Alchemy Academy archive
November 2003

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Subject: ACADEMY : Crowning of Nature
From: Adam McLean
Date: 3 Nov 2003

I am updating my research on the 'Crowning of Nature'
manuscripts, an edition of which I published as long ago as
1980.

I wonder if anyone knows of any versions of this work which have
escaped my attention. It goes under various titles -

Coronatio Naturae
Sapientium veterum
Opus Angelorum

It is characterised by a series either of 40 or 67 coloured
drawings of the alchemical process taking place in flasks.

Here is my provisional list of the 43 'Crowning of Nature' manuscripts
I have found so far. Can anyone add to this ?

1 . British Library, MS. Sloane 12.
2 . British Library, MS. Sloane 1687.
3 . British Library, MS. Kings 287.
4 . Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 1433.
5 . Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 1456.
6. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 1490.
7 . Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Digby 127.
8 . Oxford, Bodleian Library., St. Mary's Hall, Oriel College v.
9 . Oxford, Bodleian Library., St. Mary's Hall, Oriel College vi.
10 . London, Wellcome Institute, MS. 190.
11 . London, Wellcome Institute, MS. 2456.
12 . London, Wellcome Institute, MS. 3558.
13 . London, Wellcome Institute, MS. 3561.
14 . London, Wellcome Institute, MS. 4365.
15 . London, Wellcome Institute, MS. 4366.
16 . London, Wellcome Institute, MS. 4594.
17 . London, Wellcome Institute, MS. 6072
18 . Glasgow University Library, MS. Ferguson 8.
19 . Glasgow University Library, MS. Ferguson 110.
20 . Glasgow University Library, MS. Ferguson 155.
21 . Glasgow University Library, MS. Ferguson 208.
22 . Glasgow University Library, MS. Ferguson 230.
23 . Glasgow University Library, MS. Ferguson 237.
24 . Glasgow University Library, MS. Ferguson 245.
25 . Glasgow University Library, MS. Ferguson 253.
26 . Cambridge, University Library, MS. Gg. i. 8.
27 . Alnwick Castle, MS. 572.
28 . St. Andrews University Library, MS. 38190 [Read].
29 . Manly Palmer Hall [P.R.S.], MS. 50.
30 . Mellon Collection, Yale University Library, MS. 57.
31 . Harvard University, MS. 24226.226 (MS. Typ. 86).
32 . Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS. Lat. 18512.
33 . Paris, Bibliothèque L'Arsenal, MS. 974 (90 B.S.A.L.)
34 . Rennes, MS. 159 (123).
35 . Rome, Biblioteca Nazionale., MS. Gesuitico 473.
36 . Venice, Biblioteca Marciana, MS. Lat. VI. 305. [2424.]
37. Rome, Biblioteca dell'Accademia dei Lincei., MS. Verginelli-Rota 37.
38 . Bologna, Biblioteca Comunale dell' Archiginnasio, MS.B.268.
39 . Biblioteca Philosophica Hermetica, MS. 189.
40 . Biblioteca Philosophica Hermetica, MS. 305.
41 . Biblioteca Philosophica Hermetica, MS. 324.
42 . Biblioteca Philosophica Hermetica, MS. 327.
43 . Jerusalem, The Hebrew University, Sidney Edelstein Foundation Library. MS. 3.


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2003

Dear Peter,

I appreciate the many references on the engravers related to
Khunrath and will follow up on them. Like you, I have focused
less on Maier's engravers than on his alchemical work, primarily
the "Atalanta Fugiens." Nevertheless, the contributions of the
engravers seem important to me, especially if, as Adam posted (10/23),
it was likely that expert engravers "expected to have the artistic
freedom to develop the images in their own way." In this case, it seems
to me, the alchemical work would have reflect the creative process of
both contributors. I'm not sure what we can conclude from this but,
being interested in alchemy, I am interested in the interaction effect
between natures, human natures included.

