Alchemy Academy archive
October 2003

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Subject: ACADEMY : Astrological almanacs
Date: Wed, 01 Oct 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Eugene,

> > [TELLOLOT VON CHICESTER, JOSEPH (?)
> > Istolkovanie snov po astronomii proiskhodiashchikh po techeniiu Luny,
> > perevedeno s pol'skago [A.V.]. Izdanie 3-e. Moskva: Tip. Komp. Tipografich.,
> > 1780. 30 p. ; 8ş]

I have now checked Estreicher's bibliography and it does not
list the Polish edition under either Tellolot or Chicester
(I have also tried possible variants like Cziczester etc.).

This does not mean it did not exist - but must be extremely rare.

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Astrological almanacs
From: Eugene Beshenkovsky
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2003

Many thanks, Rafal,

It was, probably, published anonymously.
I'll check Estreicher.

Thanks again,
Eugene Beshenkovsky


Subject: ACADEMY : Zosimos & other matters
From: Louise Milne
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2003

I have three queries:

1) about the Visions of Zosimos, which I know in the translations
by Jung & F. Sherwood Anderson:

I've been trying to find out whether this text was known in the
Middle Ages, and particularly in the 15th and/or early 16th century;
any other details about its dissemination and translations would
be helpful - for example was it ever illustrated?

I've seen a reference to something by or ascribed to Zosimos
printed in 1579/ is this correct? Does this book (if it exists)
contain the visions? and if so, who published it and what MSS
might have been used to prepare this edition.

The context for this question is my research on "fantastic" visions
and their sources, particular as they bear on the production of art.
It would be helpful to know also about how far alchmey was studied
and known in Flemish and/or Dutch circles.... I wondered if, due to
the Spanish government of the Netherlands, Lullian or Pseudo-Lullian
texts might have had some popularity there in the Renaissance...

2) The illustrations of the Aurora Consurgens in the Glasgow
MS Ferguson 6: these are the ones so usefully illustrated on the
website. I understand that the text itself is fifteenth- century (?),
but what about the coloured illustrations? to my eye they could be
either 15C or slightly archaic 16C... How far do these images follow
earlier models? the Hermaphrodite certainly, and the images of
athanors, but what about the picture of the two individuals, one
excreting coins and drinking from a cup, the other with its head split
like a lid and proffering its heart?

Also, where might I be able to find reproductions of the other
MSS of the Aurora? I have most of Obrist's classic xeroxed, but
unfortunately not that bit!

3) I have been reading Michaela Pereira's monograph on the Alchemical
Corpus atrtibuted to Lull; a very useful work, but with no illustrations.

"Beautiful" figures are mentioned as adorning four MSS of the Testamentum in particular:

Yale, Beinecke Library Mellon Collection 12
Florence Biblioteca nazionale centrale, II iii 27
Cambridge Corpus Christi College 396
Wellcome Medical Library 445

I have spent days on the net trying to find reproductions of these with
no success - probably because I am unfamiliar with the exact
bibliographic forms to use in searching the various library websites
and other resources. Does anyone know anything about these MSS?

Or perhaps someone more familiar with manuscript nomenclature
could assist me: am I looking in the wrong places or using the wrong forms?

Many thanks in advance for any help you can give!

sincerely,

Louise Milne


Subject: ACADEMY : Zosimos & other matters
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2003

Dear Louise,

I'd be very interested to hear an answer to your first question
- I can't recall seeing a reference to the "visions" of Zosimos
in 16th and 17th century texts. There are personifications of
metal/chemical states akin to those in Zosimos' text (man of lead,
man of bronze etc.) and of course dismemberment imagery akin
to that in the Visions, but I don't know whether these symbols
ultimately derive from Zosimos. According to Sherwood Taylor
he appears amongst the garbled names of Greek philosophers in
the Turba Philosophorum - I guess that must be 'Zimon', who also
is quoted in the Tractatus Aureus in the 1625 Musaeum Hermeticum
(but only from the Turba).

Hereward Tilton


Subject: ACADEMY : Astrological almanacs
Date: Mon, 06 Oct 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Eugene,

> It was, probably, published anonymously.
> I'll check Estreicher.

I have also looked under "Sennik" (ie. dream-book) but there
was nothing there.

BTW, do you perhaps know which library (in Russia or elsewhere)
has Lopukhin's translation of Sendivogius' _Novoe khimicheskoe
svetilo_ (Moscow 1785) and could be asked to photocopy
or microfilm it?

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Astrological almanacs
From: Eugene Beshenkovsky
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2003

Dear Rafal,

At least four major Russian libraries have this book: two in Moscow
(Russian State Library and the State Historical library), and two in
S. Petersburg (Russian National Library and The Library of the
Russian Academy of Sciences). All of them are able to produce
microfilms, or even to scan books.

Here is the address of the Russian National Library's microfilming
division ovo-chief@nlr.ru . You can write to them in English. The
price for the filming is 2 or 2.50 rubbles per exposure. You can
also check their web site (a nice one)

http://www.nlr.ru:8101/on-line.html

All the best,
Eugene Beshenkovsky


Subject: ACADEMY : Zosimos & other matters
From: Louise Milne
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2003

Thanks Hereward,

I was beginning to suspect that the Visions per se were not
available to the 15/16C.... maybe the best to be expected there
is a more or less garbled tradition from late antiquity through
the Arab or Byzantine sources...

This is tantalising however, given that early 15C intellectuals
such as Bessarion and artists such as Gentile Bellini & (later)
Pieter Coecke visited Constantinople & procured manuscripts
there....

thanks anyway!

Louise


Subject: ACADEMY : Figures and Lullian Testamentum
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: 8 Oct 2003

>3) ...figures are mentioned as adorning
>four MSS of the Testamentum in
>particular [...] I have spent days on the net trying to
>find reproductions of these with no success
>[...] Does anyone know anything about these MSS?

