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Alchemy Academy archive
February 2001

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Subject: ACADEMY : John Dee's Rosicrucian secrets
From: Robert Vanloo
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2001

I refer to the Harleian MSS N° 6485 intitled "The Rosie Crucian
Secrets" of which there has been a reprint in 1985 by the
Aquarian Press.

In his Preface, E.J. Langford Garstin does not bring much
light on the subject of the MSS' authorship and he quotes as
possible : Fludd, Vaughan, Maier, etc. Some others give
Dee's own son as the possible author.

Has anybody more precise information on the subject ?

Merci à tous.

Robert Vanloo


Subject: ACADEMY : John Dee's Rosicrucian secrets
From: Adam McLean
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2001

Harleian Mss 6485 is one of a group of manuscripts, from
6481 to 6486, written by Peter Smart or Rudd purporting to be
from earlier manuscripts to which he had access.

The 'Rosicrucian Secrets of John Dee' manuscript has
nothing at all to do with John Dee, but was Smart or Rudd's
copy and paraphrase of various alchemical writings from
earlier in the 17th century, some by Christopher Heydon. I
pointed this out to the publishers, Aquarian Press, before
they published the book in 1985 and I provided them with
full information on the origins of the texts in this book and
the fact that they could have had nothing whatsoever to
do with Dee. But they chose not to listen - they wanted to
have John Dee's name attached to this book to add to its
sales. Three or four times a year I have someone write
to me believing this work to be by Dee. To me it is
attrocious that editors, knowing the truth about some
manuscript or drawings, should instead mischievously
publish this in such a way as to delude future readers
and perpetuate untruths.

The main source for the material in this manuscript is
Christopher Heydon's 'Elharvareuna'. Then there is the
famous letter of Helvetius. The dictionary section
is an extract from a well known work. The Laws of the
Rosicrucians is an adaptation of Michael Maier. The
tree diagrams are from Samuel Norton's books issued
in 1630.

It is merely a compilation made in the late 17th or
early 18th century, posing as a manuscript of Dee.
All the sections are extensively altered by the
compiler to suite his own agenda. It illustrates the
continuation of the need by some alchemists to
pass off material as dating from a previous time
and ascribe it to a well known historical figure.

The Aquarian Press seemed to want to continue
this tradition for mercenary rather than alchemical
reasons. Regrettably their decision has much
confused those who don't have easy access to the
original works.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY : Ruffs on well dressed women in emblems
From:Jackson Wiley
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2001

I have long been puzzled by the well dressed women
that are in a few of the "women's work" emblems. Such
well dressed women can be seen in emblem #22 of Mylius
'Philosophia Reformata' (Magnum Opus # 19) and
'Splendor Solis' emblem # 21(Magnum Opus #8. In Mylius
emblem #22 the woman pouring the water in the vessel
(washtub) is wearing a ruff.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a ruff as follows:
"A stiffly starched, frilled or pleated circular collar of lace,
muslin, or other fine fabric, worn by men and women in the
16th and 17th centuries".

There is a photo next to the definition of a painting of a
woman of this time era wearing such a ruff. In the same
dictionary, the definition of a stomacher as "a decoritive,
heavily embroidered or jeweled garment formally worn
over the chest and stomach, especially by women" is
accompanied by a photo of a woman wearing such garment.
The garment is accompanied by the same distinctive
collar or ruff.

As there is a picture of a young man in Splendor Solis
emblem #11 wearing a "ruff" is also puzzling and proof that
it shows up in other emblems.

In "The Domestic Alchemist by M.E. Warlick in "Emblems
and Alchemy" (Glasgow Emblem Studies) edited by Alison
Adams of the French Department of Universityof Glasgow
G12 8QQ, Scotland, there is a crudely, hand coloured
woodcut (reproduced in black and white) of the same
Splendor Solis Emblem #21 which takes care to show
both women washing with the ruffs or collars in place.

Herein lies the difficulty. It is easy to project various
meanings and Adam has admomished us to be careful of
such projections. However, Adam has also advised us
that every symbol is present in each emblem for a reason.
Also, if one reads the commentary for Mylius in Magnum
Opus # 19 one cannot ignore that a kind of help came to
the plainly dressed woman in emblem #22.

My question is: What "help" (if in fact any, was rendered
to the plainly dressed young woman by a well dressed
and peasant-dressed woman doing "Women's Work "?) is
symbolized by these collars if any and/or what importance
do the collars represent in emblem #21 of Splendor Solis
insofar as women's work is concerned?

Is there any evidence of garments that are related to a
stomacher being obscured or otherwise?

Lastly, Adam had mentioned some 3-5 years ago that
the topic of 15th-17th century clothing is neglected.
I would hope to open this topic up a little. Could anyone
make suggestions as to how to open the topic up (books,
websites) ?Thanks.

It does seem that it should not be neglected and I am
presenting the above as examples that it should not.

Jackson Wiley


Subject: ACADEMY : Ruffs on well dressed women in emblems
From: Adam McLean
Date: 2 Feb 2001


> Adam has also advised us that every symbol
>is present in each emblem for a reason.

Yes, but the first thing we must learn to do is to
identify what is an alchemical symbol and what
is merely a decorative element.

If we see a dragon in a alchemical emblem we can
be quite sure that this is an alchemical symbol. It
seems quite unambiguous. But what about a tree?
The tree is a key symbol in alchemy but not all
trees in alchemical emblems are alchemical symbols
- they are often merely decorative elements in the
background. So it is not always obvious what is a
symbol and what is not.

The other thing we have to hold in mind is that the
engravers of many alchemical emblems were not
themselves alchemists or even the author of the image.
They were craftsmen working for printing houses.
They did not make a living just from engraving
alchemical emblems but from providing
emblematic imagery for a wide variety of books.

Thus consider Matthieu Merian - a well known
alchemical engraver who worked for the publishing
house of Lucas Jennis. Some years ago a book
was published on Merian which included illustrations of
many of his engravings. Seeing this book it is obvious
to me that he created much more material on general
themes and only a small part of his output was devoted to
illustrating alchemical works. Thus Merian's style was
derived primarily from the then flourishing tradition
of emblem books, and much of the way he depicted
landscapes and the human figures and their costumes
seems to be derived from his working within this tradition.
These stylistic elements were incorporated in his general
emblems work thus flowed over into his alchemical
emblems. So it may be that before rushing to identify
the ruff as an alchemical symbol, we might be better
trying to see if this was used in his (or his contemporaries)
depiction of the human figure. It may be merely a
decorative device.

An example of this is seen in the stylised 'Roman' or
'classical costume' seen in emblems of that time. This
particular depiction seems to be mostly a convention
of the time. (In much the same way as women in science
fiction films today are usually depicted wearing tight
fitting lycra costumes !)

Attached are two examples of this stylised 'Roman'
costume from the Balthazar Schwan engravings for Mylius
and the other from the Book of Lambspring.





So in order to deal with components of an emblem that
are not unambiguously identified as alchemical symbols
one really needs to view the emblem within its cultural
context. This means we have to look at the wider emblem
literature and the styles of illustration current at the time.

So it is not always easy to identify a component as an
alchemical symbol. I myself would just place the ruff
in the category 'decorative element' though if one
found some consistent use of the imagery which
elaborated some insight into the structure of an
alchemical emblem, I would be happy to promote this
component to the category of 'alchemical symbol'. But
for now I don't recognise it as such.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY : Ruffs on well dressed women in emblems
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001
From: C.M. Mackay

I can only really speak for sixteenth century England, but
certainly in the late Elizabethan period, ruffs and stomachers
both extended pretty far down in society. Women of
clothes-washing class would have worn ruffs, though I have
my doubts about stomachers, as they severely restrict
movement, making bending down very difficult. They were
not, however always heavily decorated, and it is conceivable
that women of all but the lowest class could have worn them,
though not, I think, to wash clothes.

The Elizabethan Costuming Page

(http://www.dnaco.net/~aleed/corsets/general.html)

is the best place I know for information on sixteenth century
clothing - it includes lots of reproductions of contemporary
pictures, including several of working class men and women
(and despite its name, it is not restricted to Elizabethan
England, but covers a much wider area and timescale.)
There are also links to other web-sites and details of various
publications.
There is quite a lot on sumptuary laws - obviously an
important starting place for any exploration of the symbolic
meaning of Tudor dress.

I hope this is of some help.

