The Alchemy web site on Levity.com
Alchemy Academy archive
May 1999

Back to alchemy academy archives.

Subject: ACADEMY : Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal
From: Adam McLean
Date: 2 May 1999


Yesterday I had some good news about the articles in the
'Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal'. One of our
colleagues has been able to locate copies of these in a
library to which she has ready access.

So there is no need for anyone to pursue this any further.

My thanks to those who tried to help locate copies.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY : Arabic transmission of alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 2 May 1999

I am trying to sort out a clear picture of the main historical
source documents which were the vehicles for the
transmission of alchemical knowledge to Europe. I would
like to be able to build up a timeline or list of source
materials and the personalities involved, (for example
Robert of Chester and Michael Scot).

Any suggestions? We are of course here looking for
11th/12th/13th century sources.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Arabic transmission of alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 2 May 1999

Here is a provisional quick sketch of a time line for the
transmission of Arabic alchemy to Europe. I would welcome
any suggestions, amendments or additions.
It seems that there is no evidence of Arabic influence in
Europe outside Spain, before the 11th century.


11th Century - Liber Sacerdotum (?)

12th Century -
1144 Robert of Chester makes the first translation of an
arabic alchemical text into Latin, the ' Book of the
Composition of alchemy' by Morienus.
Constatine Africanus translated a number of medical treatise
from Arabic into Latin.

13th Century -
Vincent of Beauvais (c1190--1264) quotes from Rhazes, and
Avicenna.
Albertus Magnus(1193-1283) has knowledge of Arabic sources
especially Avicenna and Averroes.
1260 Bartholomew the Englishman's 'De rerum proprietatis'
quotes extensively from Arbic sources including Avicenna.
Michael Scot (c.1190-1250), the translator of various arabic
works, wrote his 'Ars Alchemie'.


I am unsure if anyone has identified the time when the
'Turba Philosophorum' first appeared in Latin. I do
not have a copy of Ruska's book on the Turba available
to me at present. Can anyone tell me of a definite date
for thre first appearance of the 'Turba' in Europe?

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Exhibition on alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 7th May 1999


There is a most interesting exhibition entitled 'Geheimnisse der
Alchemie' focusing on the historical, scientific, philosophical,
psychological, iconographical and artistic aspects of alchemy
in the University Library in Basel, Schwitzerland, from 9 April
until 18 June. Later the exhibition will move to St Gallen and
to Amsterdam later this year.
This has been organized by Manuel Bachmann and
Thomas Hofmeier of the Institut für Geschichte und Hermeneutik
der Geheimwissenschaften in Basel, with the participation of
the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam which
has lent a number of items to the exhibition.

Today I received the catalogue which is in the form of a large
format book. It is in German and has many illustrations some in
colour. It is well worth purchasing for those who read German.
It is published by Schwabe and Co of Basel and bears the
ISBN 3-7965-1368-9. The authors are Manuel Bachmann and
Thomas Hofmeier 271 pages.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY : Exhibition on alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 7th May 1999

A couple of people asked where they can purchase
the catalogue of the exhibition.

Geheimnisse der Alchemie
Manuel Bachmann, Thomas Hofmeier
ISBN 3-7965-1368-9

It is easiest to buy it through the German Amazon.com
using your credit card.

http://www.amazon.de/


The price is DM 78,00 (EUR 39,88). This should be
is about $40 or £25 (to which you have to add the
postage costs.)

Please note the text is in German.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Museum exhibits on alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 9th May 1999

I noticed in the book/catalogue 'Geheimnisse der Alchemie'
a number of photographs of original alchemical apparatus
in the Pharmazie-Historisches Museum in Basel, Switzerland.

This reminded me of some other museums with permanent
exhibitions of alchemical apparatus, or reconstuctions of
alchemical laboratories. The Castle if Heidelberg, Germany
is very well known, and I have also mentioned recently the
'Sala Carbonelli' (a room dedicated to Professor Carbonelli an
early 20th century scholar who wrote some articles on alchemy)
in the Museo Storico Nazionale dell'arte Sanitaria in Rome.
There is also the reconstruction of a sixteenth-century
alchemical laboratory in the Technisches Museum
in Vienna, Austria

Does anyone have any information on other alchemical
exhibits in Museum, that might be worth visiting? I would
like to document these on the web site.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Rosicrucian Movement in English Literature
From: Bartosz Protas
Date: Sun, 9 May 1999


I am looking for any references to the ideas advocated by
the Rosicrucian Movement in English Literature of the 17th
century. I am specifically interested in the concepts of Spiritual
Alchemy, Reformation of the 'Whole Wide World' based on
hermetic-cabalistic principles, formation of an 'Invisible College',
etc. I would also appreciate any reference to explicit use of
Rosicrucian Symbolism.

Thank you in advance,

Bartosz Protas
University of Warsaw,


Subject: ACADEMY : Museum exhibits on alchemy
Date: Sun, 9 May 1999
From: Michal Pober


Dear Adam
In November of 1997 a small permanent exhibition on alchemy
opened in the Castle at Budyne nad Ohri, about 40 kms NNW
of Prague. The highlight is a very fine reconstruction of an
Alchemy Lab in a cellar-space. The Castle is associated with
Bavor Rodovsky, the best-known Czech alchemist of the
Rudolf II era.

If you or anyone else would like more information about this
I will be happy to check a few more details. One of the primary
organisers of this project was Dr Lubos Antonin of the Castle
Libraries Dept. at the National Museum and a participant in the
Conferences in Cesky Krumlov in '95 and Prague in '97.

