und Handgriff aller mathematischen
Kuenste
Hiebner, Israel. (S.l.), 1650

Ianvs Bifrons Sev Specvlvm Physico-Politicvm Das ist
Natvrlicher (!) Regenten-Spiegel
Weber, Johannes; Hiebner, Israel (Ill.); Mokrai, Matthias
Franciscus (Beitr.). Levoca, 1662

Astrologisches Praeludium eines biß unter die Preß
ausgearbeiten Hauptwercks oder Eingang der gründliche
Ursachen warumb das Calender-schreiben ... bishero in
despect gerathen ...
Hiebner Israel. Leipzig 1653

Israel Hiebners Astronomisches Praeludium oder Eingang
zu der 7. Planeten Grund-Rechnung ...
Hiebner Israel. Leipzig 1653

Israel Hiebners astrologischer Reichs-Calender auff das
wunderbare MDCLVI Jahr nach Christi Geburt ...
Hiebner Israel. Leipzig 1655

Newer Astrologischer Post-Reuter und kurtze Verfassung
der vornemsten und beruehmtesten Astronomorum und
deroselben Prognostication auf 1647. Darinnen nach
Anleitung deß Gestirneten Himmels und dessen Figuren
Unpartheiisch referiret wird, was nechst der Allmacht deß
Allerhoechsten GOttes auß der Constitution und
Beschaffenheit der Planeten sich sonderlichen Frieds und
Unfrieds halber zutragen moechte
Werve Hermannus de. 1647

Almanach på thet åhr effter Jesu Christi födelse 1654.
Hiebner, Israel. [Göteborg], [1653]

Influentz Lunae Et Saturni. Oder Eigentliche Beschreibung
und Calculus
Hiebner, Israel 1644 oder 1645.

Glueckwuenschung Auff Deß Edlen/ Vesten und Manhafften
Herrn/ Bartholomeen Mutschers Churfuerstl. Durchl. in Baeyern
deß loebl. Creutzischen Tragoner-Regiments unter der
Haselbeckischen Compagnia Wolbestalten Leutenants/ Als
Braeutigam. So wol Der ... Annen als Braut. Hochzeitfest
Hiebner, Israel 1646.

Prodromus Oder Vorlauffer Redassiones Oder Verantwortung
und Ehrenrettung Hermanni de VVerve Astronomi, Auff Israel
Hiebners von Schneeberg.
Werve, Hermann de 1653.

Cheers

Hereward Tilton

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy resources in Rome
From: Michal Pober
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002

Eve Sinaiko wrote,

>I expect the Vatican Libraries
>also have alchemical texts among their vast holdings.

Absolutely!
Stanislas Klossowski de Rola refers with great enthusiasm
to his studies in the Vatican.
Perhaps we'll hear from him about this and in general in
reference to this thread?

Best Regards,

Michal Pober

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002
From: David Porreca

Deal All,

Possibly the easiest way of recognizing real gold which
would have been available to Medieval people is by
weight. If you have a piece of real gold of a certain definite
size, you can place it on scales and compare it to any
other sample of the same size. If the weights are different,
the sample is inauthentic, due to the different atomic weights
of the elements. It may, however, be possible to cheat this
method by alloying specific proportions of lead (heavier
than gold) and a lighter element to the gold.

David Porreca.

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
From: Adam McLean
Date: 28th Jan 2002

William Newman indicates in his Ph.D. thesis of 1986,
that the Summa Perfectionis gives the most complete
description of assaying techniques written before the
sixteenth century.


Newman, William Royall
The Summa Perfectionis and late medieval alchemy: A study of
chemical traditions, techniques, and theories in thirteenth
century italy. (volumes i - iv)
Order No: AAC 8620516 ProQuest - Dissertation Abstracts
School: HARVARD UNIVERSITY (0084) Degree: PHD Date: 1986 pp: 1398
Source: DAI-A 47/06, p. 2294, Dec 1986
Subject: HISTORY OF SCIENCE (0585)
Abstract: The centerpiece of my thesis is the Summa perfectionis
traditionally ascribed to "Geber" (the quasi-mythical Islamic
alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan). The importance of this text has long
been acknowledged: George Sarton, for example, referred to it
as "the main chemical text-book of medieval Christendom"
(Introduction to the History of Science, II, 1043). Among the Summa's
contributions may be numbered a full-blown corpuscular theory
of matter, the first thorough description of chemical apparatus
in the Latin West, and the most complete description of assaying
techniques written before the sixteenth century: these topics are
all analyzed in my thesis......