Dear Louise Milne:

The original Lullian Testament use only alphabets and geometrical
figures as mnemonic and heuristic devices. I send you two accessible
sources:

1.- Oxford, Corpus Christi College, Ms 244. A critical edition has been
completed by Pereira and Spaggiari. There is an extensive analysis of the
figures in:

MICHELA PEREIRA & BARBARA SPAGGIARI, (1999), "Il Testamentum
Alchemico attributo a Raimondo Lullo: edizione del testo latino e catalano
dal manoscritto Oxford, Corpus Christi College, 244", Edizioni del Galluzzo,
Tavarnuzze (Firenze), pp. CXXXV-CLXIV [in italian].

2.- Florence Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Ms B.R. 52 (II iii 27). It is a
fine copy (15th century) decorated with paintings and ornaments of
different kinds. It contained not only Testamentum but four alchemical
titles (all with illustrations): Testamentum (2 parts); De transmutatione
metallorum; Liber de investigatione de secreti occulti; Ars operativa
medica. Of course you can find the classical geometrical figures, but
it adds new tables and miniatures related to alchemical topics. Some
images had been reproduced in:

F. CARDINI & M. GABRIELE, (1992) "Exaltatio essentiae,
essentia exaltata", Pacini editore, Pisa, pp. 12-25.

Moreover, you can find digital images in the general catalogue of the
scientific manuscripts at the National Central Library in Florence (Italy):
http://193.206.220.68/start.html [search for: Testamentum].

José Rodríguez Guerrero


Subject: ACADEMY : Bibliography of Neo-Latin texts
From: Eugene Beshenkovsky
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2003

I have not seen this bibliography mentioned here. It is getting
very impressive.

http://e3.uci.edu/~papyri/bibliography/

Eugene Beshenkovsky


Subject: ACADEMY : Zosimos' Visions in 15th and 16 centuries
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003

Dear Louise Milne:

>1) about the Visions of Zosimos,
>which I know in the translations by Jung & F. Sherwood Anderson:

I think Jung and Sherwood Taylor versions had been based on Berthelot's
"Collection des Alchimistes Grecs", so it could be a problem in a critical
sense. At the same time a question related to contextualisation is over
because these are not full editions but free partial translations of a more
extensive work usually called "Authentic Commentaries" ("Visions" in
sections X, XI, XII). You can find a full critical edition (Greek-French)
in:

MICHČLE MERTENS, (1995), "Les Alchimistes Grecs. Tome IV. Zosime de
Panapolis", Les Belles Letres, Paris.

>I've been trying to find out whether this text was known in the
>Middle Ages, and particularly in the 15th and/or early 16th century;
>any other details about its dissemination and translations would
>be helpful - for example was it ever illustrated?

The textual tradition of the "Visions" is enclosed to that of the "Authentic
Commentaries" and it had been developed in greek manuscripts. The oldest
copy appears in Marcianus Graecus 299 and it was placed in Europe by
Bessarion in the 15th century. Other copies arrived in Italy or France in
this century: MS. Parisinus 2419, Parisinus 2275, Parisinus 2325, Parisinus
2327, Laurentanus graecus plut. LXXXVI 16... but most of the copies listed
in the "Catalogue des Manuscrits Alchimiques Grecs" dated from 16th century
and (mainly) 17th century. You should read:

J. BIDEZ (ed.), (1924-1932), "Catalogue des Manuscrits Alchimiques Grecs", 8
vols., Maurice Lamertin, Bruxelles.

There is no printed edition before 19th century. I know there is a latin
translation in Ms. Vindobonensis 11456. It is dedicated to Ferdinand III
(1608-1657). There is a copy in Ms. Vindobonensis 11456 (dated 1677)
dedicated to Leopold I of Austria. Another copy of the same in Ms. Gotha
Chart. I 147.
So, little appears to be known of the Zosimos "Visions" in medieval or early
modern alchemy. There is a useful article on that question:

SYLVAIN MATTON, (1995), "L'influence de l'humanisme sur la tradition
alchimique", in: "Micrologus", 3, pp. 279- 345, cf. pp. 309-340.

>I've seen a reference to something by or ascribed to Zosimos
>printed in 1579/ is this correct? Does this book (if it exists)
>contain the visions? and if so, who published it and what MSS
>might have been used to prepare this edition.

There are various texts ascribed to Zosimus in the alchemical compendia
entitled "Auriferae artis", (1572; reed. 1593, 1610). These are "Rosinus
epistola ad Euthiciam"; "Rosinus, ad Sarratantam episcopum", "De divinis
interpretationibus"; "Liber definitionum". All seems to be false
attributions.

A) "Rosinus ad Euthiciam"
It was traduced from an arabic source. There are latin copies in Europe
since 13th century. Stappleton proved it contains large paragraphs extracted
from the arabian alchemist ibn-Umail (c. 900-960) in his work "Book of the
Silvery Water and Starry Earth".
- MERTENS, (1995), pp. LXXXIII-LXXXVI.

B) The works "Rosinus ad Sarratantam episcopum" and "Livre de Rossinus sur
la operation de la pierre des philosophes" are two versions of a medieval
treatise entitled "Flos Florum" that circulated with differents titles and
attributions.
- A. CALVET & S. MATTON, (1999), "Quelques versions de la Flos Florum
ps-arnaldienne", in: "Chrysopoeia", VI, pp. 207-272.

C) "De divinis interpretationibus" and "Liber definitionum" includes arabic
autorities among the paragraphs.

>The context for this question is my research on "fantastic" visions
>and their sources, particular as they bear on the production of art.