Secondly, though not a great deal of physical progress has
been achieved so far with the project for an Alchemy Museum in
Kutna Hora, there are some interesting developments. Firstly
we have been donated a large collection of reproduction
alchemical glass by the Kavalier Company of Sazava. Their
glass and ceramic items were displayed in the Opus Magnum
exhibition in Prague in '97. Secondly the legendary connection
between Hynek, the son of the Czech King George of Podebrady,
and Alchemy has recently been authenticated by the exciting
discovery, by Dr Antonin, of an alchemical text written by Hynek.
This is currently being translated from Latin into Czech by Dr
Vladimir Karpenko and there will hopefully be an English version
soon. The long-time belief in Hynek's adeptship also located
his laboratory in the tower behind the Sankturinovsky House in
Kutna Hora which have been donated by the town of Kutna Hora
for the Alchemy Museum.
In a couple of weeks there will be pictures of these on my web
site. Currently there are a couple of pictures from the exhibition
in Budyne.

http://www.levity.com/bohemia/links.html


Best Regards,
Michal


Subject: ACADEMY : Rosicrucian Movement in English Literature
From: Adam McLean
Date: 10th May

Dear Bartosz Protas,

You might firstly consider the articles by my friend Ron Heisler,
which I have put onto the web site. The references in these
articles will give you much material to follow up.


http://www.levity.com/alchemy/h_ros.html
The Forgotten English Roots of Rosicrucianism

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/h_dee.html
John Dee and the Secret Societies

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/h_fre.html
The Impact of Freemasonry on Elizabethan Literature

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/h_fludd.html
Robert Fludd: A Picture in Need of Expansion

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/h_maier.html
Michael Maier and England

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/h_shake.html
Two Worlds that Converged: Shakespeare and the Ethos of the Rosicrucians

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/h_zeiglr.html
Philip Ziegler: The Rosicrucian King of Jerusalem


Subject: ACADEMY : Arabic transmission of alchemy
From: Jon Marshall
Date: 10 May 1999

This is a reposting of an earlier piece by Jon Marshall
on the alchemy forum - A. McL.


I would like to raise another issue, and that is the connection
between Islam and Western Alchemy.

I was recently reading 'The elixir and the stone' and though
the early parts of the book are not too bad it is noteable that
there are large areas which are unsourced - and one of
these is the implication that considerable numbers of
alchemical and hermetic texts were translated from the
Arabic very early on.

This is of course the standard view and one I've supported
myself. Indirect evidence for this is plentiful in words which
appear to be arabic transcriptions (Holmyard I think covers
this), and the appearance of alchemy in Europe only after
the translators started work. However when we get to actual
texts only very few seem to appear:

The emerald tablet (is located in an arabic work by Jabir)
and despite its reputation is possibly only useful if you
already know about alchemy

Stavenhagen casts doubt on the date traditionally given to
the translation of Morenius' Testament usually considered
to be the first alchemical work to appear in the West, putting
it much later and suggesting that at least some of it is a
western addition - I don't know if anyone has found the
Arabic original

Geber, as opposed to Jabir, seems to be a Western original
- though we may still await a competant arabist trying to find
he Geber texts in the Jabir corpus or even comparing the two

I'm not sure of the origin of the Turba (being unable to read
Ruska, but I gather portions of it have been found in Arabic -
but this does not prove the whole book in its current form is
a translation from a similar Arabic text, and it could have
been translated because it was thought to be Greek or
even from a Greek original)

So I'm going to suggest another heresy:

Which is that very few books of Arabic Islamic alchemy
were translated at all.

And that the theory of alchemy in the west (post 1200) grew from
translations of Islamic cosmological writers (say Razis though
I am not sure what was translated), non-alchemical books such
as Aristotles 'Metrologica', and the psuedo-Aristotle 'Secretum
secretorum', and summaries of such writings in the great
compilations (Bartholemew, Vincent de Beauvais etc).

So though the translation of Arabic works was of vast importance
for western culture: philosophy, mathematics, medicine and
possibly theology, it may not be that important for Western
Alchemy after suggesting the possibility of transmutation.

And here I venture into pure speculation (horror) based on
one text alone. There is apparantly a text called 'Mappae
Clavicula' which is Italian 9-10th century which has a recipe for
"increasing gold" (all I know about this is in Singer's book on the
Alum industry). There may thus have been an already existing
European craft tradition of transmutation which has only left this
one manuscript trace.

Some of the other craft books from the period of the appearance
of alchemy might also be of interest as they are occasionally
a bit 'alchemical' in flavour i.e. Theophilus 'On Divers Arts'.

The point of all this is not to deny an islamic/arabic influence,
but to suggest that an awful lot more work may need to be done
before we can be sure of the extent and nature of that influence.

If this absence of translated texts is correct then the Church
might not have regarded Alchemy as at all specifically
connected with Islam

Jon Marshall


Subject: ACADEMY : Some Italian alchemy books
From: Adam McLean
Date: 10 May 1999


I would like to bring to your attention a remarkable series
of books on alchemy produced in Italy. This is the
Biblioteca Ermetica series produced by Edizioni
Mediterranee in Rome under the general editor
Stefano Andreani. This series produced during the
1980's and 1990's amounts to at least 24 titles. These
are issued in remarkably cheap paperback editions,
well printed, some illustrated, and with excellent
introductions by such scholars as Mino Gabriele. The
books are uncut and one has the rather unknown
experience of having to cut the pages with a
paperknife. For those who read Italian, or who like
myself would like to build a comprehensive library,
these are excellent items to collect.


A. Allegretti - De La Trasmutatione Dei Metalli
Anonimo - Un Libretto Di Alchimia
E. Canseliet - L'alchimia (2 vols)
V. Capparelli - La Sapienza Di Pitagora (2 vols)
V. Capparelli - Il Messaggio Di Pitagora (2 vols)
G.B. Comastri - Specchio Della Verita
Crassellame - Lux Obnubilata
G. De Givry - Huai Nan Tze - Le Grand Oeuvre - La Gran Deluce
C. Della Riviera - Il Mondo Magico De Gli Heroi
L. De Sainct Disdier - Il Trionfo Ermetico B.
De Vigenere - Trattato Del Fuoco E Del Sale
Filostibio - L'antimonio
N. Flarnel - Il Libro Delle Figure Geroglifiche
N. Flamel, G. Aurach de Argentina - Il Segreto Della Polvere
di Proiezione - Prezioso Dono Di Dio - Il Giardino Delle Ricchezze
Fulcanelli - Il Mistero Delle Cattedrali
Fulcanelli - Le Dimore Filosofali (2 vols)
J.G. Gichtel - Theosophia Practica
Huginus a Barma - Il Regno Di Saturno Trasformato In Eta Dell'oro
Ko Hung - Le Medicine Della Grande Purezza
Lambsprinck, M. Eyquem Du Martineau - La Pietra Filosofale
- Il Pilota Deluonda Viva
Le Breton - Le Chiavi Della Filosofia Spagirica
M. Maier - Atalanta Fugiens
Marchese M. Palombara - La Bugia
F. Picchi - Le Epistole Di Ali Puli
Rupescissa - Trattato Sulla Quintessenza
Conte De Saint-Germain - La Tres Sainte Trinosophie
F.M. Santinelli - Sonetti Alchemici
Solazaref - Introitus Ad Philosophorum Lapidem
G. Testi - Dizionario Di Alchimia E Di Fisica Antiqua Ria
Trismosimo - Il Toson D'oro
B. Valentino - Azoth
B. Valentino - Cocchio Trionfale Dell'antimonio


These can be purchased through the internet from the
online Italian bookshop

http://www.trigono.com/index.html


Subject: ACADEMY : Museum exhibits on alchemy
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson


Dear Michal,
If there should be anything in terms of alchemical connections to
Spain, such as visiting/collaborating Jewish, Christian, or Muslim
alchemists in Prague, during any era, I would be interested.
How long does the exhibit run? I have a friend who could visit
it for me.