Catriona Mackay
Newnham College, Cambridge


Subject: ACADEMY : Hautnorton
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: 3 Feb 2001

Dear Adam,

You stated that "the work itself is ascribed to the Unknown
Philosopher and Adept (LCS), but bibliographers of alchemy
have not yet been able to identify this person."

The above sentence strikes me as quite odd since the
Unknown Philosopher is indeed Louis Claude de Saint-Martin.

Could you please enlighten me further as to this supposed
ascription?

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola


Subject: ACADEMY : Hautnorton
From: Adam McLean
Date: 3 Feb 2001

>"the work itself is ascribed to the Unknown Philosopher and
>Adept (LCS), but bibliographers of alchemy have not yet
>been able to identify this person."
>The above sentence strikes me as quite odd since the
>Unknown Philosopher is indeed Louis Claude de Saint-Martin.
>Could you please enlighten me further as to this supposed
>ascription?

Dear Stanislas Klossowski de Rola,

I should have said 'an Unknown Philosopher'.
Louis Claude Saint-Martin could not have written this book
published in 1752. As I understand it he was born in 1743,
died in 1803. In any case there is a manuscript of the work
in Yale, dated to 1735.

In my edition of the Hermaphrodite child I wrote in my
introduction :

" The Hermaphroditische Sonn- und Mond-Kind was printed
at Mainz in 1752. Although the text is relatively obscure
and impenetrable, the power of the series of twelve
engravings attracted people to this work, and the fascination
of these images still remains with us today. The work was
reprinted twenty seven years later in the well known
German alchemical compendium Hermetisches A.B.C.
issued in four volumes by Ringmacher at Berlin in 1778-9.

The work itself is ascribed to the "Unknown Philosopher
and Adept (L. C. S.)", but bibliographers of alchemy have
not yet been able to identify this person. The title page
further indicates that the work includes "explanations of
verses by the famous Swedish Adept Norton". John
Ferguson and other bibliographers take this to be a
reference to Josaphat Friederich Hautnorton, the
seventeenth-century alchemical writer of Der Verlangte
Dritte Anfang der Mineralischen Dingen, Luycken,
Amsterdam, 1657 which was written by "Sonn Sendivogii,
genant I.F.H.S." This work became better known under
the title Lucerna Salis Philosophorum, issued in Latin a
year later by Betkius, Amsterdam, 1658. The historian of
chemistry, Ole Borch, writing in the late 17th century, claims
these works were written by Johann Harprech, the son of
a professor at Tübingen. Later in the eighteenth century,
Roth-Scholtz, the compiler of the vast German compendium,
Deutsches Theatrum Chemicum, 1728, ascribes these
works to Hautnorton, though indicating that the initials
J.F.H.S. "may denote Johannes, Filius, Harprechti, Svecus".

It seems unlikely that we can now unravel the authorship of
the work, and from its structure we see that the different
sections may have been written by different people. The
work is divided into twelve sections each headed by an
emblematic figure. The text of these sections begins with
an 'explanation of the figure', followed by a short verse, a
'paragraph' with its 'explanation', and lastly a 'canon' or
short verse with its 'explanation'. The title page of the work
is entirely in sympathy with the view that the book takes
the form of a series of images and related verses, to which
commentaries have been added by later writers. Whether
this is true, or that this is merely a device of the 18th century
writer or publisher to give the work a spurious antiquity,
requires a deep textual analysis of the work, which will
not be undertaken in this present book. Perhaps some
German scholar might some day be able to answer these
questions as to its origins, and whether all the components
of the work were written by the same author. I find the text
coheres between the seemingly different components
and in my commentary I will treat this work as a unified
conception. "

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Ruffs on well dressed women in emblems
From: Jackson Wiley
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001

Just a word of thanks for the responses received.

Adam, thank you for a response that is humorous, realistic
(the practical aspects of printing and engraving the
emblems had been neglected by me. This added
information has greatly enriched my overview of the
"finished products" - the books that were produced.)
Also, the other information provided will help to keep
me on track!

Thanks also to C.M. Mackay. Your knowledge goes far
beyond mere dictionary definitions and , along with
Adam's response, has helped to open a whole new
area to me, thus giving me a much broader overview
to keep in mind. Thanks so much for the web site address!
I have already printed out the main menu and scanned a
few articles. This will give me a great start!

Jackson Wiley


Subject: ACADEMY : Forbidden Alchemy
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2001
From: C-M Edenborg

I have often wondered why alchemy - with it's hubris and
potentially subversive ambitions - didn't draw more attention
from the juridical system in early modern Europe. I only
know of a few legislations and cases of censorship (for
example, the swedish king Karl XII prohibited the distribution
of alchemical texts in the beginning of the 18th century).

Now, I read in Fricks Die Erleuchteten about a law against
alchemy in Vienna 1785. Does anyone know anything more
specific on this case and where to read more about it?

Does anyone know about other laws against alchemy
during the 18th century?

Best wishes,

Carl-Michael Edenborg


Subject: ACADEMY : Latin Translation
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001
From: Michal Pober

Dear Friends,

I wonder if there is anyone in our circle who would be able
and willing to undertake the translation into English, though
French, German Spanish would also be of interest, of a
shortish [less than 3 double-spaced pages] Latin text of
alchemical recipes originating from the 15th century and
reprinted in the 18th C?

A long and complicated tale - aren't they all?? - but these
recipes link Hynek Minsterbersky, the son of the Czech
King George of Podebrady, to alchemy.

They were recently discovered by Dr Lubos Antonin of
the National Museum in Prague and have been
authenticated and translated into Czech by Dr Vladimir
Karpenko of the Dept. of Physical Chemistry of Charles
University.

Dr K presented a paper about them at our symposium
last May in Kutna Hora [in the very building where Hynek
was believed to have had his laboratory in the adjacent
tower - and the premises which will shortly be used as
part of the Alchemy Museum in Kutna Hora] and
published an article about them in a Czech History of
Science magazine last year [Dejiny Ved a Techniky].

We don't have a budget for the translation but can
offer credit for the work, which will be published in various
forms and a high-level membership of the Museum
with certain priveleges!

With best regards - and stand by for an announcement
soon about the opening date of the Museum.

Michal Pober



Subject: ACADEMY : Forbidden Alchemy
From: Michael Martin
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001

Alchemy was outlawed in England during the
Renaissance, not that the authorities were in hot pursuit.
Mostly they were concerned with would-be alchemists
shaving gold from coins and passing the coins off as
real weights.
John Poole did a little time for such an offense, I believe,
and met Christopher Marlowe in gaol. Charles Nicholl, in
The Chemical Theatre, suggests this meeting may
have influenced Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.

Hope this helps.

Michael


Subject: ACADEMY : Ripley scroll sold for £200,000
From: Adam McLean
Date: 8 February 2001
A 17th century version of the Ripley Scroll was sold at
Sotheby's auction house in London on 19th December 2000.

This seems to be a version which has been in the hands of a family
in England for some time. It was a previously unknown copy and this
takes the count of scrolls to over 20.

You can see images of the manuscript in the Sotheby's catalogue
or on their web site. The person who drew up the catalogue
did not identify it as a Ripley scroll but they included illustrations
from the scroll it was easy for people to identify it as such.
It is lot 1 in sale L00215 English literature and history
19th december 2000.

http://www.sothebys.com/cgi-bin/osform.exe/lotservice?osforms_template=lotDetail.oft&LotOID=28|33669288&startSetIndex=1&Catalogue=Full

The estimate was in the range £6,000 GBP - £8,000 GBP but it
Sold for £201,250 GBP. This is a remarkable price for such
an item. There must have been a real bidding battle between
a few people who desparately wanted this manuscript . I am
not sure who bought the manuscript.

I had known about it before the auction and was interested
to see what price it would fetch, but £200,000 has staggered
me. It shows there is real interest in such emblematic
alchemical material.

The version seems very poor quality, unlike the early version
which date back over a hundred years to the first decades of
the 16th century.

Now I wonder if I could get even a 200th of this price for
my own coloured facsimile of one of the early versions ?

Probably not ! ! !