Subject: ACADEMY : Question about Israel Hiebner
From: Anna Marie Roos
Date: 28 Jan 2002

Dear Hereward Tilton,

Thank you so very much for all the helpful citations about Hiebner.
The first part of the Mysterium is indeed all about herbs, the proper
astronomical times to cut them (with particular shears made out of the
planet's alchemical metal), and some very detailed tables of the
ascendants.

I greatly appreciate your help with my query.

Cheers!

Anna Marie Roos, Ph.D.

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
From: William S. Aronstein
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002

Dear Rafal,

Thank you for your kind note. I regret that I do not yet have
ready for you an authoritative reference on metallurgical
tests for the purity of gold in the middle ages, however I am
still looking.

Let me just expand a little very briefly on a couple of points,
however.

Althought you are correct about the thermometer:

> Well, the melting point test would not be available to the alchemists
> as there was no way of measuring temperature to a reasonable
> degree before Fahrenheit invented the thermometer (1709).

the melting point of a questioned sample could be directly
compared with the melting points of a variety of standard samples
whose composition was known to the assayer.

In addition, the process of cupellation is a technique of
purification that involved melting the gold or alloy and
successively burning off, as it were, any impurities present.

> I am not sure how touchstone works - would it be possible to
> "cheat" it with an alloy or gilded piece of some other metal?

A touchstone is just a white, unglazed cermic tile. One scratches
it with the gold in question. If it is gold, the mark will be golden
yellow. If the sample is "fool's gold," or iron pyrities, the mark
is greenish or blackish. I am not sure if the touchstone technique
would have been able, in skilled hands, to differentiate between
pure gold and a gold alloy containing copper or silver, or lead
or tin. Certainly since the touchstone only examines the most
superficial layer of the gold that touches it, a gold-plated object
would "fool" it.

Sincerely,

William S. Aronstein

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
From: Joern Sesterhenn
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002


Dear David Porreca,

Sorry, but the density of lead (Pb) is 11.34 g/cm^3 whereas that of
gold is 19.3g/cm^3. Consult any encylopedia for that.

Joern Sesterhenn



> Possibly the easiest way of recognizing real gold which
> would have been available to Medieval people is by
> weight. If you have a piece of real gold of a certain definite
> size, you can place it on scales and compare it to any
> other sample of the same size. If the weights are different,
> the sample is inauthentic, due to the different atomic weights
> of the elements. It may, however, be possible to cheat this
> method by alloying specific proportions of lead (heavier
> than gold) and a lighter element to the gold.
>
> David Porreca.

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
From: Giuseppe de Nicolellis
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002

Dear Rafal,

The goldsmiths tested gold ingots using 'purification methods' on them. A
gold "of the best quality" was a gold without any loss of weight after a
'purification'. By the way, it seems that some transmutation gold tested
using those methods even "increased" its weight (Helvetius, for example).

So I am enclosing the four purifications methods of Glaser.

Best regards,
Giuseppe de Nicolellis

===========================================================

From "The Complete Chemist" (Christopher Glaser, 1677, the english version
licensed by Roger L'Estrange: original punctuation and capitalization)

1. The Purification of Gold by the Cupple.
Take a good Cupple made of Sheep's-bones calcin'd, or of common Ashes
wash'd, and deprived of their Alkali Salt. Put the same into a little
Furnace, and cover it with a Muffle or Trie. Then make a fire round about,
and over it, but moderate the fire in the beginning, that the Cupple may
heat by degrees, and not crack. When 'tis becom red, if you have an ounce of
Gold to Cupple, put into the Cupple four ounces of Lead, leave it alone in
Fusion for some time, that the Cupple may imbibe some of it. Then put your
Gold to it, and it will melt instantly amidst the Lead, though otherwise of
very difficult Fusion. This done, continue the fire, and blow incessantly
upon the matter; the Lead will by little and little enter like Grease into
the pores of the Cuppel,(which, for this intent, is made of porous matter,)
and carry with it the other imperfect Metals mixt with the Gold, which will
become pure within the Cupple, and of an high colour, except the Gold be
mixt with some portion of Silver, which resists the action of the Lead as
well as the Gold; in which case you must have recourse to Aqua-fortis, or
Antimony.