Happy hunting, good luck.

Catherine Fox-Anderson


Subject: ACADEMY : Mappae Clavicula
From: Adam McLean
Date: 11 May 1999


Jon Marshall referred to an interesting early manuscript
which was a source for some chemical and medicinal
recipes for early European alchemy.

The 'Mappae Clavicula' whose title can perhaps be translated
"the little key to painting" exists in two manuscript. One is dated
to the 10th century and another to around 1130 A.D. Neither show
any traces of arabic sources but seem to be based on Greek
and Latin sources. It consists of a series of 293 recipes similar
to those found in the Stockholm and Leiden Papyri, and thus
give instructions for dyeing, writing in gold and silver letters,
tingeing metals, even recipes for Greek fire, as well as methods
for making medicinal preparations using sugar.
The presence of two old English words in the text might suggest
that it was edited by an English writer. The text was published
in the 'London Archaeologia' Vol 32, 1847, though I have not yet
seen a copy of this. I will try and get access to this at Glasgow
University Library next week.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Rosicrucian Movement in English Literature
Date: Tue, 11 May 1999
From: Rafal Prinke


Adam McLean wrote:

> You might firstly consider the articles by my friend Ron Heisler,
> which I have put onto the web site. The references in these
> articles will give you much material to follow up.

Ron Heisler's articles are really packed with information but I
believe one should have some background to fully appreciate
them. Frances Yates' 'The Rosicrucian Enlightenment' is
IMHO the best book to start with, covering the whole
phenomenon and writings generated by it in considerable
detail. While reading it, however, one should distinguish between
her (very controversial) thesis and information content.

Best regards,
Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Mappae Clavicula
Date: Tue, 11 May 1999
From: Barbara Berrie


You might be interested in reading the translation of Mappae
Clavicula by Smith and Hawthorne published in:
Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc., 1974, vol 64 part 4.
I don't know the full page citation.
I have a poor photocopy of part of it. Smith and Hawthorne's
footnotes are good.

BHBerrie


Subject: ACADEMY : Mappae Clavicula
Date: Tue, 11 May 1999
From: Adam McLean

Dear Barbara Berrie,

Thanks so much for this information. I did not
know that a translation had been made. Luckily
I have access to the Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc. here
in Glasgow and will look at this next week.

It is amazing what is hidden away in various
academic Journals. I recently found an article which
gave some information on alchemy within different cultures
'A history of ideas about the prolongation of life' in this
very same journal, 'The Transactions of the American
Philosophical Society' Volume 56, Part 9, 1966. If I
had time I suppose I should go through all the volumes
of this journal sequentially searching for any material
relevant to alchemy.

Best wishes,
Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Rosicrucian Movement in English Literature
From: Adam Audette
Date: 12 May 1999


You might also refer to the Codex Rosae Crucis, published
by Manly Hall 1938 and re-issued 1971. Excellent (although
brief) historical account focusing on the 17th & 18th centuries
of the Rosicrucian problem. The earlier edition of this work
is extremely scarce, as only 1000 copies were printed.
However the more recent edition is obtainable at www.prs.org.
It is a work of careful and scholarly research.

Extract from the introduction:

"Historians of Rosicrucianism receive scant praise for
honest research when their findings upset preconceived
notions. Modern protagonists gyved in errors make a sorry
spectacle when their literary productions are subjected to
critical analysis. After reading the recent "histories" of the Order,
I feel that Rosicrucianism needs a restatement. As no other
apologist has appeared, I have ventured this present treatise
to clarify the subject from the injustices heaped upon it by
friends, foes, and "impartial" historians."

I was taken, upon reading Fulcanelli's Dwellings of the
Philosophers, with a certain concordance of views between
the two philosophers on the Rosicrucian issue. Also of interest
is the D.O.M.A. manuscript (18th century) that is re-produced in
facsimile and also translated into English for the first time.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Audette



Subject: ACADEMY : Rosicrucian Movement in English Literature
From: Adam McLean
Date: 12 May 1999

Stanton J. Linden is one of the most important of contemporary
scholars investigating the influence of alchemical and related
ideas on the literature of the 17th century. You might do well to
consider reading his articles and books.

Alchemy and eschatology in Seventeenth-century poetry.
Ambix, 31, (3), 1984, p102-124.

Jonson and Sendivogius: Some new light on Mercury
vindicated from the alchemists at court. Ambix 24, 1977, p39-54.

Francis Bacon and Alchemy: The reformation of Vulcan.
Journal of History of Ideas, 35, 1974, 547-560.

Dark Hieroglyphicks


Subject: ACADEMY : Mappae Clavicula
Date: 13 May 1999
From: Adam McLean

The manuscript of the Mappae Clavicula, written probably
about 1170 ( at Bec in Normandy?) was formerly in the
collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps. It was this manuscript that
that was published in 1847. It is now in the Corning Glass
Museum in Corning, New York, USA.

I have also found a short piece on the 'Mappa clavicula' in
an article by Heinz Roosen-Runge on early medieval
technology manuscripts. Here is my rather inadequate
translation of these paragraphs.

"The 'Mappae Clavicula' is the most famous early medieval
art-technical tract. It descends from the English tradition and is found
most completely in a North-France manuscript of the 12th Century.
The name is much older however and it is already mentioned in the year
821 in the 'Reichenauer Bücherkatalog'. On the other hand, parts of the
text already appear in the 8th to the 9th century in a manuscript in Lucca,
the 'Compositiones ad tingenda musiva'.

The manuscript contains 294 rules for metal-working, Alcherny
and art-technology. In the second hundred there are a number of
recipes for the manufacture of dyes."


Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Museum exhibits on alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 13th May 1999

There is a reconstructed alchemical laboratory
in the Deutsche Museum in Munich. This shows an
alchemical laboratory as it might have appeared in 1600.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : New book on Bruno
From: George Leake
Date: 15th May 1999


I just wanted to mention a book I found reference to earlier this week and
is turning out to be the most exciting new work on Bruno I've seen this
decade. It includes English translations of three of Bruno's most important
works. If I have time, I'll return with a capsule review. Very encouraging
too that it is a part of Cambridge's "Texts in the History of Philosophy"
series, as usually Hermeticism and Alchemical related topics tend to get
overlooked in such surveys.

AUTHOR: Bruno, Giordano, 1548-1600. TITLE: Cause, principle, and unity /
translated and edited by Robert de Lucca. Essays on magic / translated and
edited by RichardJ. Blackwell ; (both written by) Giordano Bruno ; with an
introduction by Alfonso Ingegno.
PUBLISHED: Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
DESCRIPTION: xxxvi, 186 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. SERIES: Cambridge texts in the
history of philosophy NOTES: Includes bibliographical references (p.
xxxiv-xxxv) and index. Contents: Cause, principle and unity -- On magic --
A general account of bonding. SUBJECTS: Metaphysics--Early works to 1800.
Magic--Early works to 1800. OTHER AUTHORS: Lucca, Robert de Blackwell,
Richard J., 1929- Bruno, Giordano, 1548-1600. / Essays on magic. 1998.
OTHER AUTHORS: Bruno, Giordano, 1548-1600. / General account of bonding.
1998. OTHER TITLES: Essays on magic
ISBN: 052159359X (hardback) 0521596580 (pbk.) OCLC NUMBER: 38765070



Subject: ACADEMY : Mappae Clavicula
From: Sophie Page
Date: 15th May 1999


I briefly looked at some texts related to the Mappae Clavicula in the
course of part of my phd research and wondered if the following
information would be useful.

Recipe collections of this kind both named and formal (in the
sense of being copied fairly consistently), and anonymous and
informal appear in large numbers of Medieval manuscripts in alchemical
collections and with secrets, practical, magical and medical recipes.

In at least one monastic library which I know of (St. Augustine's,
Canterbury) the MC is included in the section of the library containing
alchemical works.

Articles which may be of interest on this subject:
'Medieval recipes describing the use of metals in manuscripts' S.M.
Alexander, in Marsyas 12, pp.34-51.
'Art, Technology and Science: Notes on their Historical Interaction' CS
Smith. in Technology and Culture 11, pp.493-549.
'Notes on some mss. of the Mappae Clavicula, ' Rozelle Johnson in
Speculum 10, 1935.
'Trial Index to some unpublished sources for the History of Medieval
Craftsmanship' Daniel V Thompson, pp.410-431.

Sophie Page


Subject: ACADEMY : The fifth essence
From: Sophie Page
Date: 15th May 1999


I wondered if anybody could help me with information on
'the fifth essence' - what it is and which texts discuss it. I am
most interested in Medieval texts. I am translating a Latin
text (12th or 13th century) at present called the book of the
essence of the spirits. In spite of the title it is rather more religious
than alchemical. A line in this text reads: 'The spirit is of the fifth
essence, the second purity, or the weak harmony of the elements...'
I have come across one other Medieval text, which is alchemical
in the traditional sense (?) (instructions for making gold and
curing diseases etc) and called the book of the fifth essence,
of which there is (an old and rather inadequate) edition of the
English version. I would also be interested if anyone knew
anything about this text.

Sophie Page


Subject: ACADEMY : Museum exhibits on alchemy
From: Klaus Oberhummer
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999


There is an original alchemical laboratory ( Fugger laboratory)
in Austria - called the laboratory of Oberstockstall - in Kirchberg
am Wagram.

Lit: Rudolf Werner Soukup, Helmut Mayer : Alchemistisches Gold,
Paracelsitische Pharmaka. Boehlau Verlag Wien,Koln,Weimar.

Mag.Klaus Oberhummer
Technisches Museum Wien


Subject: ACADEMY : Museum exhibits on alchemy
From: Michal Pober
Date: Sun, 16 May 1999


Dear Catherine,

>If there should be anything in terms of alchemical connections to
>Spain, such as visiting/collaborating Jewish, Christian, or Muslim
>alchemists in Prague, during any era, I would be interested.

Nothing immediately springs to mind but I'll keep you posted if it does.

>How long does the exhibit run?
Its a permanent exhibition but has very abbreviated hours in winter which
are probably also 'flexible'. Once I went there when it should have been
open but wasn't.
I'll be there next week and will make a note of the official hours.

>I have a friend who could visit
>it for me.

But probably can't take photos..

Best Regards,
michal


Subject: ACADEMY : Jean de la fontaine - mercury as a tree
From: Mon, 17 May 1999
Date: Veerle Johanna Fraeters


I am currently reading 'Een uytlegginge vanden boom mercurii'
(= an explanation of the tree ['named' or 'of'] Mercury), a short
alchemical text in verse (154 lines) which is contained in ms.
Sloane 1255, an autograph of the Flemish medical doctor and
alchemist Justus a Balbian (= Joos van Balbiaen, °Aalst1543 -
Ý Delft 1616).

The text learns that corpus and anima, being brought together
into one vessel, will generate a tree which will be of much use to
the king and the queen. Further on the six planets (mercury, luna,
saturn, jupiter, mars, venus) each utter a short complaint about
their vileness and how they long to be purified from sulphur so
that their real power can come out. Finally the sun presents
himself as the perfect king of the world, who first has to die in
order to resurrect together with his father, after which he can be
multiplied in order to help those who are in spiritual or material
need.

The poem is apparently translated out of french ('uyt den
walschen'), and it containes a reference to 'Jan Fonteyne' or
'Fontanus' of whom is said that he has written most clearly about
the art. A text of Jean de la Fontaine de Valencienne (15th century)
might be the source of the Dutch poem. I checked 'La fontaine
des amoureux de la science', a trancription of which is available
on Adam's alchemy website (thank you!!!), but I found no literal
parallels with the (much shorter) Dutch poem. 'La fontaine des
amoureux ...' is transcribed from a book entitled 'La metallique
transformation. Contenant trois anciens traitez en rithme francoise'
edited by Pierre Rigaud, Lyon, 1618. This edition apparently
contains three different poems by Jean de la Fontaine, one of
which may be the source of the Dutch poem about the tree of
mercury. I checked Adam's 'database of alchemical books up to
1800' but could not find the Rigaud edition there.