Best wishes,

Adam


Subject: ACADEMY : King James and the golden rose
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001

In studying the Danish alchemist Olaus Borrichius Itinerarium
1660-1665 published by Brill, Leiden 1983 edited by H. D.
Schepetem, vol. III p. 29 I have found a curious tale.
Borrichius was in Oxford to see the alchemist/chemist Peter
Stahl. Borrichius says after reporting a vist to the Templo
Westermonasteriense, Oxford in June 1663 that:

"The by him seen noble golden rose with the inscription Rex
Jacobus, added on to the remarkable (singular) rose, was
by him thought to have been contrived by the Fraternity
of the Rosicrucians +, and of their sort of people many live
today in England."

"Visam sibi rosam nobilem auream cum inscriptione Regis
Jacobi, et rosâ singulari additâ, illam credi sibi a Fratr:
Ros: + elaboratam, ex eo hominum genere multos vivere
hodie in Anglia."

Thus here is a historical record of the golden rose, similar
to the one conferred to initiates in modern day Rosicrucian
orders. The connection to James highlights the Rosicrucian
Christmas card given to James I by Michael Maier in 1611
and described by Adam McLean in an article. John Heydon
was publishing his Rosicrucian pamphlets at the time in
England, but perhaps this is a more genuine observation of
Rosicrucians in discussions between two advanced
alchemists/ chemists.

I have also retraced my steps on the supposed distinction
between the golden and rosy cross in Fludd. It is Paul Sedir,
Histoire et doctrines des Rose Croix, Rouen 1932 p. 59-60
who claims this with a note to Fludd's Apologia compendiaria
Fraternitatem de Rosea Crucis suspicionis et infamiae
maculis aspersam veritatis quasi fluctibus abluens et
abstergens, Leiden, 1616. Hereward Tilton has denied that
it occurrs in that print or in Fludd's lengthier Tractatus
apologeticus integritatem societatis de Rosea Cruce
defendens. Leiden 1617. I am glad that I have actually read
this in an Italian edition of Sedir and been mislead, and not
merely listened to hearsay. If Tilton is right my statement
on Fludd's distinction in Rose Cross Over the Baltic ought
to be deleted.

Yet this finding in Borrichius gives some background to
legends spread among modern day Rosicrucians.


Susanna Akerman


Subject: ACADEMY : Ripley scroll sold for £200,000
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson

Dear Adam,

I think your question is indeed interesting - who would
be so interested in the document, and why? Is such
information public, since the bidding is public?

Catherine


Subject: ACADEMY : Ripley scroll sold for £200,000
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001
From: Adam McLean
Catherine Fox-Anderson wrote:

>who would be so interested in the document, and why?
>Is such information public, since the bidding is public?


Unfortunately auction houses do not usually publish the
names of the successful bidder. This is for obvious and
understandable security reasons.

Of course one immediately speculates that the buyer was
a large US institution, but I have heard a rumour that it
has not gone to the USA but to a European collector.

Perhaps in time something will emerge about the new
location of the manuscript.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Forbidden Alchemy
Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2001
From: Deborah E. Harkness

I inadvertently deleted the original query, but I have also
found references in a John Dee manuscript to a man
imprisoned at the Compter in London who taught him
various secrets and also to Jo[achim] Gantz being visited
by Clement Draper in the King's Bench prison. I wonder if
doing these "prison interviews" was common in a period
when prisoners were largely (if not entirely) dependent on
the benevolence of others to get basic needs like food.

Deborah Harkness


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina

Greetings dear colleagues!

I am a new member of the discussion group. To briefly
introduce myself, I am a linguist coming from Minsk,
Belarus, where I currently live. I am working towards a
Ph.D. (an equivalent of, "Candidatskaya" to be more
exact, for the Russian speaking audience if there is
any), the dissertation entitled "Correlation of the
Universal and Ethno-Individual via the Secondary
Lingvo-Semiotic Code" (it is not as tricky as it
sounds, the "secondary code" referring to the
cognitive roots - or routes - of the metaphor and the
allegory), presuming the Alchemy to be one the
languages the Truth itself speaks. One facet of the
work makes a theoretical research in Semiotics (which
can be viewed upon as an interdisciplinary research on
the junction of (cognitive) linguistics, (cognitive)
psychology and philosophy (gnosiology) - if the
academic audience be interested in that spectre of the
detail), the other facet being formed by research on
Alchemy as it is (semantics of the Alchemical texts),
interpretatory to a certain extent, simultaneously
producing the background material for the first.


Coming to the questions:

1) I would wish to see a body of texts, which I would
tentatively call "Prague block": texts on Alchemy
written, translated, copied or in whatever way emerged
and/or reemerged in Prague (and the vicinity) during
the period of the 12th-15th centuries. Though I shall feel
fairly happy about the textual reflection of the later
high alchemical activity of 16th - beginning of 17th
centuries, my principal interest at this stage is the
epoch preceding the "active phase" of the Rudolfian era,
the latter appearing captivating to me insofar as it
must have collected and drawn to the surface at least
in some portion the none the less valuable sources
appeared and resident in Prague before. As far as I am
aware a noticeably good amount of "library resources'
went to Sweden as a result of the 30-year War but
their further traces remain vague to me. What I am
really looking for is to initially get an idea as
precise as possible of what this "Prague block"
covering 12-15 centuries (& 16-17 inclusive) could
look like (be comprised of) and to what collections it
has dissolved.
Any hints or points to whatever resources with regard
to the above are mostly welcomed. I shall greatly
appreciate any comments you could make.

2) More specifically, have there any bibliographical
monographs been written discussing the issue of the
"Prague block" on any period(s) in the range 12th-17th
centuries; or, alternatively, with a more conventional
scholarly approach covering the philological or even
historical aspect (say on Bohemian literature or based
on a language/subject-matter principle etc.) that
would among others touch upon the issue under
question?

3) Does anybody happen to know if a translation into
English of the following book has ever been done (I
shall manage Czech but would prefer English):

Otakar Zachar, O alchymii a èeských alchymistech,
Praha 1911.

I would be also thankful for other references to any
books by the same author in any language.

Thank you all in advance.

Tatiana Dolinina


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Tatiana,

> 3) Does anybody happen to know if a translation into
> English of the following book has ever been done (I
> shall manage Czech but would prefer English):
> Otakar Zachar, O alchymii a èeských alchymistech,
> Praha 1911.

I am quite sure it has not been translated into any
foreign language.

> I would be also thankful for other references to any
> books by the same author in any language.

There were two important serialized articles by him
in _Casopis Ceskeho Muzea_ (I can easily find the exact
references if you do not know them).

His only other book was not on alchemy but mesmerism
or something similar - I do not remember at the moment
but it was republished recently in Bohemia.

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
From: José Rodríguez
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001

Dear Tatiana:

Urszula Szulakowska and Barbara Obrist have some works on
semiotics and retorical structures in the alchemical allegories.

Concerning your third question, Zachar is a rare resource for
me but some years ago I found a Zachar's book on National
Library of France, collection "Tolbiac - Rez de jardin - Magasin",
cote 8-R-19968:

OTAKAR ZACHAR, (1904), "Rajmund Lullius. Praktyka
Testamentu (L. 1500). Z rukopisu klásterní bibliotheky na
Strahove, s úvodem a vusvetlivkami vydal Otakar Zachar",
nákladem Vlastním, Praze, In-16, 153 pp.

In this book he translates into Czech the second part of the
"Testamentum" attributed to Raimond Lull. I think it is a rare
book because there are no references in Michela Pereira
works on Lull.

Good luck,


José Rodríguez


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001
From: Michal Pober

Dear Tatiana,

I am involved in various activities relating to Alchemy in the Czech Lands
and can perhaps point you in some helpful directions, though I don't have
the expertise to provide direct answers to your questions.

Firstly, for a recent comprehensive overview of Alchemy in the Czech Lands
I would highly recommend "Opus Magnum", published by Trigon Press in 1997.
This has a primary Czech text with an English translation at the back.
This is both a record of an astounding exhibition held in Prague in that
year to co-incide with the huge Rudolf II exhibition and will also
introduce you to the themes and subjects in which you are interested, with
copious references, plus the current important players in the Czech
alchemical world who are almost all represented.
Its relatively expensive in Czech terms at 1871 or 1781 Czech Crowns [I
always forget which, but roughly $50] but its value is priceless..

>As far as I am
>aware a noticeably good amount of "library resources'
>went to Sweden as a result of the 30-year War but
>their further traces remain vague to me.