2. The Purification of Gold by Cementation
Reduce your Gold into plates of the thickness of the back of a knife, and
cut them into round or square pieces, so that they may lye flat in the
Crucible. Then take Cement prepared of four ounces of powder of Brick, an
ounce of Salt-Armoniac, an ounce of Salt-Gemme, and an ounce of common
Salt; all well powdered, and mixt together, and reduc'd into a dry Paste
with a little Urine. Lay a Bed of this Cement in the bottom of a Crucible,
proportionable to the matter, and so continue to lay Bed upon Bed,
intermixt of plates and Cement, layer upon layer, or course upon course,
(called stratum super stratum,) till the Crucible be full. The fisrt and
last layer must always be Cement, to the end the plates may be involv'd and
covered with it. Cover the Crucible with a fit covering, having an hole in
the middle; and then place it thus luted in a circular fire (or ignis
rotae) for the space of three hours, during which the hole of the cover
must be left open, that the moisture of the Cement may evaporate. After
this, lute up the hole likewise. The fire must be moderate in the
beginning, then augmented by degrees, and continued during 8 or 9 hours, in
such sort, that the two last hours the Crucible be covered over with
charcoal. Then let it cool. Opening the Crucible, you will find the plates
diminsht in weight, because the Cement has corroded and destroyed all that
was mixt with the Gold. Wash tese plates well, and having put them into a
Crucible, make a fire of Fusion, with a little Tartar and Saltpeter; and so
you shall reduce them into an Ingot.

3. The Purification of Gold by Aqua-fortis
Take one part of Gold, and three or four parts of refined Silver; melt them
together in a Crucible; then pour them into a deep Copper-Vessel full of
water; and you shall find the Gold and Silver mixt in the form of small
grains, (which is that they call Granulation.) Dry the grains, put them
into a Matrass, and pour upon them a triple quantity of good Aqua-fortis
made of Saltpeter and Vitriol. Place the Matrass in a Furnace of Sand, till
the Aqua-fortis have dissolved all the Silver; which is known when the
matter sends forth no more red fumes, and the Gold lies in the bottom of
the Matrass in a black powder. Then pour off the Liquor (which contains in
it all the Silver) into an earthen Vessel full of common water; and upon the
black powder of Gold pour a little new Aqua-fortis, and replace the Matrass
upon the hot Sand, to the end that if any Silver yer remain, it may be
dissolv'd and separated this second time. Pour this second Dissolution to
the first, and keep them. In the mean time edulcorate the Calx of Gold with
water, then dry it, and make it red gently in a Crucible. You shall have a
powder of a very high colour, which you may reduce into an Ingot by melting
it with a little Borax. The Silver dissolv'd in the Aqua-fortis, and poured
into the Vessel of water, precipitates, and separates it self from its
Dissolvent, by putting a plate of Copper into it; the Spirits of the
Aqua-fortis immediately leaving the Silver to fasten on the Copper, which
they dissolve; and during the Dissolution, the Silver precipitates it self.
The reason of this is, because the Copper being less compact, and more
earthy than the Silver, is easily penetrated by that corrosive Spirit,
which impetuously falling upon this morsel, as agreeable to its appetite, it
quits its first hold, and takes up to the Copper which it last met with, and
devours as much of it as it can retain. This blue water impregnated with
Copper, must be pour'd off by inclination, and kept in an earthen Vessel;
'tis called the second water, and Chirurgeons use it for Cancers, and other
outward Ulcers. The Silver is found in the bottom. It must be wash'd, dry'd,
and kept (if you please) in form of a Calx, or else reduc'd into an Ingot
in a Crucible, with a little Salt of Tartar. But if into this second water,
which is properly a Solution of Copper, you put a body more earthy and
porous than Copper, as Iron is, the Copper precipitates, and the Corrosive
Spirits of the Aqua-fortis fasten to the substance of Iron; which may
likewise be precipitated by some Mineral more earthy and porous than Iron,
as Lapis Calaminaris and Zink. Lastly, if you pour into this Liquor charg'd
with these Substances some of the Liquor of fix'd Nitre, drop by drop, this
latter will destroy the acidity of the Aqua-fortis, and precipitate those
Minerals. Note, that if you evaporate and crystailize the Liquor, you will
draw from it very good Saltpeter, reincorporated with its fixt Salt, from
which those Spirits at first were distilled.
These last Experiments might seem impertinent to this Chapter on Gold. But
our desire to instruct the Curious, made us take occasion to mention them
from the Purifying of that Metal by Aqua-fortis. And they are not unuseful
to open the way to other more considerable.