Does any of you know in which library this book can be consulted?
Does any of you know of articles on Jean de la Fontaine and/or
his works?

I noticed that the representation of mercury as a tree is not
uncommon. There are quite a lot of iconographical testimonies.
Does any of you know more about the tradition of mercury as a tree
and about the symbolical meaning of this image?

Veerle Johanna Fraeters
Antwerpen


Subject: ACADEMY : Jean de la fontaine - mercury as a tree
From: Mon, 17 May 1999
Date: Veerle Johanna Fraeters


> 'La fontaine des
>amoureux ...' is transcribed from a book entitled 'La metallique
>transformation. Contenant trois anciens traitez en rithme francoise'
>edited by Pierre Rigaud, Lyon, 1618. This edition apparently
>contains three different poems by Jean de la Fontaine, one of
>which may be the source of the Dutch poem about the tree of
>mercury. I checked Adam's 'database of alchemical books up to
>1800' but could not find the Rigaud edition there.

>Does any of you know in which library this book can be consulted?

Jean de LA FONTAINE de Valenciennes.
La metallique transformation. Contenant trois anciens traictez en
rithme françoise. A sçavoir, La fontaine des amoureux de science:
autheur I. de la Fontaine. Les remonstrances de nature a l'alchymiste
errant: avec la responce dudict alchym. par I. de Mung. Ensemble
un traicté de son Romant de la rose concernant ledict art. Le
sommaire philosophique de N. Flamel. Avec la deffense d'iceluy
art, et des honestes personnages qui y vacquent: contre les efforts
que I. Girard met à les outrager. Derniere edition.
Lyon: Pierre Rigaud 1618.

There is a copy here in Glasgow in the Ferguson Collection at
Glasgow University.

Earlier editions of 'La metallique transformation'

Paris: Guillaume Guillard en Amaulry Warancore 1561
copies in the BPH Amsterdam and the Duveen Collection,
Wisconsin.

Lyon: Rigaud 1590.
copies in the BPH Amsterdam and in the Herzog August
Bibliothek Wolfenbuttel.

There is an edition of 'La fontaine des amoureux de science...'
Lyon: J. de Tournes, 1571.
Copy in the Duveen Collection, Wisconsin.

>Does any of you know of articles on Jean de la Fontaine and/or
>his works?

I cannot remember any articles which discuss this poem.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Jean de la fontaine - mercury as a tree
From: George Leake
Date: 17 May 1999


Veerle Johanna Fraeters wrote:

> I checked 'La fontaine
>des amoureux de la science', a trancription of which is available
>on Adam's alchemy website (thank you!!!), but I found no literal
>parallels with the (much shorter) Dutch poem. 'La fontaine des
>amoureux ...' is transcribed from a book entitled 'La metallique
>transformation. Contenant trois anciens traitez en rithme francoise'
>edited by Pierre Rigaud, Lyon, 1618.

This seems close but probably not what you're looking for...Veerle, if
nothing turns up, email me directly and I'll try a search on a resource
that should have it (its just one that takes a bit of time and patience to
get to and use)--email me at taliesin@mail.utexas.edu if it comes to that.

AUTHOR: Tagault, Jean, d. 1545. TITLE: Opuscule tres-necessaire a ceux qui
veulent parvenir a la cognoissance des principes de la science, ou art, de
chirurgie. Extraict des Institutes de M. Jean Tagaut. / Et mis en dialogue
par Tannequin Guillaumet ... PUBLISHED: Lyon, Benoist Rigaud, 1590.
DESCRIPTION:58, (3) p. 12 cm. SERIES: French books before 1601, roll 325,
item 5. NOTES: Colophon: de l'imprimerie, de Pierre Chastain dit Dauphin.
1589. Imperfect: p. 19-30 wanting. Master microform held by: GmC.
Microfilm. Watertown, Mass., General Microfilm Co., (19--) 1 microfilm
reel. 35 mm. (French books before 1601, roll 325,item 5) OTHER AUTHORS:
Guillaumet, Tannequin, fl. 1575-1622. OCLC NUMBER: 23457509 Available
from Center for Research Libraries, Chicago.


Subject: ACADEMY : The fifth essence
From: Iain Jamieson
Date: 17 May 1999


Sophie Page. wrote:

> I wondered if anybody could help me with information on
> 'the fifth essence' - what it is and which texts discuss it. I am
> most interested in Medieval texts. I am translating a Latin
> text (12th or 13th century) at present called the book of the
> essence of the spirits. In spite of the title it is rather more religious
> than alchemical. A line in this text reads: 'The spirit is of the fifth
> essence, the second purity, or the weak harmony of the elements...'
> I have come across one other Medieval text, which is alchemical
> in the traditional sense (?) (instructions for making gold and
> curing diseases etc) and called the book of the fifth essence,
> of which there is (an old and rather inadequate) edition of the
> English version. I would also be interested if anyone knew
> anything about this text.

Dear Sophie,

I assume the medieval text you refer to is that edited by
Furnivall for the Early English Text Soc. from Slo. ms. 73 and
ascribed to Hermes (!). This text is a mangled translation of John
of Rupescissa's 'Liber de consideratione quintae essentiae', a
work which had considerable influence on the pseudo-Lullian
alchemical corpus. The following references will, I
hope, be useful:

Walter Pagel, Paracelsus, an Introduction to philosophical
medicine in the era of the Renaissance, 2nd ed., Karger, Basel,
1982, pp. 263-266, for Rupescissa and Arnaldus on the Quinta Essentia.

Michaela Pereira, The Alchemical Corpus attributed to Raymond Lull,
Warburg Inst., London, 1989, Index, s.v. John of Rupescissa.

R.P. Multhauf, John of Rupescissa and the growth of medical
chemistry, Isis, 45 (1954), pp.359-367.

You might also like to check Multhauf's 'Origins of Chemistry'
which has some materials on J. of R. and the Quinta Essentia. I
don't have a copy to hand so I can't give you the references.

Iain Jamieson


Subject: ACADEMY : Church reactions to Alchemy
From: Jim Luebke
Date: 17 May 1999


I was curious where I could find the best resources detailing the
reaction of the Catholic Church to the practitioners of alchemy in the
period between 1200-1500.

Thanks,

Jim


Subject: ACADEMY : Church reactions to Alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18 May 1999

Jim Luebke asked:

>I was curious where I could find the best resources detailing the
>reaction of the Catholic Church to the practitioners of alchemy in the
>period between 1200-1500.

