Alchemy Academy archive
January 2003

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Subject: ACADEMY : The crucified snake From: Claude Gagnon
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003

After reading all the answers received, I think that we may establish
a link between Nehustân and a magical talisman against plague
or some other disease that would be remembered on the thaler.

We do not know where the ps.-Flamel had seen the seven images
that he described in his book of 1612. A specialist, at the colloquium
on the "Emblème à la Renaissance" held in1980 mentioned how
hard Calvinists attacked the symbol of the cross as a form of
idolatry (as Ezéchias considered Nehushtân artifacted by Moses).

François Secret reminded me that Reuchlin mentioned Moses'
serpent in his "De arte cabalistica" published in 1517.

Claude Gagnon

Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003

In Discourse 25 of his "Atalanta" Maier speaks about Python
slain by Apollo. I've just realised that this monster inhabited a
dark gorge not far from Dephi, and for this reason it was
sometimes called "Delphinus". Is there some connection
with the image of dolphin, or am I rather speculating?

Best regards.

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy on stamps
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Happy New Year to everyone!

I was curious to learn about this book:

Heilbronner, Edgar / Miller, Foil A.
A Philatelic Ramble through Chemistry
1. Auflage - Januar 1998
139,- Euro / 205,- SFR
1998. X, 268 Seiten, Gebunden
ISBN 3-906390-17-9 - Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta, Zürich

The table of contents on the Web shows there is a part
on alchemy, including a chapter "Named Alchemists on Stamps".

I wonder if anyone has seen the book and which alchemists
were honoured in this way?

There was also an article on the same topic which I have not seen:

van Albada, Gerard A.; Schreck, James O. Alchemy and philately
(STAMP). J. Chem. Educ. 1987 64 869.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Raymund Lully's "Opera Latina"
From: Aaron Crim
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003

Hi all,

I have a couple of questions.

1. There is a voluminous work out there attributed to Lully called "Opera
Latina". Is anyone familiar with this work?

2. If so, do you recall reading anything about a mountain called Pessulano?
If so, can you elaborate on its significance?

3. Does anyone know if this work has ever been translated into English? I
have access to the complete Latin volumes but my Latin is pretty bad!

Thanks in advance!

Aaron

Subject: ACADEMY: Museum of Alchemy
From: John Hobson
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003

Does anyone know of a museum showing physical alchemical
tools, flasks and furnaces etc. anywhere? Also, is there a
museum of alchemy that has major 16th century art works
in this theme?

Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Eve Sinaiko
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003

I don't think Python (the monster) is ever called "Delphinos," is it? But the
connection is in other respects quite direct. Apollo, who slew the Python, is
called both Apollo Pythios and Apollo Delphinos.

According to the myth (recounted in the Homeric Hymns and referred to in the
Iliad), Apollo founded the sanctuary of Delphoi (Delphi) in the guise of a
dolphin; hence the name Apollo Delphinos. This is one of the myths that describe
the arrival of the Olympain gods and their triumph over the older gods (Titans
and so on).

So actually, Apollo did not found the sanctuary, but took it away from the older
(pre-Olympian) cult. The sacred precinct and oracle at Delphi are very
ancient--pre-Hellenic, and probably even paleolithic. Delphi, on the slope of
Mt. Parnassos, is site of the world-navel (omphalos in Greek) and of the sacred
spring of Castalia, and other pre-Olympian earth-worship-related sacred markers,
including the rock (or cave, or cleft) where the oracle sat. Before Apollo
arrived, it was a sanctuary to Gaia (earth-mother), called Pytho (whose oracle
was the Pythia), and was guarded by the Python, a monster that is often
translated as a serpant, dragon, or snake. So Apollo is sometimes called Apollo
Pythios, Pythian Apollo, because he slew the Python. In other words, this is
classical Greek religious syncretism: Apollo acquired a snake cult by slaying
the more ancient earth-worship, which had an earlier snake cult. So there is a
sort of ancient connection (if only in the imagination of the Greek myths)
between serpant and dolphin through the figure of Apollo, who is represented
emblematically by both.

Philologists argue over whether there is a link in the etymologies of the Greek
words "delphinos (dolphin)," and "delphoi" (which simply means "seat of the
Oracle, I think)," and also "delphys" (womb).

On the other hand, http://www.parsifalcoop.it/susan_kane.htm writes:

"In Etruria, the dolphin appears to have a particular chthonic significance,
perhaps one related to Dionysos. A number of Etruscan tombs show dolphins
leaping from the waves, often below funerary banqueters. In a recent paper
presented at the XXIII Convegno di Studi Etruschi e Italici (1-6 ottobre 2001),
A.E. Philippe, "Un delfino dionisiaco nella tomba dell'Orco?"considered this
motif of dolphins and the sea to show a dionysiac connection. The ocean is a
cosmic symbol as well as a symbol of the voyage of the deceased across it to the
Elysian Fields. This positive image was a promise for initiates in the Orphic
and Dionysiac mysteries. The same idea is probably behind the ocean with
dolphins and fish or the wave pattern often depicted on Etruscan engraved bronze
mirrors."