4. The Purification of Gold by Antimony
This is the best way of all; for Lead carries away only the imperfect
Metals, but leaves Silver join'd with Gold. Cement often-times leaves the
Gold impure, and consumes some part of it. Aqua-fortis is not always a
certain trial of the pureness of Gold: for sometimes it happens that Gold
having been mixt with some sulphureous matters, their odour involves some of
the Silver which had been put to the Gold, to cleanse it by Aqua-fortis,
which Silver falls down, and is precipitated with the Gold at the parting,
thereby giving surprising and short joys to the unskilful, who are apt to
think presently they have found out the way to encrease Gold; but upon
further examination they find their expectation deceived. On the other side,
you may be certain, that Gold which hath past the trial by Antimony is
throughly purged, and freed from all mixture. For nothing but Gold is able
to resist that devouring Wolf.
Take therefore an ounce of Gold, such as the Goldsmiths use; put it into a
Crucible amongst burning-coals in a wind-Furnace, and when it is very red,
put to it by little and little four ounces of good Antimony in powder,
which will melt immediately, and at the same time devour the Gold, (which
otherwise is of very difficult Fusion, by reason of its most exact
composition;) when the whole is melted like water, and the matter sparkles,
'tis a sign that the Antimony is at work upon the impurities of the Gold.
Wherefore leave it a little upon the fire; then cast it nimbly into an
Iron-Crucible, which has been to that end before heated, and smear'd with a
little Oil. When the matter is pour'd in, strike the Crucible with the
Tongs, to make the Regulus descend to the bottom. After 'tis a little
cool'd, separate the Regulus from the dross. Weigh it, and put it to melt
in a good large Crucible, adding to it by little and little double its
weight of Saltpeter; then cover the Crucible; so that the coals get not into
it, and giving a quick fire, the Saltpeter consumes all that remain'd of
the Antimony with the Gold; and the Gold settles at the bottom of a most
beautiful colour, and pure. You may put it into a Crucible hot as it is, or
else let the Crucible cool, and then break it to separate the Ingot from the
Salts. This manner of purifying the Regulus of Gold is not common and
ordinary, but preferable before the rest, because done speedily; but 'tis
practised only in a small quantity. The common fashion is, to put the Gold
in a flat Crucible upon a melting fire, and blow continually till the
Antimonial part be exhaled. This not only requires time, but exposes you to
the hurtful exhalations of the Antimony which 'tis always good to avoid.

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
From: Eve Sinaiko
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002


Perhaps it was the lack of a sound method for identifying the
relative purity of gold that gave rise to the need for a figure such
as the alchemist, whose powers to discern purity were represented
as semi-magical and hidden from laymen. In a world in which
every local government minted its own coins, and the average
merchant or traveler might have to buy and sell in 10 or 15
currencies, gold had particular value in commerce as an
international financial standard. So its purity or adulturation in
coinage was a serious problem.

A good book that spends some time discussing the problem of
mixed and debased coinage in medieval Europe and the use of
the gold standard is Favier's "Gold and Spices: The Rise of
Commerce in the Middle Ages" (originally published in French).
As far as I recall it does not discuss alchemy per se, but makes
clear how difficult it was to detect adulterated coinage, and how
great an impact that had on commerce and on government
treasuries. One can thus imagine that the alchemist, in addition to
being a representation of the soul's spiritual quest and an early
form of practical chemist, was also a valued expert in certifying
the purity of coinage.