There is an excellent article:

Ogrinc, Will H.L.
Western society and alchemy from 1200 to 1500.
Journal of Medieval History 6 (1980) p103-132

Also this book provides an interesting survey of the
history of alchemy:

De Pascalis, Andrea.
Alchemy. The Golden Art. The secrets of the oldest enigma.
Rome, Gremese International, 1995.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : The fifth essence
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18 May 1999


Sophie Page wrote:

> I wondered if anybody could help me with information on
> 'the fifth essence' - what it is and which texts discuss it. I am
> most interested in Medieval texts. I am translating a Latin
> text (12th or 13th century) at present called the book of the
> essence of the spirits. In spite of the title it is rather more religious
> than alchemical. A line in this text reads: 'The spirit is of the fifth
> essence, the second purity, or the weak harmony of the elements...'

The 'fifth essence' is surely a rather hazy undefined term in early
alchemy. As far as I understand the concept of a 'fifth essence'
arose as a reaction to the restrictions and rigidities of the Aristotlean
four elements. It was a transfomational dynamic power that came
from outside the four elements. Some people saw it as coming from
the heavenly sphere, from outside the spheres of the four
elements, earth lowest, then the sea or sphere of water, the air,
the realm of fire above, and outside this the heavenly sphere
and the 'fifth essence'. I think we will find this concept of a dynamic
force that breaks down or transcends the limitations of the four
elements is at the root of the many different expressions of the
'fifth essence' during this early period of European alchemy.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Barbara Obrist's book on alchemical imagery
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18 May 1999

Does anyone have a copy of

Barbara Obrist. Le debuts de l'imagerie alchimique, XIVe-XV siecles.
Paris. Le Sycomore. 1982. 328 pages.

I have been looking for a copy of this book for over three years.
I would really appreciate it if anyone could lend me a copy for
about two weeks.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Church reactions to Alchemy
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: 18 May 1999


Jim Luebke asked:

>I was curious where I could find the best resources detailing the
>reaction of the Catholic Church to the practitioners of alchemy in the
>period between 1200-1500.

Dear Jim:

There is a great article (in French) about alchemy in the Middle Ages:

Barbara Obrist: "Les Rapports d'Analogie entre Philosophie et
Alchimie Médiévales". In "Alchimie et Philosophie à la
Renaissance". pp. 43-64. Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 1993. París.

Barbara Obrist provides details about the break between alchemy
and European universities in the Middle Age. The assimilation of a
writing based on supernatural ideas (for example: Petrus Bonus:
'Margarita Pretiosa Novella') was scandalous to a university
controlled by the Christian Church.

José Rodríguez
(Spain)


Subject: ACADEMY : Psellus 'Chrysopeia'
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18 May 1999


Has anyone any information on the 'Chrysopeia' of Michael
Psellus (1018- 1078)? I have not been able to locate an
English translation, though there is a French version in

Épître sur la Chrysopée. Opuscules et extraits sur l'alchimie,
la météorologie et la démonologie, publiés par Joseph Bidez.
En appendice-Proclus: Sur l'art hiératique; Psellus:
Choix de dissertations inédites.
Publisher: pp. xiv. 246. Bruxelles, 1928. 8o.
Series: [Catalogue des manuscrits alchimiques grecs. vol. 6.]

And also an Italian translation 'La Crisopea', edited F. Albini,
Genoa, 1988.

This is an early text on gold making from a Byzantine
source.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY : The fifth essence
From: Klaus Oberhummer
Date: Wed, 19 May 1999

Dear Sophie!

I'll send you some information on quintessenz. I hope you
understand enough German to understand this text.

Lit: Claus Priesner.Karin Figala:Alchemie, Lexikon einer hermetischen
Wissenschaft.

Quintessenz
Seinen Ursprung nahm der Begriff der Q. (von lat. quinta essentia^ d. h.
) in der Naturphilosophie des T Aristoteles. Den vier t
Elementen der sublunaren Welt (Feuer, Wasser, Erde u. Luft) stellte er ein
funftes, himmlisches, an die Seite. Dieses Konzept leitete er aus seiner
Bewegungslehre ab: Der linearen Bewegung der irdischen Stoffe, die den
Gesetzen des Werdens und Vergehens durch stofflichen Austausch gehorch-ten,
stand die bestandig kreisformige der Himmelskorper, deren Sphare daher eine
grundsatzlich andere, gottliche, Beschaffenheit haben mu?te, gegenuber.
Dieser Weltather, spater auch Spiritus (s. T Geist) bzw. t Pneu-ma genannt,
diente als immaterielles Substrat der regelma?igen Bewegung der Gestirne,
die sich bis auf den irdischen Bereich ubertrug. Die pseudo-aristotelische
Schrift (i. Jh. n. Chr.) schrieb spater diesem subtilen
Ather stofflichen Charakter zu und verlieh ihm gottliche, erschaf-fende und
bewegende Krafte.
In der alchemischen Literatur erscheint die Q. als innerster Wesenskern
aller Stoffe, dem eine konservierende oder heilende Kraft eigen war. T
Jo-hannes von Rupescissa ordnete in seiner Schrift quintae essentiae rerum omnium> (Uberlegungen zur Q. aller Dinge) diese den
anderen vier Elementen uber. Gleichzeitig wird der Gedanke einer einzigen
Q. zugunsten diverser, jeweils substanzspezifischer Q.en aufgegeben. Durch
Destillation (s. T Arbeitsmethoden} gewann er aus dem Wein die wertvoll-ste
und heilkraftigste Q., die Quinta essentia vini (Weingeist, T Alkohol), die
die nach der aristotelischen Elementenlehre an sich unvereinbaren Ele-mente
Feuer (hei? und trocken) und Wasser (kalt und feucht) wunderba-rerweise in
sich vereinigte. Fur die Isolierung der spezifischen Q.en aus Pflanzen,
tierischen Stoffen und Mineralien sowie deren Anwendung als Arzneien gab er
genaue Anweisungen. Eine aus den vier antiken Elementen gewonnene Q. wurde
als Mercurius philosophorum (Merkur der Philoso-phen^ s. a. T Quecksilber}
bezeichnet; dieser sollte - wie der Gotterbote Merkur - die himmlischen mit
den irdischen Spharen verbinden. Die Idee der Q. fand danach ihren
besonderen Niederschlag in der Pharmazie. Hie-ronymus Brunschwig(k) (f 1512
od. 1513) beschrieb in seinem beruhmten simplicibus> (Stra?burg 1500, dt. 1512) die Herstellung diverser Q.en als
Arzneimittel. T Paracelsus ordnete die Q.en den anderen Elementen nicht
mehr uber, sondern sah darin das fur einen bestimmten Stoff
charakteristische Element (so ist die Q. des / Goldes das
301
Quintessenz