Though many important libraries did disappear abroad, also to Holland,
there are still many important books and collections here, plus important
archives.
Two particularly notable libraries are those of the Strahov Monastery in
Prague and Mnichovo Hradiste Castle some 70 km. north of Prague. The
National Library and the National Museum Library plus some of the other
Castle Libraries also contain important alchemical manuscripts and printed
books.

>What I am
>really looking for is to initially get an idea as
>precise as possible of what this "Prague block"
>covering 12-15 centuries (& 16-17 inclusive) could
>look like (be comprised of) and to what collections it
>has dissolved.
>Any hints or points to whatever resources with regard
>to the above are mostly welcomed. I shall greatly
>appreciate any comments you could make.

Regarding dates.. paradoxically, though Alchemy became an extremely
important activity in the Czech Lands the first records are quite late.
According to the relevant Opus Magnum article the first activity was at the
beginning of the 14th C and the first written mention in 1394.

Some detailed records of the contents of former libraries exist. I believe
that there is a catalogue, for example, of Petr Vok's library [an
astounding 30,000 volumes] a large part of which probably was inherited
from his brother Wilhelm Rozmberk.

Queen Christina of Sweden's library has been mentioned a number of times in
previous messages as a destination of many books from the Czech lands.
Perhaps you will find those references in the Academy Archives or perhaps
someone like Susanna Akerman will be willing to address this subject.
Leiden also is the location of other significant former Czech collections
but I personally don't know the details of what is there or where it came
from.

>2) More specifically, have there any bibliographical
>monographs been written discussing the issue of the
>"Prague block" on any period(s) in the range 12th-17th
>centuries; or, alternatively, with a more conventional
>scholarly approach covering the philological or even
>historical aspect (say on Bohemian literature or based
>on a language/subject-matter principle etc.) that
>would among others touch upon the issue under
>question?

>3) Does anybody happen to know if a translation into
>English of the following book has ever been done (I
>shall manage Czech but would prefer English):
>
>Otakar Zachar, O alchymii a èeských alchymistech,
>Praha 1911.

Unfortunately not.

>I would be also thankful for other references to any
>books by the same author in any language.

One recent discovery of an alchemical manuscript from the late 15th C to
which I can refer you relates to Hynek of Podebrady, the son of the Czech
king Jiri of Podebrady.
This information was published by Dr Vladimir Karpenko in the jounal "DVT -
dejiny ved a techniky" last year. [cislo 2]
Currently, thanks to members of this Academy the original Latin manuscript
is being translated into English and the Czech article will also be
translated soon.

I can put you in touch directly with people much more knowledgeable than
myself if you would like to contact me directly. Some of them will be
obvious from "Opus Magnum". I feel reluctant to publish directly contact
information for extremely busy people even on this august list though
obviously there are enough clues above to short-cut some of the
labyrinthine tangles to dscovering them.

Finally, in the next few days I will be publishing to this list details of
a programme in Central Bohemia in June which will include a week or more
devoted to Czech Alchemy.

Apologies for the sketchiness of the above; all that I have time for right
now, but I hope that it will provide some help. Conversely I will be
interested to hear of the fruits of your undertaking.

With best regards,

Michal Pober


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001

Tatiana Dolinina wrote:

What I am really looking for is to initially get an idea as
precise as possible of what this "Prague block"
covering 12-15 centuries (& 16-17 inclusive) could
look like (be comprised of) and to what collections it
has dissolved.


Reply:
The Prague collection looted by the Swedes in 1648 was
given by Queen Christina of Sweden to her librarian Isaac
Vossius in 1654 and are now in Leiden and are described in
P. C. Boeren, Codices Vossiani Chymici. Bibliotheca
Universitatis Leidensis. Codices manuscripti xvii. Leiden
1975. The collection can be found at Adam's site, see link
below. Note however that some of the material are from other
looted sites in Germany, Poland and Bohemia. Boeren
sorts it out.

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/almss30.html

We have discussed Boeren's findings before on the academy
on the 28th of September 1999,

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/a-archive_sep99.html


Susanna Akerman


Subject: ACADEMY : Chymia and the Gold- und Rosenkreutz
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001

Can anyone tell me if the members of the 18th century masonic
Gold- und Rosenkreutz used the term chymia (alternatively
chemia) or alchymia (alchemia) or both?

I notice that 'chymia' is used in Richter's 'Warhaffte und
vollkommene Bereitung des Philosophischen Steins';
also Kirchweger uses it in his 'Goldene Kette Homers' (1723);
I don't know when this usage dies out, though. I imagine
some time in the middle of the 18th century, but...

How about in Jolyfief's 'Compaß der Weisen'? And did the
Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia only use the term 'alchemy'
in the nineteenth century

I realise its a tough question, but any info on the practice of
alchemy within later Rosicrucian circles would also be great
(outside of that contained in the work of McIntosh, with which
I am already acquainted).

Many thanks,

Hereward Tilton


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina

Dear José

> Urszula Szulakowska and Barbara Obrist have some
> works on semiotics and rhetorical structures in the
>alchemical allegories.

Thank you for mentioning this, I am always alert to
linguistic approaches. If you happen to have at hand
more exact references I shall be thankful, otherwise
please do not bother, I would manage.


> Concerning your third question, Zachar is a rare
> resource for me but some years ago I found a
> Zachar's book in National Library of France,


Thank you. I know the source. Though I did not really
expect there to be only one half of it. Zachar
translated from Latin and published some alchemical
texts at the dawn of the 20th century - this is why I
am interested.


Regards,

Tatiana Dolinina


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina

Dear Rafal,

> I am quite sure it has not been translated into any
> foreign language.

Thanks - saves me time for searching.


> There were two important serialized articles by him
> in _Casopis Ceskeho Muzea_ (I can easily find the
> exact references if you do not know them).

This does sound promising to me (and might be exactly
what I was hoping for from this side). Does the
"Casopis..." refer to the "Narodni Muzeum" in Prague?
(Did he work there - in the museum and its library I
mean?) Would you please give me the references if it
is really not so difficult for you to get them.

Many thanks & kindest regards.

Tatiana Dolinina


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Tatiana,

> This does sound promising to me (and might be exactly
> what I was hoping for from this side). Does the
> "Casopis..." refer to the "Narodni Muzeum" in Prague?

Yes. In fact at that time it was called _Casopis Musea
Kralovstvi Ceskeho_. The two articles I mentioned are:

1. Z dejin alchymie v Cechach, CCM 1899-1900 (4 parts),
devoted to Bavor ml. Rodovsky z Hustiran and his
translation of the parable of Bernard of Treviso.

2. Rudolf II. a alchymiste, CCM 1912-1913 (3 parts)

He wrote many other articles in various journals,
mostly devoted to the physical side of alchemy.

> (Did he work there - in the museum and its library I
> mean?)

I don't think so. He was a chemical engineer and
I believe he lived in Kladno (where the Lull book
was published at his own expense). He also announced
(in article 2 above and other places) a full length
monograph of Michael Sendivogius (of special
interest to me) as being "at the printers" but
it seems that it has never been published, probably
because of the War.

His papers are in the collections of Literarni
Archiv Pamatniku Narodniho Pismenictvi in Prague.
But the Sendivogius monograph is not among them,
as far as I could ascertain!

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Chymia and the Gold- und Rosenkreutz
From: William S. Aronstein
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001

Dear Mr. Tilton,

Although perhaps not directly related to your concerns on
usage in the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries, you might be
interested in an article published in 1998 in Early Science
and Medicine (volume 3, pages 32-65) by William Newman
and Lawrence Principe: "Alchemy vs. Chemistry: The
etymological origins of a historiographic mistake. They show
that until the end of the XVIIth century, the terms "alchemy" and
"chemistry" were used more or less interchangeably, and that
the earliest differentiation between "chymia" and "alchymia,"
by textbook writers such as Lemery, was based on a
misapprehension regarding the Arabic article, "al."

Respectfully

William Aronstein


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina

Dear Michal,

> and can perhaps point you in some helpful directions,

I feel very much obliged for the directions you have
pointed.


> Firstly, for a recent comprehensive overview of
> Alchemy in the Czech Lands
> I would highly recommend "Opus Magnum", published by
> Trigon Press in 1997.

Do you know if it is still obtainable - and how?


> Apologies for the sketchiness of the above; all that
> I have time for right
> now, but I hope that it will provide some help.

Thank you very much indeed! (I did not really count on
getting a smooth and thorough picture immediately -
and you have added to it some very colourful strokes)


> Conversely I will be interested to hear of the fruits
> of your undertaking.