I don't know much about the relationship between Maier and Khunrath
other than that they were contemporaries, and Hereward Tilton cites
several occasions in which Maier's work corresponds with that of
Khunrath. Do you know how much association there was between the
two men?

With respect to the occult issues, there is much that I'd like to discuss but
am not sure where to begin. Is there something you think is of particular
importance?

Thanks again for the help and interest.

Janet


Subject: ACADEMY : Pritchard's bibliography of alchemy updated
From: Adam McLean
Date: 05 Nov 2003

ALCHEMY BIBLIOGRAPHY TO BE UPDATED

The major bibliography on alchemy (Alchemy: a bibliography of
English-language writings) is to be updated and published on a web site as
the 2nd (Internet) edition.

The current URL of the bibliography is:

http://www.cix.co.uk/~apritchard


It is very much an ongoing project and will be focussing on new material,
and on the wealth of material made available on the Internet. Material
from the 1st edition will gradually be incorporated, in order to provide a
comprehensive resource on both the alchemical and Hermetic source
literature, and the influences of alchemical thought and imagery on many
aspects of Western culture.
Whilst frequently seen as just a precursor of chemistry, alchemy is one of
the most powerful themes in Western culture - generally standing for
transformation or regeneration. Scholars have written widely on the
influences of alchemy on early science (including Newton and Boyle),
chemistry, medicine, art, literature (from Chaucer to Harry Potter by way
of the French symbolists and the surrealists), psychology (especially C.G.
Jung), music and opera, to name but a few areas.
There are also the occult aspects of alchemy: the intriguing and beautiful
illustrations and the role of alchemy as a unique mystical Path, requiring
both a physical Work and a spiritual Transformation. Alchemy has
influenced other occult traditions including Freemasonry, Rosicrucians and
other modern groups such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
All these features make alchemy an exceptionally intriguing topic and the
aim of the bibliography is to bring all these extremely diverse strands
together in one place.
Further information on the new bibliography can be obtained from the
compiler, Alan Pritchard via email:

apritchard@cix.co.uk

Alan Pritchard MPhil FCLIP MBCS

------------------------------------------------------------------
Background notes

The bibliography was originally compiled as a Fellowship thesis for the
Library Association (now the Chartered Institute of Library and
Information Professionals - CILIP). The Fellowship was awarded with
distinction.
Routledge and Kegan Paul and the Library Association jointly published the
bibliography and it was then awarded the Besterman Medal for the best
bibliography of 1980.
The bibliography was received well and gained positive reviews in the
major journals.


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemical Letters of Michael Sendivogius
From: Louis Bourbonnais
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003

A special question for Rafal T. Prinke,

Sometime ago you were looking for published letters of Sendivogius,
did you know:

"The Alchemical Letters of Michael Sendivogius to the Rosicrucian
Society"
Holmes Pub. 1998, 155818404X.

I came across this information but I was not able to have a look
at the content of this book. Do you know if these are the 55 letters
attributed to Sendivogius?

Thank you,

Louis Bourbonnais


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemical Letters of Michael Sendivogius
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Louis,

> Sometime ago you were looking for published letters of Sendivogius,
> did you know:
> "The Alchemical Letters of Michael Sendivogius to the Rosicrucian
> Society" Holmes Pub. 1998, 155818404X.

Yes, I actually happen to have a copy of it. What I was looking
for was the information on where the earliest published
version was printed (now I know it was in the 1691 French
edition of "Cosmopolite", in vol. 2).

> I came across this information but I was not able to have a look
> at the content of this book. Do you know if these are the 55 letters
> attributed to Sendivogius?

Yes, it is the same (well, roughly at least) as the version
on Adam's site, in Sibly's translation:

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/send10.html

BTW, I now have serious doubts about the authorship...