<< OLE-Objekt: Picture (Metafile) >>
Destillation von Krauteressenzen. Im Titelholzschnitt von Michael Puff von
Schricks Buch erscheint die seltene
Darstellung einer Frau als Laborantin. Dies verweist auf die alte Tradition
der krauterkundigen Volks-medizinerinnen, da es (soweit wir wissen) kaum
Alchemistinnen gab. (Aus: Michael Puff von Schrick, Hienach volget ein
nuczliche materi von manigerley ausgepranten wasser wie man die nuczen und
pruchen soll etc., Augsburg 1478 u. ofter)
Feuer). Bei ihm wie bei seinen Vorgangern und auch bei spateren Autoren
wird die jeweilige Q. durch eine Extraktion, d h. durch Abtrennung aller
unwirksamen bzw. verunreinigenden Bestandteile, erhaken. In diesem Sin-ne
definierten auch Martin T Ruiand (1612) und Antome Joseph Pernety
(1716-1800/01) in ihren Lexika die Q. als stoffliche Essenz, die die einem
Korper eigenen wirksamen Krafte bzw. Qualitaten in sich vereinigt.
Der-artige Extrakte als Arzneiform finden sich noch im 19. Jh. in den
Pharma-kopoen und belegen so die Dauerhaftigkeit der Vorstellung eines in
jedem Stoff vorhandenen isolierbaren Wesenskerns.
L Aristoteles, De caelo, Buch I, 2-3; 268^-270 , in: J. Barnes (Hrsg.), The
Complete Works of Aristotle. The revised Oxford Translation, Princeton
1984, Bd. I, S. 447-51;
Ruland, S. 400 f; A.-J. Pernety, Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermetique, Paris 1758,
(Nachdr.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

To my mind you should imagine that "Quintessenz" was used by German
writers, who imagined something like "Gewinnt-Essenz", which is pronounced
very similar to "Quintessenz". The latin quinque pronounces to my mind the
symmetry five of the human hand.
Maybe Quintessenz could be understood as "Gewinne was du ersehnst, mit
Hilfe der menschlichen Hand" . Win/make the desired with the help of man.

Klaus Oberhummer



Subject: ACADEMY : Fifth essence
From: Sophie Page
Date: Thu, 20 May 1999

Thanks to everybody for their helpful information on the fifth
essence, it appears that I was very ignorant until a week ago.

The text I am studying seems to use the term 'fifth essence' in
a sense closer to the Aristotelian one (though filtered through
a Christian interpretation) than the alchemical one but I need to
do more research.

I think it was probably written before Johannes de Rupescissa's
work and does not seem to share any elements of either his
alchemical text or his religious prophecies (and thus could not
usefully be viewed as a transitional text between the two senses
of the 5th essence).

However, a look at Michela Pereira's corpus of Pseudo-Lullian
alchemical works has indicated 12 (at least) more works largely
centred on the fifth essence which I may need to investigate.

I still need to work out the exact alchemical content of the text I am
looking at (if any) and may further try the patience of Alchemy
Academy members with questions in a few weeks time.

Sophie Page


Subject: ACADEMY : Smithsonian Institution Libraries Resident Scholar Programs
Date: Thu, 20 May 1999
From: Maureen Daley

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries Resident Scholar Programs offer
short-term study grants for 2000 with stipends of $1,800/month for
durations of one to three months. Three awards are in the Smithsonian
Institution Libraries Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program
supported by The Dibner Fund for research in the Dibner Library of the
History of Science and Technology. A fourth is in the Smithsonian
Institution Libraries Resident Scholar Program for research in other
special collections of the Libraries. Historians, librarians, doctoral
students and other scholars are invited to apply. Deadline for
applications: December 1, 1999. Applications and more information
will be posted after June 15, 1999, visit
http://www.sil.si.edu/Information-Files/dibner-fellowship.htm.
Applications are also available by writing to Smithsonian Institution
Libraries Resident Scholar Programs, Smithsonian Institution
Libraries, NHB 22, MRC 154, Washington, D.C. 20560-0154. Tel: (202)
357-2240, or send e-mail to libmail@sil.si.edu.

Maureen Daley
Program Assistant
Information Systems Division/Publications Office
Smithsonian Institution Libraries


Subject: ACADEMY : Church reactions to Alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 22 May 1999

Jim Luebke asked:

>I was curious where I could find the best resources detailing the
>reaction of the Catholic Church to the practitioners of alchemy in the
>period between 1200-1500.

Sorry, I forgot a most important article

Wilfrid Theisen.
The attraction of alchemy for monks and friars in the 13th-14th centuries.
The American Benedictine Review, 1995, 46:3, p239-253.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : John Thornborough
From: Tim Axon
Date: 24 May 1999

I am currently doing some research on John Thornborough (1551-1641),
Bishop of Worcester (1617-1641). Thornborough was interested in
alchemy and wrote an alchemical work, "Lithotheorikos" (1621).
He also knew Robert Fludd, who dedicated his "Anatomiae
Amphitheatrum" (1623) to him. (Fludd's "Mosaicall Philosophy" also
mentions Thornborough). He appears to have led an extremely
colourful life - I have found several books which mention him briefly,
in passing, (e.g. DNB, Joan Lane's "John Hall and His Patients",
Allen Debus's "The English Paracelsians", William Huffman's
biography of Fludd, A. L. Rowse's book on Simon Forman), but
nothing more substantial. (A couple of articles by Ron Heisler,
accessible through the Alchemy Website, also mention him).
Are there any further references that might be of use?

I would be particularly interested in views as to the possible
significance of his remarkable tomb in Worcester Cathedral.
At the top left of one side of the tomb (on the stone canopy above
his effigy) is the Latin inscription "DENARIVS PHILOSOPHORVM.".
At the top right: "DVM SPIRO, SPERO.". On the other side of the
tomb, top left: "IN VNO.2.3.4.10" (with superscripts "o", "a" and "r"
above of "2", "3" and "4", respectively); top right: "NON SPIRANS."