I shall be happy to share.


Best wishes.

Tatiana Dolinina


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina

Dear Rafal,


> He also announced
> (in article 2 above and other places) a full length
> monograph of Michael Sendivogius

Oh I see now where the 'rumour' comes from! (I had
only one exact reference to a Latin (translated to
Czech) source published by him apart from the Lull
one, everything else remaining unclear and more of
rumoured about - and was unable to get the ends).


> But the Sendivogius monograph is not among them,
> as far as I could ascertain!

But it MUST exist somwhere - as long as it went as far
as the printers' hands.

Thank you for all the references

Kindest regards,

Tatiana Dolinina


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke


Dear Tatiana,


> Oh I see now where the 'rumour' comes from! (I had
> only one exact reference to a Latin (translated to
> Czech) source published by him apart from the Lull
> one, everything else remaining unclear and more of
> rumoured about - and was unable to get the ends).

Among his papers there is an unpublished translation
(by Eugenius Muska under Zachar's direction) of
Sendivogius's _Novum Lumen Chymicum_ which was to
be included in the monograph (sygn. 37 N 63).

> > But the Sendivogius monograph is not among them,
> > as far as I could ascertain!
>
> But it MUST exist somwhere - as long as it went as far
> as the printers' hands.

Several generations of Sendivogius researchers tried
to find it without success. I still hope it will
be found - but I am afraid that good old Svejk may
have used the paper for quite a different purpose
if the War had started before any copy was printed :-)

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : King James and the golden rose
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Susanna,

Congratulations on your most interesting find in Borrichius.
You mention that he met Peter Stahl in Oxford, but I suspect
that the phrase 'templo Westmonastiensi' does not refer
to a church in Oxford, butto Westminster Abbey in London.
After leaving Oxford, Borrichius returned to London and
again visited Stahl and Poleman who were working together
in an alchemical laboratory at a strange place called first
'Siurdetz' (p. 22) but which becomes recognizable in the
name 'Shore-detz'(p. 61), that is, Shoreditch.

There is a further link with the Rosicrucians in Borrichius's item 2
of the information he received from Peter Stahl. There he
mentions a certain "De Bois, an illustrious chymist hanged
by Cardinal Richelieu, whom Stahl knew and who was believed
by him to have been a true artist painstaking in his work". Stahl
goes on to describe his alchemical processes.
A note in Hartlib's Ephemerides gives further information
about the identity of the hanged Adept:

"Clod[ius's] Adept hath imparted unto Clod[ius, Hartlib's
son-in-law] a MS of the French Adept[']s (wch after hee had
made good a Trial] was hanged for it by the Card. Richelieu.
This MS is the clearest Revelation that ever hath beene
made written in a most rational and philsosophical straine. F.C.
Clodius will mightily repeat it.
The said Adept is mightily hunted after by [Thomas] Vaughan.
It appeares by this Adept that hee is a member of a Society
and that one of them lives in Lincoln-shire having a peculiar
Motto or Tessera whereby they are recognized."
(Ephemerides (1659), 29.8.6a).

Later entries in Hartlib's Journal reveal that the name of the
adept hanged by Richelieu was "Du-boy or Du-boys", and
that "A Knight in Lincoln-shire S. Brownloe is held a
Rosaecrucian and hath the Tesseram of Antilia"
(Ephem. (1659), 29-8.7a and (2 April 1660) 29.8.12a).

It would seem then that an alchemical Rosicrucian society
was in existence by at least 1659.
Thomas Vaughan published the Fama and Confessio into
English in 1652, and was a reputed Rosicrucian.
I have identified a prominent Lincolnshire family with the
name Brownlow but have not yet found an S. Brownlow,
knight. Any clues anyone?

Perhaps Peter Stahl, who was giving a course of lectures
in chemistry at Oxford in 1663, was also involved in this
Andreaean-type Society.

Is it possible that your golden rose with a peculiar rose
added to it by the Roscrucians was the actual Rosicrucian
'motto or tessera' in the possession of the adept, S. Browloe?

Hoping this will be of some help,

Michael


Subject: ACADEMY : Maier and the Gold- und Rosenkreutz
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001

Thanks for your reply, Mr. Aronstein. In fact it was Principe
and Newmans' work which led me to this question. Today
I was looking at a work of Hermann Fictuld, 'Des Längst
gewünschten und versprochenen Chymisch-Philosophischen
Probier-Steins Erste Classe, In welcher der wahren und
ächten Adeptorum und anderer würdig erfundenen Schrifften
Nach ihrem innerlichen Gehalt und Werth vorgestellt und
entdecket worden'. The edition I was looking at dated to
1784, i.e. when the Gold- und Rosenkreutz was at the zenith
of its power during the reign of King Friedrich Wilhelm II of
Prussia, who I have heard was also a member of the order.
Fictuld's work was first published in the 1730's, and it uses
the terms chymia and alchymia interchangeably (not that
this has much bearing on the thesis of Principe and Newman).

I was also interested in the reception of Count Michael
Maier's work in later Rosicrucian circles, if he figured at all;
the work of Fictuld in question makes mention of Stolcius'
Chymisches Lust-Gartlein (Viridarium Chymicum), but
gives Maier as the author (clearly because the emblems of
Stolcius' work stem in part from Maier's books); he also
makes a point of excluding Maier from his list of adepts,
and states that although Maier was a great lover of
alchemy 'his' Chymisches Lust-Gartlein throws the
alchemical figures together in a nonsensical way. Fictuld
goes on to say that the real adepts represented by the
Chymisches Lust-Gartlein are those who first invented the
'figures', i.e. the medieval authors from whose works
the emblems ultimately derive.

While Fictuld's bad opinion of Maier in this work might stem
from his mis-attribution of the authorship of the Chymisches
Lust-Gartlein, does anyone have any idea if Maier was
generally viewed in a bad light by the eighteenth century
Rosicrucians? Or if they just didn't care about him?
Maier was an important source for the 17th century English
reception of Rosicrucianism by Ashmole, Vaughan and
others, particularly through his Themis Aurea, but later
Rosicrucianism seems to pay him scant regard. Can
anyone set me straight on this point?

Cheers
Hereward Tilton



Subject: ACADEMY : Johann Arndt and Alchemy
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001
From: Eugene Beshenkovsky

Dear Michael,

You reminded me about Johann Arndt and Alchemy. His
works are prominent in the 18th century Rosicrucian library
I am dealing with. Not only his theological works, but also
his explanation of Khunrath's four figures.

Besides that a good description of one of his alchemical
recipies can be found in Siegmund Guldenfalk's book

Die himmlische und hermetische Perle; oder Die gvttliche
und naturliche Tinktur der Weisen. Herausgegeben von
Siegmund Heinrich Guldenfalk, Furstlich
Hessendarmstddtischen Oberlandkommissar, als einem
Schuler Hermetischen Geheimnissen. Frankfurt und Leipzig:
J.G. Fleischer,1785. (III. Abtheilung. - Anhang einiger wahrhaften
hermetischen Ausarbeitungen. - Johann Arnds Process den er
von dem Baron von Winterstein erhalten hat. - Mysterium
magnum Naturae, oder ein grosses Geheimnis der Natur, ex
Fonte universali. - Wahrer Process der Johann Arnds. ).

Could be mythology but looks genuine to me. There could
be more in another book by the same author where he
escribes more than one hundred recepies. I have not seen
that one.

Gardner in his Biblioteca Rosicruciana lists Zweytes
Millenium as a printed book.

Besides that my catalog lists 'Opera Arndti' which I have not
been able to find anywhere.

Hope it is useful,

Eugene Beshenkovsky


Subject: ACADEMY : Mrs. Wolesley of Oxford
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001
From: Deborah E. Harkness

Dear All:

Has anyone (especially Lauren?) come across Mrs. Wolesley
of Oxford, who appears to have taught William Withy some
alchemical processes in the late 16th or early 17th century?
I came across descriptioins of these processes yesterday,
and I have a vague recollection that she was mentioned
once on the Academy.

Thanks in advance for the help,

Deb Harkness


Subject: ACADEMY : Opus Magnum
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001
From: Michal Pober

Dear Tatiana,

'Opus Magnum' is still available from the publisher, Trigon
Books, Umelecka 2, 160 00 Praha 6. You can write to
Vladislav Zadrobilek in Czech or German.
Exactly how he handles individual foreign sales I'm not
sure, though as I stated the Czech price is either 1781 or
1871 Czech Crowns - approx $50 at current exchange rates.