Regards to the Academy for the new year,

Eve

Subject: ACADEMY: Museum of Alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 5 Jan 2003

>Does anyone know of a museum showing physical alchemical
>tools, flasks and furnaces etc. anywhere?

These were explored in a thread in on this discussion group
April May 1999. Please check the archives on the web site.

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/a-archive1.html

I also have a special page on museums on the web site

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

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY: Museum of Alchemy
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003
From: Joël "Pierre Stibia"

In France, a room of the Castle of Barbe Bleue (i.e. the famous
Gilles de Rays who was the fellow of Jeanne d'Arc and was burnt
for sorcery too ...) is dedicated to alchemy.

You can visit it at Tiffauge, near Nantes.

See also

http://www.chateau-barbe-bleue.com

Regards to all.

Joël "Pierre Stibia"

Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003

Dear Eve,

> I don't think Python (the monster) is ever called "Delphinos," is it?
>But the connection is in other respects quite direct. Apollo, who
>slew the Python, is called both Apollo Pythios and Apollo Delphinos.

You're absolutely right. But this is very curious. I've noted (thanks to
your posting) that in most English-language sources on the
subject Delphinos is actually Apollo (Such as the Oxford edition of
"Classical Mythology"). But in most Russian-language books its
Python. You can check a good on-line resource
http://greekroman.narod.ru/ for instance.

Your letter in general is very informative. Thank you very much.

Gleb.

Subject: ACADEMY: Museum of Alchemy
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003
From: Michal Pober

Dear John Hobson,

>Does anyone know of a museum showing physical alchemical
>tools, flasks and furnaces etc. anywhere? Also, is there a
>museum of alchemy that has major 16th century art works
>in this theme?

The Alchemy Museum in Kutna Hora has quite a large collection
of reproduction alchemical equipment, both glass and pottery.
In Heidelberg there is a museum of pharmacy which also has a
lot of equipment.
I believe that there can be very little old alchemical glass
that has survived the depredations of time and the propensity
of volatile materials to explode..

Re pictures it seems most likely that major 16th C art works
would most probably be held in Art Collections rather than
anywhere else.

Perhaps you would elicit more information if you clarify
what you're looking for specifically.

With Best Regards,

Michal Pober

Subject: ACADEMY: Museum of Alchemy
From: Elizabeth O'Mahoney
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003

Dear John Hobson,

>Does anyone know of a museum showing physical alchemical
>tools, flasks and furnaces etc. anywhere? Also, is there a
>museum of alchemy that has major 16th century art works
>in this theme?

I'm not too sure, but I think UCL (University College London)
has an extensive collection of historical chemical appartus,
which I think they are archiving at the moment. (I met an
archiver who was telling me something about this but I wasn't
listening too attentively). Might be worth getting in touch with them.
Also, I know that Cambridge have a range of old chemical flasks
etc, but I don't know if they are on display.

Best wishes,

Liz O'Mahoney

Subject: ACADEMY: Museum of Alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003

>Also, is there a museum of alchemy that has major
>16th century art works in this theme?

The two major collections of art works on alchemy
are the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia,
and the Wellcome Library in London.

http://www.chemheritage.org/

http://library.wellcome.ac.uk/

Both have excellent web sites


Subject: ACADEMY : pseudo-Lullian alchemy
Date: Sat, 11 Jan 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear All,

I find this reference:

Brahe, Lynn, Pseudo-lullian alchemy, Nueva York,
Columbia Univ. Press, 1924.

in the Folchia bibliography at:

http://www.ucm.es/info/folchia/best.htm

but it seems such a book does not exist (no records in LOC or BL).
Can it really refer to a chapter in Lynn Thorndike's _A History..._?

I have found other similar errors in Folchia listings...

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Looking for some alchemy books
From: Joern Sesterhenn
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003

I am looking for the following books available in the internet can someone
help?

-- "Epistola Joannis Pontani" in latin
-- "Arthephi Liber secretissimus" in latin

(I am aware of several engish, french and german versions.)

-- Joann. Agricolas "Chymische Medizin" in German.

-- Siebmacher, "Wasserstein der Weisen" in German

-- Max Retschalg, "Von der Urmaterie zum Urkraft-Elixier" (1926) preferably
in German, but any language welcome.

Regards,