If you are interested in "fantastic" visions or dreams in alchemical
literature I send you some references:

- J. RUSKA, (1930), "Die Vision des Arisleus", in: "Festgabe G. Sticker",
pp. 22-26.
- SYLVAIN MATTON, (1988), "Le ręve dans les secrčtes sciences : spirituels,
kabbalistes chrétiens et alchimistes", in: "Revue des Sciences Humaines",
LXXXII, n° 211, pp. 153-180.
- P. BARTHELEMY & D. KAHN, (1994), "Les voyages d'une allégorie alchimique :
de la Visio Edwardi a l'Ouvre royalle de Charles VI", in: "Comprendre et
maîtriser la Nature au Moyen Age: mélanges d'histoire des sciences offerts ŕ
Guy Beaujouan", Droz, Genčve, pp. 481-530.
- FRANCK GREINER, (1995), "L'initiation alchimique de Giovan Battista
Nazari", in: "Revue de l'Association d'études sur l'Humanisme, la Réforme et
la Renaissance", pp. 9-35.
- FLORENCE DUMORA, (1998), "Poétique du songe alchimique", in: F. Greiner
(ed.), "Aspects de la tradition alchimique au XVIIe siecle", Arché, Milan.
pp. 233-259

Regards,

José Rodríguez Guerrero


Subject: ACADEMY : Conference on Esoteric Religious Traditions
From: Arthur Versluis
Date: 9 Oct 2003

Call for Papers: Conference on Esoteric Religious Traditions

The Association for the Study of Esotericism is seeking paper
and panel proposals for our first North American Conference
on "Esotericism: From Europe to North America" to be held
3-5 June, 2004, at Michigan State University.

We seek proposals for papers and panels on:

Gnosticism and Hermeticism, Alchemy, astrology, Folk magical
traditions in North America, Magic and Secrecy, New Religious
Movements, Asian influences on Western traditions.

Send your proposal to conference organizers at

ase@aseweb.org.

Please limit abstracts to one single-spaced page or less
and a brief c.v. Email submission preferred. Proposal deadline
(preferred): 31 December, 2003.

ASE, c/o Esoterica, 235 Bessey Hall, Michigan StateUniversity,
East Lansing, MI 48824 USA,
http://www.aseweb.org
ase@aseweb.org


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear All,

Most publications on alchemy concentrate on its eminent
practitioners or philosophical texts - while I started
to wonder how popular and widespread it really was
among "ordinary folks". I have seen a number of post-mortem
inventories of burgher's estates and often their private
libraries contained alchemical works, even though they
were not "professional" alchemists but merchants or craftsmen
of other specialisations.

So perhaps practical ("puffer") alchemy was a sort of pastime?
I can imagine a master glovemaker going down to the basement
of his house after a hard day in the workshop, and firing up
his furnace to watch the changing colours and mysteries
of matter, much as we turn the TV on nowadays.

Are there any publications/studies on this aspect of alchemy?

Best regards,


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
From: William S. Aronstein
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2003

Dear Mr. Prinke,

As noted by L.M. Principe and W. R. Newman in their article, "Alchemy vs.
Chemistry: The Etymological Origin of a Historiographic Mistake" (Early
Science and Medicine, 1998, 3:32-65), in no printed work before 1675 or
thereabouts are the terms "chemistry" and "alchemy" used to mean different
disciplines. Thus, anybody interested in metallurgy, dyeing, glassmaking,
or any other practical chemical pursuit would have understood his practice
to be alchemical. No mere pastime, alchemical work was the lifeblood of
invention that fueled the scientific and industrial revolution in Europe.

All the best,

William S. Aronstein


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Mr. Aronstein,

Thank you for your reply.

> As noted by L.M. Principe and W. R. Newman in their article, "Alchemy vs.
> Chemistry: The Etymological Origin of a Historiographic Mistake" (Early
> Science and Medicine, 1998, 3:32-65), in no printed work before 1675 or
> thereabouts are the terms "chemistry" and "alchemy" used to mean different
> disciplines.

Yes, I know that article but I am not quite convinced their
conclusion is correct. In my opinion they were occassionally
used in distinct meanings - but not in the same way by
various authors. I do, however, support the use of
the term "chymia" for what used to be distinguished as
"chemistry" and "alchemy" by Enlightenment and positivist
historiography, as advocated by Principe and Newman,
because otherwise the old distinction is very misleading
when discussed from modern (or post-modern) perspective.

> Thus, anybody interested in metallurgy, dyeing, glassmaking,
> or any other practical chemical pursuit would have understood his practice
> to be alchemical. No mere pastime, alchemical work was the lifeblood of
> invention that fueled the scientific and industrial revolution in Europe.

Of course - but my question (perhaps not formulated clearly
enough) concerned the pursuit of the Philosphers' Stone by
"ordinary people" who were otherwise unrelated to chymical
or chymistry-related crafts.

But even within those crafts, there was a clear distinction
between their daily routine work and searching for
the Philosophers' Stone and transmuting metals. So, for example,
Agricola does not "understand his practice to be alchemical",
as you put it, but quite to the contrary - after discussing
alchemy briefly, he states:

But concerning the art of alchemy, if it be an art, I will
speak further elsewhere. I will now return to the art of mining.
(_De re metallica_, Dover:NY 1950, p. XXIX)

Unfortunately, he seems to have never completed this promised
treatise on alchemy (or at least it has not survived).
But he clearly distinguished between mining and metallurgy
on the one hand, and alchemy as an art of artificial making
and transmuting metals on the other.

So to return to my original question, I would be interested
in any bibliographical references on how addictive
the prospect of getting rich through alchemy was among
"ordinary people". How many of them tried to achieve
the Philosophers' Stone and searched for it in their
spare time. This addiction is relatively well known
for royalty and nobility, who often spent much money on
their "hobby", and possibly for intellectuals who
studied philosophical treatises on chymistry and attempted
to achieve what they promised (like Boyle and Newton).
But in spite of frequent mentions of "puffers" in both
original text and contemporary historiography, I do not
recall hearing about any systematic study (if even on
a small scale).