I have passed on a number of copies myself at different
times in different ways and am willing to continue to do
so but I request $80 by International Money Order,
American Express or Thomas Cook to cover all the
ancillary aspects - fetching, carrying, packaging,
customs declarations, insurance, bank charges, etc.

The only international book dealer who handles it
charges $185 for it, plus shipping.

Best Regards,

Michal Pober


Subject: ACADEMY : Maier and the Gold- und Rosenkreutz
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001
From: Eugene Beshenkovsky

Dear Mr. Tilton,

> I was also interested in the reception of Count Michael
> Maier's work in later Rosicrucian circles, if he figured at all;
> the work of Fictuld in question makes mention of Stolcius'
> Chymisches Lust-Gartlein (Viridarium Chymicum), but
> gives Maier as the author

Both, Michael Maier and Stolcius (under Maier's name)
are present, and quite prominent. Viridarium Chymicum
(under Maier's name) was translated into Russian and
exists in manuscripts.

Both chemia (alchemia) and chymia (alchymia) are
present as well as Chemie (Alchemie) and Chymie
(Alchymie). Latin words were usually printed in different
types. Alternative definition for Alchemy was 'höhere
Chemie' (I believe).

Regarding Fictuld ... was it Ferguson who said that there
is no way to please Fictuld?

All the best,

Eugene Beshenkovsky


Subject: ACADEMY : Mrs. Wolesley of Oxford
From: Penny Bayer
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001

Dear Deb Harkness,

This is fascinating. Would you be prepared to share a little
more about the source, the sort of process Mrs Wolesley
is teaching, and what sort of level of education may be
suggested (ie does she name sources, introduce
philosophic ideas)?

Best regards
Penny Bayer


Subject: ACADEMY : The rose as tessera
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001

Dear Michael,

How interesting with your finding. However, if the tessera
was a rose, which seems natural, one must also consider
Spinoza's signet ring with a rose and the text "caute" -
beware. His Tractatus theologico philosophicus was printed
in 1670 under the false flag "Hamburg apud Henricum
Künrath" that has been seen as an allusion to Heinrich
Khunrath. See Paul Arnold, Histoire des Rose-Croix 1955.
Yet, the Bibliotheca Hermetica has put up Spinoza's work
for sale in December at Sotheby's so they probably no
longer believe in any connection.

I am also reminded of Ben Jonsons Fortunate isles and
their union (1624)describing a dialogue between Merefool
and Jophiel, an airy spirit of Jupiter on the Rose Cross
ending with "There's your Order. (He gives him a rose)
You will have your collar sent you ere't be long."

Clearly there is more to piece together on the Antilia
and the presence of Rosicrucianism in Britain beyond
that of Elias Ashmole, Robert Moray, Thomas Vaughan
and the Scots George Erskine and David Lindsay.

Hope someone puts him/herself to the task. Perhaps
you are doing something of the sort?

Susanna Akerman


Subject: ACADEMY : Mrs. Wolesley of Oxford
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001
From: Lauren Kassell

Sorry Deb,

I've not come across her -- but then we know
almost nothing about Forman's Oxford days.


Lauren Kassell


Subject: ACADEMY : Article on Renaissance Alchemy
From: Nancy Bell
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001

Hello all....

There is an article on Renaissance Alchemy in this month's
issue of LAPIS (issue 13; 2/01) which is published by the New
York Open Center. The author is Joscelyn Godwin who
teaches at Colgate University. Also of note is that Godwin's
latest publication is the first complete English translation of the
Hypnerotomachia Poliphill (1499) by Francesco Colonna.

LAPIS was recently named the winner of the Alternative
Press Award presented by Utne Reader. For what it may
be worth. I found the article very interesting.

Nancy Bell


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina


Dear Susanna,

Thank you very much for the links you have provided,
they are more than helpful.

I have a number of questions of practical character
with rwgard to the Leiden-based alchemical sources
coming initially from Prague, which I hope you could
inform me about:

1) If I have understood it correctly, 'Codices
Vossiani' are kept in the library of Leiden
University?? If not, could you please give the exact
name of the institution. (Any other collections in
Leiden where any of the texts from this portion of
Prague inheritance could be possibly placed?)

2) Are the texts open to general public? If they are
not easily accessible, who is considered the owner
(the University I suppose)? And in that case do you
know who is in position (what institution I mean and
from what level, not personalia) to authorise an
access and on what basis?

Thank you.

Best wishes,

Tatiana Dolinina


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina

Dear Rafal,


>Among his papers there is an unpublished translation
>(by Eugenius Muska under Zachar's direction) of
>Sendivogius's _Novum Lumen Chymicum_ which was to
>be included in the monograph (sygn. 37 N 63).

A translation of this work by Sendivogius was
published by Russian Martinists in 18 c.

Do you know something about the "Dialogue between the
Alchemist, Mercury and the Nature" added as a
supplement to the "Novum Lumen..."?


>I still hope it will
>be found - but I am afraid that good old Svejk may
>have used the paper for quite a different purpose
>if the War had started before any copy was printed
:-)

Ironically, I had the same thought, but I suspected
the publishers. :-)


Kindest regards,

Tatiana Dolinina


Subject: ACADEMY : Seal of the Rosicrucian Fraternity
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001

Dear Academy,

Thank you for all your information.

I have another question: does anyone know the origins of the
seal of the Rosicrucian Fraternity given in Maier's 'Themis Aurea'
(1618)? Although difficult to describe, for those of you who are
not acquainted with it there are the letters R, O, S, Æ, and C
placed in the following pattern:

   Æ      R
       M
       S
   C      O


A connecting line runs upwards from the top of the O to the
bottom of the stalk of the R, then downwards to the top
of the S, then upwards to the Æ, then downwards to the top
of the C (i.e. the connecting line looks like an M). Not sure if
this will be very clear, but I would be interested to know if
anyone has seen this in a pre-1618 source.

Cheers

Hereward Tilton

Picture of seal attached. "RCseal.gif"


Subject: ACADEMY : Tartar
From: Ahmad Hassan
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001

Dear Colleagues,

I am trying to trace the history of tartar. What is the origin
of the word? when was tartar it first used? and what were
its main uses. I read that it was used sometimes
along with saltpeter as a fluxing material to help in the
melting of metals.

Any elaboration along with references will be
greatly appreciated.

A. AL-Hassan


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Tatiana,

> >Among his papers there is an unpublished translation
> >(by Eugenius Muska under Zachar's direction) of
> >Sendivogius's _Novum Lumen Chymicum_ which was to
> >be included in the monograph (sygn. 37 N 63).
>
> A translation of this work by Sendivogius was
> published by Russian Martinists in 18 c.

Yes, Eugene Beshenkovsky and Gleb Butuzov told me about two
Russian translations (Lopukhin's, Moscow 1785 and anonymous,
Moscow 1781). This is a wonderful list!

> Do you know something about the "Dialogue between the
> Alchemist, Mercury and the Nature" added as a
> supplement to the "Novum Lumen..."?

It was first published separately Colonia 1607 and had several
independent reprints later. There were at least 41 publications
of it before 1800.

Stanton Linden had an article in 'Ambix' some years ago
(and I have not read it yet!) showing how this work influenced
Ben Jonson's masque 'Mercury Vindicated from the
Alchemists at Court'.
Both texts are on Adam's site.

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Some questions on Alchemy in medieval Prague
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001

Dear Tatiana,

The Prague texts are in Leiden University library, special
collections and are open to the public. See their homepage

http://www.leidenuniv.nl/ub/

By the way www.libdex.com is a great searching machine
for virtually every library homepage and catalogues.
Search by country or name.


Susanna


Subject: ACADEMY : Tetrahedron
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina

Dear colleagues,

I have a specific question, addressed maybe to
professional (al)chemists or crystallogrpahers:

What substances occurring in nature have tetrahedron
for crystal lattice?

References to the resources with the practical sort of
information, including those on www, will do.

Thousands of thanks!

Tatiana Dolinina


Subject: ACADEMY : Tetrahedron
From: Jesse C Bunch
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001

Tatiana,

Crystals with a tetrahedral lattice usually have a gross shape
of a tetrahedron. Crystals of this nature include diamonds
and magnetite - the iron ore which is magnetic.