Regards,
Eve Sinaiko

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
From: N J Mann
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002

Dear Rafal,

Many alchemical texts refer to the difference between the vulgar
form of an element and its alchemical form, including gold, which
is sometimes referred to as being, among other things, softer than
the vulgar variety (does this mean purer? mercury amalgam?).

Was the alchemical form of a material seen as being more refined
in freedom from admixture or more refined in its 'internal constitution'?
Is it valid to approach the question in modern chemical terms of
elements and purity?

Do the names correspond: to what extent is alchemical mercury
linked to Hg, element No. 80 of the periodic table? Is alchemical gold
just Au, No. 79?

Would the tests of a vulgar metallurgist or goldsmith be adequate
to assay alchemical gold? And, as you suggest, if their tests were
satisfied, would (should?) further tests show any difference?

Yours ever,

Neil Mann

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
From: Frank van Lamoen
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002

Dear Rafal,

A useful article on this matter is:

Robert Halleux, 'L'alchimiste et l'essayeur'. In: Die Alchemie
in der europaeischen Kultur- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte.
Ed. C. Meinel. Wiesbaden 1986, pp. 277-291.

Best regards,

Frank van Lamoen

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Dear All,

Great many thanks to all who posted replies to my question.

So it appears that "fooling" a goldsmith would not be
easy - after all, had it been easy, it would have been
quite common. It seems, therefore, that unless
the alchemist of the transmutation stories (typically
not touching anything) cooperated with one of those
present (especially the goldsmith), those stories would
be quite difficult to explain in terms of modern chemistry.
I have read some such "explanations" which sounded rather
naive.

The Dienheim's account of Seton's transmutation somehow
reminds me of scenes in gangster movies when they bring
in a chemist to check the quality of heroin :-)

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Italian edition of Schweighardt's 'Speculum Sophicum'
From: Leigh Penman
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002

Firstly, thanks for your thoughts on alchemical commentaries
upon the _General Reformation_, Susanna Akerman. I enjoyed
your book on Rosicrucianism in Northern Europe immensely. My
dad recently received Gilly's _Cimelia Rhodostaurotica_ from
the BPH and I look forward to examining it when I next visit him.

While on the subject of the literature of the Rosicrucian furore, I
recently noticed a new Italian translation of Schweighardt's
_Speculum Sophicum Rhodostauroticum_:

Theophilus Schweighardt _Lo Specchio della Sapienza
Rosacrociana_ Arkeios: 2001.
Introduction & notes by Manuel Insolera.

I live far from Italy (unfortunately!) so must ask if anyone has
had the privilege of examining this work? Is it a serviceable/reliable
translation? I am particularly interested in the quality of Manuel
Insolera's introduction and commentary.

Regards to all,
Leigh.

Subject: ACADEMY : Recognising gold
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002

Regarding alchemists and 'gold'-making, I seem to recall reading
that Hessen-Kassel had quite a problem with inflation in the period
leading up to the Thirty Years War, as the adulteration of the gold
currency (presumably with the help of skilled metallurgists such as
Michael Maier and the numerous other alchemists at the court of
Hessen-Kassel's prince, Landgraf Moritz 'the Learned') caused
its value to plummet. True, there are many stories of transmutation
floating around in the 16th and 17th centuries... for example, the
Testament of Abbot John Cremer of Westminster speaks of
Ramon Lull's production of gold for King Edward of England,
who used the wealth to wage war on France. But there never
was an Abbot John Cremer of Westminster, nor did Ramon
Lull visit England, and nor did Lull believe in the transmutation
of metals. Were there some remarkable means of producing
gold from base metals (as some of the correspondents in this
thread seem to be suggesting), that metal would long since have
lost its value as a standard in international exchange, and we
would have started using a substance slightly more immune to
human artifice (cowrie shells?).

I think it's more likely that the numerous stories of transmutation
are a testament to human gullibility on the one hand, and human
willingness to exploit that gullibility on the other. Maier seems to
have had a healthy share of both of these traits, although one
should probably keep in mind the unconscious psychological
attraction of the symbol of transmutation itself.

Hereward Tilton