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003

Dear William Aronstein,

Although I grant that Principe and Newmans' collaborative work
is marred by a number of important errors, I don't think they argue
that "in no printed work before 1675 or thereabouts are the terms
"chemistry" and "alchemy" used to mean different disciplines" -
as I understand it, they are only arguing that a widespread and
uniform demarcation between the terms 'alchemy' and
'chemistry' does not arise before the end of the 17th century.

Already in Maier we find the term 'alchymia' used in connection with
Betruegerei (in contradistinction to the noble 'chymia'), for example
in his Symbola Aureae Mensae and his Examen Fucorum
Pseudo-Chymicorum (where 'alchymia' appears as a synonym for
'pseudo-chymia'). Do correct me if I'm wrong about Principe
and Newmans' beliefs here, as I already find their conclusions regarding
nomenclature entirely dubious.

Hereward Tilton


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
From: William S. Aronstein
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003

Dear Mr. Prinke,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I think I now understand
exactly what you are looking for. I also would be interested in
the results, but I will be surprised if there is much documentation
regarding the prevalence of a practice that was probably illegal
in most European jurisdictions.

I'm not sure that I find the word "addiction" apt in this context.

Best wishes,

William S. Aronstein


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear William [if you don't mind],

> the results, but I will be surprised if there is much documentation
> regarding the prevalence of a practice that was probably illegal
> in most European jurisdictions.

Why do you think it was illegal? There was the papal decree
of 1317 [ http://www.levity.com/alchemy/papaldcr.html ] but
it was hardly ever applied - unless the case was for cheating.

Actually (and unfortunately for us), it is just the reverse.
Had alchemy been illegal, we would have tons of documentation
from court cases - as we do for heretics or witches.

> I'm not sure that I find the word "addiction" apt in this context.

I am not sure, either - but I hope I may be forgiven, as
English is not my native tongue. I felt that just as people
could be said to be "addicted to television" or "gambling",
or "computer games", I could apply the word to what I imagine
was a similar mental state. There are many stories of people
who lost their fotunes searching for the Philosophers' Stone
as they could not be persuaded by their family and friends
to stop spending money on alchemy.

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Hereward,

> Already in Maier we find the term 'alchymia' used in connection with
> Betruegerei (in contradistinction to the noble 'chymia'), for example
> in his Symbola Aureae Mensae and his Examen Fucorum
> Pseudo-Chymicorum (where 'alchymia' appears as a synonym for
> 'pseudo-chymia').

I find the same usage in Sendivogius - he mentions "alchemists"
twice only in his _Novum Lumen Chymicum_, both times in
the negative sense. And the Alchemist in his _Dialogue_ is
probably the best example of a naive "puffer" or "pseudo-chymist".

Best regards,

Rafal

PS: I have persuaded my library to order your (so expensive!)
book on Maier and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
From: William S. Aronstein
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003

Dear Mr. Tilton,

Thank you for your careful and judicious response, which has
prompted me to re-read the paper by Principe and Newman as
soon as I can locate my copy. I have probably overstated the
case that they make, and it may very well be that approaching
the subject as they do from the standpoint of the history of
chemistry, that they over-emphasize one facet more than is
warranted.

However, I continue to believe that at least until some time
during the past 500 years, the practice of what we would now
recognize as chemistry and the practice of what we would now
recognize as alchemy were not so neatly differentiated by those
whose practice included both sorts of activities. (Which I think those
practitioners would have thought to be more or less of one piece.)
Moreover, I imagine that it was not until the end of the XVIIth
century that chemical phenomena began to be explained with
concepts and language that came to differ more and more from
those we would recognize as alchemical.

Thus I continue to wonder whether the alchemical texts found
in the post-mortem inventories of bourgeois estates would have
seemed to their owners to be as divorced from the quotidian drudgery
of ordinary crafts as we find them today.

Best regards,

William S. Aronstein


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
From: William S. Aronstein
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003

Dear Rafal (if in turn you don't mind),

As for the illegality of chrysopoeia, I was thinking of the application of
counterfeiting laws such as might have been applied by the master of the
mint, Isaac Newton.

I wonder if the Canon Law you mention was brought up in the trial
proceedings of Gilles de Rais, as transcribed by Georges Bataille, which
contain, unless memory fails me again, references to alchemical as well as
diabolical pursuits to which the erstwhile comrade-in-arms of Ste. Jeanne
d'Arc resorted in order to replenish the fortune he had lost, not on
alchemy, but on theatrical productions and other excesses. In his
activities there is a confluence of alchemy and sorcery, though perhaps not
mundane chemistry.

Your use of the term addiction by the way was entirely idiomatic and not at
all inappropriate, and I was probably over-reacting to what struck me as
overly metaphorical, along the lines of the evident misuse of another
medical diagnostic term, "cancer," which is all too often indiscriminately
applied to anything a particular author finds objectionable.

Best regards,

William S. Aronstein


Subject: ACADEMY : Zosimos' Visions in 15th and 16 centuries
From: Louise Milne
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003

Dear José Rodríguez Guerrero

Thank you so much for that excellent full response - most helpful.
I will chase up these refs.

best
Louise Milne


Subject: ACADEMY : A question on Deutscher Orden
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003
From: Marisa Addomine

I am working on a research on the deeper roots (especially from
the esoteric point of view) of the German Knights (Deutscher Orden)
and I would like to know whether there is any historical evidence of
alchemic studies among these knights.

I thank you for your kind support.