Symbologically, the tetrahedron represents one solution to
the problem of the three and the four (four triangular faces).

Jesse C Bunch


Subject: ACADEMY : Tetrahedron
From: Brenton Fletcher
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001
Tatiana,

"The silicates are the largest, the most interesting and the most
complicated class of minerals by far. Approximately 30% of all minerals are
silicates and some geologists estimate that 90% of the Earth's crust is made
up of silicates. With oxygen and silicon the two most abundant elements in
the earth's crust silicates abundance is no real surprise.

The basic chemical unit of silicates is the (SiO4) tetrahedron shaped
anionic group with a negative four charge (-4). The central silicon ion has
a charge of positive four while each oxygen has a charge of negative two
(-2) and thus each silicon-oxygen bond is equal to one half (1/2) the total
bond energy of oxygen. This condition leaves the oxygens with the option of
bonding to another silicon ion and therefore linking one (SiO4) tetrahedron
to another and another, etc..

The complicated structures that these silicate tetrahedrons form is truly
amazing. They can form as single units, double units, chains, sheets, rings
and framework structures. The different ways that the silicate tetrahedrons
combine is what makes the Silicate Class the largest, the most interesting
and the most complicated class of minerals."

That was taken from the following web page.

http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/silicate/class.htm

Start counting grains of sand!

Regards,

Brenton Fletcher.


Subject: ACADEMY : The rose as tessera
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Susanna,

Nice to hear from you. Yes, I've been doing some work on
Thomas Vaughans alchemical career and his association
with the semi-monastic 'Christian Learned Society'
established in about 1649 by Thomas Henshaw, at his home
at Kensington (then semi-rural) in London. Closely connected
with this Andraean project were Samuel Hartlib and Dr
Robert Child. Information on this and other such societies in
England is given in Donald R. Dickson's 'The Tessera of
Antilia' (Brill, 1998), 186 ff. I'm giving a paper on Vaughan's
alchemy and his reputation down to the end of the 17th
century at this year's Vaughan Colloquium in South Wales
at the end of April. If you (or anyone else) would like a copy,
let me know.

Best wishes to you,

Michael


Subject: ACADEMY : Tartar
From: Peter Kelly
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001

In "Eighteenth century chemistry as it relates to
Alchemy (1771)" by Encyclopedia Brittania, on
page 10, Tartar is mentioned

"...from this conjunction of the vitriolic acid with a
fixed alkali there results another sort of neutral salt,
which is called arcanum duplicatum, sal de duobus: and
vitriolated tartar, because one of the fixed alkalis
most in use is called salt of tartar."

You might also be interested in Fulcanelli's book "The
Dwellings of the Philosophers"
Fulcanelli mentions "Tartar" in a list of which he
says all mean the same thing. This list includes:
Our subject, Mirror of the art, The stone of the philosophers,
Old man, Antimony, Tartar, Black dragon covered with
scales, Daughter of Saturn, etc.

He also mentions Tartar near the end of his book
In relation to potassium carbonate, and saltpeter, and also
"... the salt of Tartar regarded as the substance,
or one of the composing elements of the secret fire"


Peter Kelly


Subject: ACADEMY : Tetrahedron
From: Jesse Bunch
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001

Tatiana,

While counting grains of sand may be a useful endeavour,
as I recall most sand is silica SO2 (not silicate) which has
a different crystalline structure. Another name for silica is
quartz - usually in the form of long pointed hexagonal crystals.
Some forms of black sand are magnetite which as
I mentioned before has a octahedral crystals which
probably denotes a tetrahedral crystalline structure.

Jesse Bunch


Subject: ACADEMY : The rose as tessera
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Michael Srigley wrote:

> I'm giving a paper on Vaughan's
> alchemy and his reputation down to the end of the 17th
> century at this year's Vaughan Colloquium in South Wales
> at the end of April. If you (or anyone else) would like a copy,
> let me know.

I would certainly be glad to be able to read it.

BTW: Swift in _A Tale of a Tub_ (Section V) mentiones
_Anthroposophia Theomagica_ and has the following footnote:

A treatise written about fifty years ago, by a Welsh gentleman
of Cambridge; his name, as I remember, was Vaughan, as appears
by the answer to it writ by the learned Dr. Henry More; it is
a piece of the most unintelligible fustian, that, perhaps, was
ever published in any language.

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Tetrahedron
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina

Brenton,


Oh, what abundance, who could imagine - makes me
happy. I had enquired professional chemists here,
including theoreticians specialised in crystallography
- to be assured that a number of homonymous subtances
must definitely exist, with a disappointing lack of
examples. And the monographs on crystallography i've
got, widely elaborating on the theory failed to
produce examples, at least to be easily picked up from
the text.

Thank you for the link.


> some geologists estimate that 90% of
> the Earth's crust is made up of silicates.

Does it follow that about 90% of existing minerals
have tetrahedral lattice - if you are aware??? I mean,
can the tetrahedral lattice be considered the most
frequently (even if not making full 90% but to a
degree approaching the percentage) occurring crystal
lattice on the earth? From my background I can't
easily see if this statement can be true.

Or, to put it differently - Do all silicates
necessarily have tetrahedral lattice? -

> The basic chemical unit of silicates is the (SiO4)
> tetrahedron shaped anionic group

or elements supplementing the 'basic unit' can
actually change the shape of the lattice??


> Start counting grains of sand!

I have started. When I've got a good collection, I
will show you.


Tatiana Dolinina


Subject: ACADEMY : Tartar
From: William S. Aronstein
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001

Dear Mr. Al-Hassan,

Your inquiry into the origin of the term "tartar," and the role of this
substance is very thought-provoking. The dictionaries I have at hand trace
the word "tartar" back to the medieval Greek "tartaron," which they report
as otherwise obscure. Perhaps the word derives from "Tartary," an area in
the marches between Europe and Asia once occupied by the "Tartars," more
correctly, perhaps, "Tatars," part of which is now the Tatarstan region of
Russia, whose capital is Kazan.

Tartaric acid has a long and interesting history in chemistry. It is a
dicarboxylic acid that exhibits the interesting property of being soluble
both in water and in non-polar organic solvents, such as ether. It was
known in ancient times, with the free acid first identified in 1769 by
Scheele.

Potassium ditartrate is abundant in many plants and fruits, notably in
grapes, and is cast off by wine as it ages. The tartar can be recovered
from the inside of the barrels in which wine has aged. The sediments are
heated and neutralized with calcium hydroxide to precipitate calcium
tartrate; the free acid is then released by the action of sulfuric acid.

The chemistry of tartaric acid was investigated by Pasteur on behalf of the
French wine industry. The acid exists in chiral enantiomers -- that is, its
molecules can be either right-handed or left-handed. This handedness
persists in the crystals that tartar forms, and Pasteur was able to separate
right-handed from left-handed crystals using a magnifying glass, tweezers,
and considerable patience. He then showed that solutions of the enantiomers
would polarize light. This was the foundation of modern stereochemistry.

Tartar has many common household and industrial uses. Cream of tartar
(potassium hydrogen tartrate) is used in cooking, baking, and candy making.
Rochelle salt (potassium sodium tartrate) is used in silvering mirrors,
processing cheese, electronics manufacturing, and in plating metals with
gold or silver. Tartar emetic (potassium antimony tartrate) has been used
as an anti-helminthic drug, as well as an emetic, and dyeing mordant. In
discovering the mechanism of action of tartar emetic as an antiparasitic, my
revered teacher, the late Professor Ernest Bueding, first proposed the
existence of iso-enzymes -- different macromolecules catalyzing an
identical chemic reaction.

Thus, tartar has a long and noble history in modern chemistry. As Mr. Kelly
has noted in a previous reply to your questions, tartar appears to play an
important role in the alchemical processes described by the Adept Fulcanelli
and his commentators. It is possible that tartaric acid is also involved in
the work depicted in the "Mutus Liber," and in the work described by
Philalethes in the "Shut Palace."

Good luck in your researches.

William Aronstein


Subject: ACADEMY : Tetrahedron
From: Jesse Bunch
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001

> Do all silicates necessarily have tetrahedral lattice? -

While the SiO4 anion is the "basic chemical unit" of silicates,
the crystal lattice structure and shape of the crystals are
usually not tetrahedral. For more detail, check out "Chemistry
- The Central Science" by Theodore L. Brown and H. Eugene
LeMay, Jr. QD31.2B78, ISBN 0-13-128769-9.