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Falconetto's alchemical frescoes
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003
From: Eric Wargo

I wonder if anyone can shed any light on the series of frescoes in the
"Zodiac Room" of the Palazzo d'Arco in Mantua. The twelve frescoes are
credited to Giovanni Falconetto and were created around 1520. They each
relate to a sign in the zodiac, contain scenes apparently from Ovid as
well as numerous alchemical symbols, and most incorporate ruins of
famous buildings from antiquity such as the colosseum in Rome and
Hadrian's villa. (Unfortunately, I am working from low-res images I have
been able to find on the Web, so many small details are hard to make out.)

I am particularly interested in the Virgo fresco, which represents the
distinctive dome-topped tomb of Theoderic in Ravenna as an athanor, with
three windows in its middle section and flames spewing out the bottom. I
would like to know what might have motivated the artist to incorporate
this monument as an iconographic element. The Ostragoth king Theoderic
had been a proponent of Arianism in the 5th-6th century, and I wonder if
an artist or patron with alchemical interests in 16th century Mantua
might have seen a connection between alchemy and the Arian
heresy--which, by denying the consubstantiality of Father and Son (God
and Christ), implies the potential perfectibility of man.

Not knowing the fate of Arian ideas in Renaissance Italy I'd rather not
simply speculate on this possible resonance between Arianism and
alchemy. I suppose the artist might have just used the tomb simply for
its athanor-like shape, or just the fact of its being a mausoleum. Does
anyone have any insights on this or know of any pertinent literature
(preferably not in Italian, ideally in English)?

Eric Wargo


Subject: ACADEMY : Falconetto's alchemical frescoes
From: Marco Frascari
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003

My suggestion for Falconetto is to connect with his Paduan Patron,
Alvise Cornaro who wrote a macrobiotic treatise on how make your
life longer. There is also a good study of the Zodiac Room by Rodolfo
Signorini who traces all the literary references of the images,
unfortunately it is in Italian, but you still can get to the references.
G.Schweikhart interprets the old man as King Midas ready to take a
bath in the River Pactolo to solve the problem of his golden touch.

Marco Frascari


Subject: ACADEMY : Liber Platonis quartorum
From: Adam McLean
Date: 29 Nov 2003

One of my correspondents has asked me about the "Liber Platonis
quartorum," the "Treatise of Platonic Tetralogies" found in Vol. 5 of
Theatrum Chemicum, p.101f. He wonders if there is an earlier
Arabic MSS. extant. The Arabic text may be entitled "Rawabi' Aflatun."

An interesting scholarly article on the internet on 'Aflatun' (an Arabic
name for Plato) refers to this alchemical text and cites a reference by

P. Kraus, "Plotin chez les Arabes," BIE, 1941,

where it is mentioned that two Arabic MSS of this text exist
(cited pages are 51 & 339).

I am not familiar with this article, neither do I know the Journal
from which it comes - BIE . I cannot trace that abbreviation.
It is probably a French or German Journal.

Can anyone help with further information on the 'Liber Platonis
quartorum' or the Kraus article ?

With best wishes,

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Liber Platonis quartorum
From: Adam McLean
Date: 29 Nov 2003

I have now discovered that BIE is most likely

Bulletin de l'Institut d'Égypte. Kairo, 1859- (von 1859 bis 1918:
Bulletin de l'Institut égyptien).

Does anyone have access to this Journal ?

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Liber Platonis quartorum
From: Adam McLean
Date: 01 Dec 2003

Dear Vahid

the URL of the "interesting scholarly article on the internet
on 'Aflatun'" that I mentioned is

http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ei/plato.htm

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Liber Platonis quartorum
From: Vahid Brown
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2003

Dear Adam,

I have requested a copy of this article through my library, as I too
would be very interested in the Arabic mss. of this, which I have
not hitherto seen any mention of. I will be sure to share whatever
information that article might hold relevant to your question when
I receive it. In the meantime, I hope you will inform the list of any
further discoveries you make about the Arabic text. Might I also
ask for the URL of the "interesting scholarly article on the internet

on 'Aflatun'" that you mentioned? I did an Arabic Google search
for rawabi' aflatun and turned up nothing, nor did the umpteen
permutations of rabi'a that I tried in place of rawabi'.

Vahid