Marisa Addomine


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
From: Janet Muff
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003

Dear Rafal (I hope a new member may interject something and use first names):

I have nothing substantive to add to your discussion about the popularity of
alchemy, but I can attest to the value of The Quest for the Phoenix. (It is a
great book, Hereward! You've pulled together the disparate facts of Maier's
life into a convincing whole, and, better still, it is a good read.) I don't
think you'll be disappointed, Rafal; the book is expensive, but well worth it.

Thanks for letting me eavesdrop on your conversation.

Janet Muff


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003

Dear Rafal,

That's really interesting that you have found a similar usage of
chemia/alchemia in Sendivogius. Principe and Newmans'
thesis concerning the emergence of a clear distinction between
the two terms points to Lemery's elaboration on Ruland's
mistaken etymology of the Arabic prefix 'al'. Their article was
based on various lexicon definitions, and given Maier's comments
I had a feeling that there was something more to it, and that earlier
attempts to distinguish a learned and legitimate art from an
unlearned, fraudulent one were at work as well. It would be worth
digging deeper here, I think.

That's great that you have got my book ordered, and I'd be happy
to hear your reactions to it. It is rather expensive, which is
typical for German academic publishers, and I imagined it would
be finding its way into libraries rather than private bookshelves. I
think I will make sure my next work is a more affordable paperback.

All the best,

Hereward


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003

Dear William Aronstein,

I think you are quite right about the blurring of distinctions
between arts which we would today recognise as 'alchemy'
and arts which we would not.

Principe and Newman brought up an important issue concerning
the projection of contemporary categories into times when they
did not exist (i.e. 'presentism'), so it's a shame they are so
sensitive to criticism - truth is founded upon error, after all.

All the best
Hereward Tilton


Subject: ACADEMY : Popularity of alchemy
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003

Dear Janet,

Thank you for your kind words concerning my book, and I'm glad
it wasn't too dry for you. While he was surely fallible, the recent
criticisms of Jung have been both factually inaccurate and lacking
in psychological insight, in my opinion. If you have any comments
or criticisms I would be interested to hear them.

Kind Regards,

Hereward


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003

Can anyone shed light on the relationship between alchemists and
their engravers? I'm referring specifically to Michael Maier (and
the Atalanta Fugiens), but would appreciate any thoughts on the
subject, such as: How much direction might have been given by
the alchemist to the engraver? How much free reign or creative
license?

If memory serves me correctly, there's something in the Archive on
this subject to the effect that engravers, who were engaged in a
variety of projects other than alchemical manuscripts, may have
used "stock" elements in the alchemical projects; and that some
of these elements -- Elizabethan ruffs, for example -- should not
be taken as having alchemical significance. In other words,
sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!

I'm going to try to find this posting. Meanwhile, if anyone has
information or thoughts about this, I'd like to hear them.

Janet Muff


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Adam McLean
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003

Dear Janet Muff ,

>Can anyone shed light on the relationship between alchemists and
>their engravers?

The engravers of alchemical emblems, certainly from the
17th century onwards, did not make a living entirely out of
such work. Indeed, alchemical emblems were a very small
part of their output. It is very instructive to take a look at the
book on Mathieu Merian

Wüthrich, Lucas Heinrich.
Das druckgraphische Werk von Matheus Merian.
Basel : Bärenreiter, 1966.

Here one sees illustrated many of Merian's engravings.
Only two out of the hundreds shown (I seem to recall) are
from alchemical works. Merian was a jobbing illustrator of
many emblem books and provided engravings for a wide
spectrum of books.

One sees clearly how the stylistic elements that marked Merian's
work, the way he shaped the landscape backgrounds or
depicted human figures, are found also in the alchemical
emblems he produced. I doubt whether an alchemical writer
could easily dictate terms to such an accomplished engraver.
Merian and many other engravers, would I am sure be happy to
work to a general plan or outline, but would surely have expected to
have the artistic freedom to develop the images in their own way.

If we look at the Book of Lambspring engravings, we should
realise that there were quite fine drawings of these figures in
manuscripts predating this. It seems quite likely that these
would have been made available to the engraver while he was
working on that project. So in some cases the engraver would
have had well executed original drawings from which to work.

>If memory serves me correctly, there's something in the Archive on
>this subject to the effect that engravers, who were engaged in a
>variety of projects other than alchemical manuscripts,

See the archive for 2 Feb 2001.

One cannot understand alchemical emblems without putting
them in the context of the emblematic tradition. A number of
people I have encoutered, who are interested in alchemical
imagery, are unfortunately ignorant of the breadth of material
in emblem literature.

I have tried to address the problem in my study course on
the interpretation of alchemical symbolism, and I may have
even have tried the patience of some of the participants in my
2003 workshop on alchemical symbolism by constantly
returning to this theme.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Peter Forshaw
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2003

Dear Janet,

You may find it useful to look at Heinrich Khunrath's most
famous engraving of the Oratory-laboratory, the fourth
circular figure in his Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae
(Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom). See

http://www.library.wisc.edu:2784/libraries/SpecialCollections/khunrath/

It was 'painted' (pinxit) by Hans Vredeman de Vries, famous for
his Theatrum Vitae Humanae (1577). Various books exist about
de Vries, one of the most useful being:

Ger Luijten (ed.), Hollstein's Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and
Woodcuts 1450-1700, Vol. XLVIII, Vredeman de Vries, Part II 1572-1630,
Rotterdam: Sound and Vision Interactive, 1997, in particular pages 162-4
concerning the 'Laboratory of the Alchemist Heinrich Khunrath'.

There you can also see many other examples of his non-alchemical
work and gain some idea of how it influenced Khunrath's engraving.
There is a particularly interesting image, for example, of a body laid
out on a table, with a very similar perspective to the Laboratory
engraving.

I'd agree with Adam, too, that far more attention needs to be paid
to the Emblem tradition ... again Hollstein's series of German and
Dutch engravings casts some fascinating light on the general
context of imagery ... the recurrence of elements alchemical
engravings share, for example, with more orthodox religious ones.