Jesse Bunch


Subject: ACADEMY : 'The Day C' in the Fama
From: Michael Martin
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001

Friends,

Has anyone run across any suggestions for what "the day C."
might be. This is, of course, to be found in the Fama
Fraternitatis. I have seen a suggestion for Christmas
(Christopher Bamford) which seems close to arbitrary.
I also recall seeing the feast of Corpus Christi as a candidate,
which makes sense alchemically, but perhaps not in the
spirit of the Reformation which overshadows the Fama.

Any thoughts?

Michael Martin


Subject: ACADEMY : 'The Day C' in the Fama
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001
From: M. Evans


>Has anyone run across any suggestions for what
>"the day C." might be.

The Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite Masons have
interpreted it as "Maundy Thursday" (the Thursday before
Easter). All 18* "Knights Rose+Croix" are required to
assemble on that evening, or send notice of why they
are absent.


Subject: ACADEMY : Soluna labs
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001
From: Michal Pober

Dear Friends,

Does anyone have a contact address, preferably with
phone, fax, email, for

Soluna Labs.

Thank you,

Michal Pober


Subject: ACADEMY : Amaranthe and Golden fleece
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001

Dear Academy,

I have found the classical roots of Queen Christina's Amaranthe
Order of 1653 that probably is alluded to in the design of
Palombara's Porta Magica of 1680 in Rome, when it is said on
a plate nearby, now lost,

VILLAE IANUAM TRANANDO RECLUDENS IASON OBTINET
LOCUPLES VELLUS MEDEAE,

that is: Passing by opening the door of the villa, Jason obtained
the rich fleece of Medea. The Amaranth Order, has a blazon of
intertwined double A:s in the middle of a wreath of evergreen
amaranth-leaves that do not fade in winter. In a Christian context
we find the concept in "the crown of glory 'never to fade'
(amarantinou)" in 1 Peter 5:3-5 at the time of the end when
"the chief shepard shall be manifested". But the esoteric/pagan
origin of this tale is in the Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius
where it is told of the search for the Golden Fleece and how on
Medea's advice Jason gets a spell from the moon and earth
goddess Hecate, who is described: "All the meadows
trembled at her step; and the nymphs that haunt the marsh
and the river shrieked, all who dance around that mead of
Amarantine Phasis" (III: 1220) Amarantos is the mountain in
Colchis where the river Phasis flows and where the Golden
fleece is guarded by a dragon.

Hecate is a chtonian spirit - a witch seen nowadays as at the
origin of Halloween. She appears as the moon, as Diana
(Artemis) and as the goddess of the underworld. The verse
before that of Amarantos quoted above are "...calling on
Hecate Brimo (the mighty one) to assist him (Jason) in the
contest. And when he had called on her, he drew back: and
she heard him, the dread godess, from the uttermost depths ...
and round her horrible serpents twined themselves among
the oak boughs; and there was a gleam of countless torches,
and sharply howled around her the hounds of hell". A
remarkable passage, one of two places in Argonautica that
mentions Amarantos.

The other (II:399) is "From the Amarantine mountains far away...
eddying Phasis rolls his broad stream to the sea. Guide your
ship to that river... where a dragon, a monster terrible to behold,
ever glares around keeping watch over the fleece that is
spread upon the top of an oak..." Christina knew what power
she embodied!

I have worked for fifteen years on Christina and finally have
reached this esoteric interpretation of her Order and am
pleased that it is so many layered. She was studying Greek
with leading French and Dutch specialists in Stockholm before
her abdication in 1654 so she probably easily knew what
the Argonautica states...

The Golden fleece was interpreted alchemically during the
seventeenth century and I think Pernety lays it out. Does he or
any other alchemist mention the Amarantine mountain and
river? Or Hecate?

I include a mention of the Amarantine river in a Christian context
written some fifteen years after Christina's design. She (who
was nicknamed Amaranta) may afterall have only wanted to
allude to the notion of the ever green wreath, perhaps as a
sign of her secret conversion to which the allusion in Peter fits.
But she and Milton were more complex than that...



John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667) II:78

But let us call to synod all the Blest,
Through Heaven's wide bounds: from them I will not hide
My judgements; how with mankind I proceed,
As how with peccant Angels late they saw,
And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed.
He ended, and the Son gave signal high
To the bright minister that watched; he blew
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps
When God descended, and perhaps once more
To sound at general doom. The angelic blast
Filled all the regions: from their blisful bowers
Of Amarantine Shade, fountain or spring, SIC
By the waters of life, where'er they sat
In fellowships of joy, the sons of light
Hasted, resorting to the summons high;
And took their seats; till from his throne supreme
The Almighty thus pronounced his sovran will.
O Sons, like one of us Man is become
To know both good and evil, since his taste
Of that defended fruit; but let him boast
His knowledge of good lost, and evil got;
Happier, had it sufficed him to have known
Good by itself, and evil not at all.


Subject: ACADEMY : Tetrahedron
From: Peter Kelly
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001

Tatiana,

You might be interested in Durer's painting (one of the places
you can see it is at
www.princeton.edu/~his291/Durer_Melancolia.html).

Particularly the stone/crystal at the bottom of the ladder.
It seems to be at least 8 sided. John Read talks about this
in one of his books, I think it was "Prelude to chemistry"

This picture melancolia seems to be related to Saturn, so
maybe there is a connection between the metals/minerals
under this planets influence and this particular stone.


See also "Eighteenth century chemistry as it relates to
alchemy 1771" by Encyclopedia Brittania (available at
Kessinger publishing)
On page 10 speaking of the salt alum, which is a vitriolic acid
combined to the point of saturation with a particular absorbent
earth

"... the figure of its crystals is that of an octahedron or solid of
eight sides. These octahedra are triangular pyramids ...."

Peter Kelly


Subject: ACADEMY : Tartar
From: Mike Dickman
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001

Pernety's 'Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermétique' (Paris 1758) gives:

'"TARTAR (Sc. Herm.) - Basil Valentine and certain other
Philosophers have said that tartar dissolves metals; which
has given rise in several Chymists to the idea that it should
be regarded as the materia whereof the philosophers
make their magistry. Philalethes, however, says that the
term tartar should be explained in the same vein as the
crow's head; and those who are least versed in this
science, know these expressions (sic.) signify the Philosophic
materia at the stage of blackness.
Whit tartar or the salt of tartar of the Wise, is their magistry
come to the colour white.

TARTAR OF MARBLE - This is those stones which form
in the human body.
They are thus named because of the terrestrial and
tartaric material whereof they are composed."

m


Subject: ACADEMY : 'The Day C' in the Fama
From: Mike Dickman
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001


The Golden Dawn ritual of the Restoration and
Reconsecration of the Vault takes place on Corpus Christi.
Their authentic if somewhat tenuous link with original
Rosicrucianism has been fairly carefully argued by Rafal
Prinke in an article in the Hermetic Journal.

m


Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy Museums/Exhibitions
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2001
From: Michal Pober

Dear Friends,

Rather late in the day in terms of our progress here in Kutna
Hora to make a Museum of Alchemy, I'm wondering what
else is out there in the way of permanent exhibitions or
museums devoted to alchemy.

I'm aware of the Fugger Laboratory in Austria but would
appreciate any comments from anyone who has seen it.

Here in the Czech Republic there is a small rather sterile
exhibition in the Mihulka Tower at Prague Castle which
[imo] has completely managed to dissipate its genus loci
as an actual location of alchemical activity in Rudolf II's
time; then there is the excellent small laboratory and
exhibition in Budyne nad Ohri, curated in part by our friend
Dr Antonin, which is associated with the most famous
Czech alchemist Bavor Rodovsky.

Additionally in Heidelberg there is a supposedly impressive
pharmaceutical exhibition..

Can anyone add to this before we proclaim ourselves
as instigating the first major Museum devoted to alchemy??

More news coming soon about our project.. Its still cooking!

Best Regards,

Michal Pober


Subject: ACADEMY : Tetrahedron
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2001
From: Barbara Berrie

An important alchemical material, phosphorus, exists as
a tetrahedron. In the aqueous and vapor phase some
forms of phophorus exist as a symmetrical tetrahedron (P4).
Elemental arsenic probably is also tetrahedral; a general
chemistry text might help.

BHB