I hope this information's of some interest.

All the best,
Peter


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2003

Dear Adam,

Thanks for the information about Merian in today's posting. I'll
try to get a look at Wuthrich's book, but meanwhile I do have a
facsimile copy of the Iconum Biblicarum with Merian's engravings
which I've been using for comparison purposes.

(Your discussion of Merian brings up another question, however,
and that is the identity of the engraver of the Atalanta Fugiens.
Has Merian been definitively identified as the engraver, or is there
still some question about de Bry?)

Thanks also for the reference to your passage about Elizabethan
ruffs in the archive of February, 2001. I've just reread it and
completely agree that stylistic elements in alchemical manuscripts
must be looked at both in their historical context and as part of
the emblematic tradition. I have recently read David R. Carlson's book:
English Humanist Books : Writers and Patrons, Manuscript and Print,
1475-1525, which talks not only about the practice of patronage
but also includes a section on the needs of printers This book,
of course, is unrelated to my specific questions about the
Atalanta Fugiens because it applies neither in time nor in
geographic location, but for me it has provided a helpful introduction
to the intricate relationships between patron, author, and printer.

Thanks again for the help.

Janet Muff


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2003

Dear Peter,

Thank you for the suggestions. I'll look at Khunrath's engraving
this weekend, and will see about locating the Luijten book.

I've long been under the impression that alchemical works, and
specifically the Atalanta Fugiens which I am studying, incorporate
layers and layers meaning, some of it relating to the individual
authors and engravers, some to professional or craft traditions (such
as medicine or engraving), some to the culture and geography,
some to the times, and some to the symbolic or spiritual realm.
And I'm sure other scholars could add factors to the list which
I've not thought about.

In any case, thanks again for the help.

Janet


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003
From: M. E. Warlick

Hi Janet, Adam and Peter,

In the Golden Game, De Rola asserts that de Bry was the engraver.
Duveen thought so as well. Most others think it was Merian.
It may be difficult to weed out the production of various artists
and engravers with de Bry, but I'd also be interested to know if
anyone is working on this aspect.

M.E. Warlick


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003

Hi M.E,

How are you? I hope your own work is going well.

I, too, would be very interested to know if anyone has sorted
out the question of de Bry vs. Merian with respect to the Atalanta
Fugiens. (Hereward may be able to offer something in this
regard when he returns from vacation next week.)

In 1617 (the date of publication of the Atalanta Fugiens) Johann
Theodor de Bry would have been in his late 50's and Merian
would have been --what? 24?

But youth, alone, would not be enough to disqualify Merian because,
as we all know, many talented artists and musicians have produced
major works at an even earlier age. So, it seems to me the question
will be definitively answered from newly emerging facts (letters, notes,
whatever) or from a scholarly comparison of relevant works by both
engravers. That's as far as my thinking goes, but I'd like to hear
other ideas on the subject.

Janet


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003
From: M. E. Warlick

Hi Janet,

As you know well, the process of engraving was typically divided
into two separate tasks, an artist who drew the design and an
engraver who cut it onto the plate. It might be useful to clarify
this for academy members who are less familiar with artistic
practices. Merian (or de Bry) would have designed the image,
and I assume that the de Bry firm employed a number of engravers
to work on their various projects.

1617 was also the year that Merian married de Bry's daughter, Maria
Magdalena, so that was a busy time for him!

I'd also like to return to a comment made earlier by Peter, about the
connections between alchemical engravings and the emblem tradition.
I also wondered if there might be some connections between the
two, but after spending some time looking at emblem books at
Glasgow, I couldn't find much to compare. Although my search
was by no means exhaustive, it seems that with few exceptions,
emblems with alchemical symbols usually follow alchemical
publications, not the reverse. There are certainly artistic parallels
to be found, such as the influence on Merian of Crispin de Passe's
emblems for Gabriel Rollenhagen's "Nucleus Emblematicum" (1611),
specifically his use of single figures in front of landscapes. In
Ripa's "Iconologia" the symbol for "Fraud" is a double headed
figure standing on a dragon. He is thus adapting the alchemical
androgyne to signify fraud, in the same spirit as earlier writers
dismissed alchemy as a symbol of human folly. Ripa may have been
inspired by the androgyne of vice found in manuscript versions of the
Buch der Heiligen Dreifaltikeit, which also predate Ripa's earlist
publication. As Adam has often pointed out, the artists and engravers
of the printed texts were well versed in alchemical manuscript
imagery, but adapted those earlier models to reflect new artistic
conventions at their disposal. Still, it may be that other connections
between alchemical engravings and emblems can be
found.

M.E.


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003

Peter,

I followed up on your suggestion to look at Khunrath's
Oratory-laboratory at the Duveen collection website. Of course,
I'm familiar with the image, but have never seen it in such detail!
Thanks for the tip.

I'm still working on locating the Luijten book so that I can read the
relevant section.

Janet


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Peter Forshaw
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003

Dear M.E. and Janet,

As usual I'm speaking from the context of Khunrath, which means
to say not really pure alchemical emblems of the kind produced
for Maier, Mylius et al.

I was thinking along the lines of the Amphitheatre's Laboratory-Oratory
which includes phrases shared by emblems (Festina Lente and
Maturandum) ... less a case of the one influencing the other than of
them drawing from a similar context. Festina Lente of course
appeared pretty much everywhere, being a favourite of Thurneisser
and even the motto of Khunrath's patron in Trebon Vilem Rozmberk.
Rollenhagen's "Nucleus Emblematicum" (1611), as far as I recall
uses Khunrath's famous Owl image, either on the title-page or in
one of the emblems ... in fact, while not strictly alchemical, this
image appears frequently in later emblem literature.

Peter


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003

Hello M.E.

Thanks again for your further response.

I do understand the two-step process of engraving, but
appreciate your having reminded me -- us -- of the distinction
between the artist and the actual engraver. The thing that strikes
me as I try to absorb the body of Maier's work -- and that I haven't
said before now -- is the volume and magnitude of what was
accomplished by Maier and his artist cohorts in only a few years.
In the two years bracketing the publication of the Atalanta Fugiens,
meaning 1616-1618, ten works were produced!
(For me, it's like trying to take in all that William Blake achieved -- the
sheer quantity is mind-boggling. They must have burned a lot of
midnight oil.)

I also appreciate your reflections on the emblem tradition. As you
know, I'm playing "catch-up" in that area. Although I've been reading
on the subject and have begun looking at various emblem books --
and can see the parallels between their images and alchemical ones --
I've barely scratched the surface.

It's going to take an exhaustive (or do I mean exhausting?) process of
dating and comparisons between the manuscripts to determine which
influenced which, which came first -- the chicken or the egg?

I'll try to hunt down the images that you've referenced in your message
-- de Passe's emblems for the "Nucleus Emblematicum" and Ripa's
"Fraud" figure.

Thanks again for the help and encouragement.

Janet


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003
From: M. E. Warlick

Hi Janet,

Jacque van Lennep's "Alchimie" (1984) is a good place to
start if you want to compare alchemical manuscripts and engravings.
It is out now in a 2nd edition, and so much easier to find than before.
He reproduces many images from the manuscripts, and along with
De Rola's Golden Game, you'd have much of what you would need.
There have been some individual studies of manuscripts published
since his book first appeared, tweaking the dates a bit, but whenever
I return to his book, I'm in awe of how much territory he covered.

Good luck with your search!

M.E.


Subject: ACADEMY : Celibacy
From: Elizabeth O'Mahoney
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003

Dear all,

I am writing a PhD on the representation of gender in seventeenth
century Netherlandish genre paintings of the alchemist's workshop
and would very much appreciate your help.


I am of the understanding that while, for many centuries, celibacy
was key to the status of the adept, by the seventeenth (and indeed
sixteenth) century the spiritual purity of the alchemist could happily
encompass family life, with many celebrated alchemists supporting
wives and kids.

Unfortunately, my supervisors insist I reference this and I am having
trouble locating any bibliographical evidence for a point which I have
obviously gleaned from more focussed research.

If anyone has an idea of any primary or secondary sources which
mention this issue I would really appreciate your letting me know.

With many thanks and best wishes,

Elizabeth O'Mahoney


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: B. Krummenacher
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003

Hi Janet,

>I've long been under the impression that alchemical works, and specifically
the Atalanta Fugiens which I am studying, incorporate layers and layers
meaning, some of it relating to the individual authors and engravers, some
to professional or craft traditions (such as medicine or engraving), some to
the culture and geography, some to the times, and some to the symbolic or
spiritual realm. And I'm sure other scholars could add factors to the list
which I've not thought about.

You have forgotten the most important one: The practice of the work.
If you know to really read the alchemical symbolism then you can
derive from such emblems a whole set of operations for getting
the so called philosophical substances the alchemists have worked
out and with. Alchemy primarily is a practical "art" with many other
implications.

You may compare that to our modern sciences. I'm convinced if
you would read modern books about physics or chemistry without
the knowledge of their code or the symbolic language used, you
never would imagine that they are describing real things. In alchemy
we have just the same situation.

Regards,

Beat Krummenacher


Subject: ACADEMY : Celibacy
From: Deborah E. Harkness
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003

Dear Elizabeth:

My article on John Dee's household ("Managing an Experimental
Household: The Dees of Mortlake and the Practice of Natural
Philosophy," Isis 88 (1997): 247-262) discusses his family life
as well as his alchemical pursuits.

Best,

Deborah Harkness


Subject: ACADEMY : Celibacy
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003
From: M. E. Warlick

Hi Elizabeth,

In my "Domestic Alchemist" article (Glasgow Emblem
Studies, 3 (1998): 25-47, I briefly mention the transition from
Brueghel's Alchemist, and the centrality of his wife in that
engraving, to the marginalization of wives in later 17th century
Dutch genre paintings. I expanded this a bit in my "Moon Sisters"
chapter in "The Golden Egg: Alchemy in Art and Literature,"
ed. Alexandra Lembert and Elmar Schenkel, Berlin: Galda and Wilch,
2002, adding a discussion of the Leipzig painting of the "Alchemist
and his Wife" by David III Ryckaert.

I've also given a conference paper on "The Foolish Alchemist's
Wife" at the 2002 Pasadena conference of the Society for Literature
and Science. This paper has not been published, but it will be
included as a chapter in my book (still under construction) on
alchemical images of women. That chapter will be more of an
overview, and these paintings could certainly use a sustained
investigation by a Dutch specialist, particularly expanding the
issues of patronage. You may already be in touch with Lloyd De
Witt at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, who
with Lawrence Principe wrote their "Transmutations: Alchemy
in Art" catalogue, about their collection of such paintings. I'd be
happy to correspond with you off line on any or all of
these sources.

M. E. Warlick (University of Denver)



Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Peter Forshaw
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003

Dear Janet,

I don't know where you're based, but you can find the
Luijten book, indeed the whole series, at the Warburg
Institute, London.

Peter


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003

Hi M.E.

Thanks for the suggestions. I've got van Lennep's "Alchimie"
and "The Golden Game" in my library and will go through them
yet again. I also have the Glasgow Emblem Series on Alchemy,
but very little if anything on emblem books as a genre. I'm
interested in knowing whether anyone has made a systematic
historical comparison of alchemical manuscripts and other
emblem books with the intent of discerning a trail of influence,
for lack of a better term -- to discover who influenced whom,
what images influenced what other images. That's a huge task
and way out of my field, but I think it's important and very
interesting.

So, please let me know if there are any writings of this sort. I truly
appreciate the tutorial on emblem literature and would like to
learn more.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to stay focused on my own work.

Janet


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003

Dear Beat,

Thanks for the reminder to be more clear. I take for granted
that alchemical manuscripts contain alchemical symbolism,
and that this is central to studying an alchemical work.
Given that as a basis, then, the intention of my message was
to posit other layers of meaning.

When I hear you say that alchemy is a "practical 'art,'" I couldn't
agree more. But I suspect that the venue for my practice
(the analytic situation) differs markedly from yours and from the
focus of this group. I am grateful, however, to be able to learn
from your different perspective and ideas as I struggle with my
understanding of alchemy in general and the Atalanta Fugiens
in particular.

Janet


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003
From: M.E. Warlick

Hi Janet,

Although now quite dated, Mario Praz's overview of the emblem
tradition is a good place to start. Emblem specialists have noted
the book's shortcomings, but it should be helpful, and fairly available.

Mario Praz, Studies in seventeenth-century imagery.
Publ info Roma, Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1964.
Edition 2d ed., considerably increased.

The large catalogue by Arthur Henkel and Albrecht Schoene,
Emblemata: Handbuch zur sinnbild Kunst des XVI und XVII
Jahrhunderts, Stuttgart, Metzlersche, 1967, may be harder to find
(there is a copy in Glasgow), but it contains a more thorough
listing of emblem books and gives visual examples from almost
all of the texts.

The periodicals Glasgow Emblem Studies and Emblematica
contain scholarly articles on more specific areas of the emblem
tradition.

Happy hunting!

M.E.


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Hi M. E. (and Janet),

> The large catalogue by Arthur Henkel and Albrecht Schoene,
> Emblemata: Handbuch zur sinnbild Kunst des XVI und XVII
> Jahrhunderts, Stuttgart, Metzlersche, 1967, may be harder to find
> (there is a copy in Glasgow), but it contains a more thorough
> listing of emblem books and gives visual examples from almost
> all of the texts.

There is also a bibliography of manuscripts, co-authored
by Barbara Obrist, the leading alchemical scholar:

Bibliography of emblematic manuscripts
edited by Sandra Sider with Barbara Obrist
Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997

I saw it some time ago but there is little on alchemy IIRC.

There is a digital copy of _Thesavrvs Sapientia Civilis_ by
Daniel Meichsner (1626) in HAB. It contains a number of
emblems that are easily recognizable as influenced
by (or even copied from) well known alchemical engravings
- but are here used in non-alchemical context.
You will find it here:

http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/qun-607-3/start.htm

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Peter Forshaw
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003

>There is also a bibliography of manuscripts, co-authored
>by Barbara Obrist, the leading alchemical scholar:
>
> Bibliography of emblematic manuscripts
> edited by Sandra Sider with Barbara Obrist
> Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997

Obrist is a very useful source. I'd suggest her Les Débuts de
l'Imagerie Alchimique (XIVe-XVe sičcles), Paris: Éditions le
Sycomore, 1982, though I still haven't managed to get my own copy,
even on abe. I also enjoyed Mino Gabriele's Alchimia e Iconologia.
Udine: Forum, 1997 and Uwe Junker's Das 'Buch der Heiligen
Dreifaltigkeit' in seiner zweiten, alchemistischen Fassung (Kadolzburg
1433). Arbeiten der Forschungsstelle des Instituts für Geschichte der
Medizin der Universität zu Köln, Band 40, Köln: Kölner medizinhistorische
Beiträge, 1986. I admit, not exactly emblems and alchemy,
but all stimulating discussions of alchemical imagery.

Peter


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Peter Forshaw
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003

Ah, Janet, well that would make rather a long trip to the Warburg!
If you get more interested on De Vries as engraver, you will definitely
find this work useful:

Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Renaissance im Norden,
Herausgegeben von Heiner Borggrafe et al, München, Hirmer
Verlag, 2002.

Further info on De Vries can also be found in Hans Vollmer (ed.),
Allgemeines Lexicon der Bildenen Künstler von der Antike bis
zur Gegenwart, Vol. XXXIV, Leipzig: Verlag von E. A. Seemann,
1940, pp.575-578.

The other names linked with Khunrath's engravings are
'Paullus von der Doort Antverpien': Paul or Peter van der Doort
(or Doost) was Superintendent of the Dutch Poor in Hamburg
around the time he engraved on Khunrath's circular engravings
and is otherwise known for a picture of the Holy Family, one of a
sailing ship, and a view of the city of Hamburg with figures in costume.
See Ulrich Thieme (ed.), Allgemeines Lexicon der Bildenen Künstler
von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, Vol.IX, Leipzig: Verlag von E. A.
Seemann, 1913, p.465.

Johann Diricks van Campen engraved Khunrath's portrait in
Magdeburg in 1602 and may well have engraved the other 1602
rectangular engravings. See Thieme, pp.326-7.

To be honest, I've not gone into any more detail on these characters,
focussing instead on translating the 1609 Amphitheatre with its
engravings and concentrating on Khunrath's Alchemy, Magic and
Christian-Cabala. I've a fair amount of information on the reception
of Khunrath's images and variations of them in later books and
manuscripts, but remain an ignoramus as far as engravers are concerned.

If you have any questions regarding the occult issues, please ask, and I'll
do my best.

Peter


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemists & Engravers
From: Janet Muff
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003

Hello Rafal,

Thank you for the reference to the Thesaurus Sapientia Civilis.
As you say, the influence of alchemy is readily apparent in the
images. I'm intruiged by the title and wonder about the intended
audience. Meichsner is not familiar to me, so I'm going to try
to learn a little more about him.

Janet