I interpret the phrase "DENARIVS PHILOSOPHORVM" to refer
to the Pythagorean Ten/Decad. This is supported by the
reference to "VNO.2.3.4.10", which looks like a reference to the
Pythagorean tetraktys. Final confirmation lies in the fact that
immediately beneath the latter phrase is an heraldic device
consisting of an (inverted) tetraktys! In fact, it turns out that
this is the arms of the see of Worcester, which long predates
Thornborough, but I feel sure that - in the choice of his inscription -
Thornborough must have been making a conscious connection
between the two.

Perhaps, then, the Latin inscription is a meditation on the Decad.
Nevertheless, the sense of the whole inscription eludes me, and
I wonder if anyone has any suggestions to offer?

(Note: the phrase "NON SPIRANS." is reported in early sources
to be "NON SPIRANS SPERABO", but there is no evidence of this
from the tomb as it now exists - I suspect the latter is a mistranscription.
The shield beneath this phrase bears the personal arms of
Thornborough. There are also shields beneath each of the first
two phrases mentioned - these are unfortunately now defaced but
there are reasons to think that they also bore the arms of the see
and of Thornborough).

There are two other Latin inscriptions that may be of relevance.
Above the head of the effigy: "Mors nubecula transiens, Laborum
finis. vita Ianua scala coeli. mihj Lucrum.". Above the feet of the
effigy: "Quj dormis attolle caput quia in infirmitate virtus, in Morte
vita, in tenebris Lux." Are these quotes, I wonder?

Any help regarding Thornborough, and especially regarding
the tomb, would be very gratefully received!

With many thanks,

Tim Axon


Subject: ACADEMY : The fifth essence
From: Adam McLean
Date: 25 May 1999

There is a short but very interesting discussion of the fifth
element in this article in AMBIX

Daniel Merkur. The study of spiritual alchemy: mysticism,
gold-making and esoteric hermeneutics. Ambix, 37, 1990, p35-45.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Data bank of alchemical pictures
From: Adam McLean
Date: 25 May 1999

On the inside cover of Andrea De Pascalis' book
'Alchemy the golden art', it mentions that he is -

"currently working on a project, approved by the
C.N.R. (National Research Council), for the
creation of a data bank of alchemical and early
chemical pictures."

Does anyone have any information on this project
or a contact address for Andrea De Pascalis?

The preparation of a such a data bank, provided it
was exhaustive and comprehensive would be
invaluable. I myself have been trying to do this for many
years, but without any financial resources or assistance
it is proving a considerable task for me to undertake. I
already have completed about half the work necessary.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Dum spiro spero
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999

Dear Tim Axon,

The inscription "DUM SPIRO SPERO" struck an immediate chord
in my memory as there is in the ceiling at the castle of
DAMPIERRE-sur- BOUTONNE, (built at the end of the 15th century)
one of Fulcanelli's Philosophick Dwellings a similar inscription
i.e. "DUM SPIRO SPERABO" As long as I breathe I hope.
This is to be found in the third panel at the top of the second series,
in a phylactery above a severed snake representing the
Philosophick Mercury. The text concerning this particular emblem
is to be found on page 219 of the original edition. (Paris 1930) .
I am certain that you will find it easily as Les Demeures Philosophales
was also recently translated into English.
Let me know if you need more help.

Sincerely,

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola


Subject: ACADEMY : Dum spiro spero
From: Adam McLean
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999

The motto 'Dum spiro spero' was used by the Lindsay
family in Scotland. The early 17th century Lord Lindsay
built an interesting renaissance walled garden at his
castle at Edzell in Scotland. This bears the date 1604
over the entrance gate, and the walled garden has
three series of seven relief sculptures - representing
the seven planets, the seven liberal arts and the seven
virtues. These are set into strange checkered bays
with seven pointed stars in the wall.

The son of this Lord Edzell, was the Earl of Balcarres,
Sir David Lindsay, who had an especial interest in
alchemy and the rosicrucians, and had an extensive
library, for the time, on alchemy.

I will put a little plan of this walled garden onto the
alchemy web site at

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/images/edzell.gif

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Béroalde de Verville's Steganographic preface
From: Adam McLean
Date: 27 May 1999

At the end of March Stanislas Klossowski de Rola kindly
promised that he would translate the "Recueil Steganographique
contenant l'intelligence du frontispiice de ce livre"
from Béroalde de Verville's 'Songe de Poliphile...' Paris 1600.
and allow me to make it available on the alchemy web site.

I am pleased to say that he has now completed his translation
and sent me the text earlier today. I have now set it up on the
web site at

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



Subject: ACADEMY : John Thornborough
From: Adam McLean
Date: 27 May 1999


This evening by serendipity this book was drawn to my attention. I noticed
that it was dedicated to John Thornborough

==============================
Lambye, John Baptiste.
A revelation of the Secret Spirit. Declaring the most concealed secret of
Alchymie. Written first in Latine by an unknowne Author, but explained
in Italian, by Iohn Baptista Lambye, Venetian. Lately translated into
English, by R.N.E. Gentleman.
London, Printed by Iohn Haviland for Henrie Skelton, and are to be
sold at his shop a little within All-gate. 1623. [STC 15177.]
16° [12] + 80 +[2] pages.

p[1] [Title page.]
p[3]-[8] [Epistle dedicatory.] To the Right Reverend Father in God, my
honourable Lord, Iohn Thornburgh, Lord Bishop of Worcester, health
and happinesse. [At end "R.N.E."]
p[9]-[11] To the discreet and true searchers of the secrets of Nature,
leading a solitary life. Iohn Baptista Lambye, Venetian, wisheth health.
p1-17 The revelation of the secret spirit. The author sets out to describe
that secret spiritual substance which can remove all corruptions,
renew youth and prolong short life.
p18-22 The Preamble to the Exposition of the secret spirit.
[This is a summary of the following section.]
p23-80 [Text in eight chapters.]
Wherein it is proved that there is only one thing, out of which the secret
Spirit, or the Philosophers Stone, may be taken - In which shall bee
seene, (by meanes of many sentences of divers Philosophers) if it
can bee judged, what thing is this only thing - Wherein is proved,
that of necessity it behoveth to reduce the body to the first matter,
that it may be disposed for the separation of the Elements - Where it
shall bee seene if it bee possible, to know what thing is tis first matter -
In which is handled the separation of the foure Elements, which the
apparitions of that secret Spirit doe signifie - In which shall be declared
the fifth apparition of the secret Spirit in a glorified body - Wherein is
shewed the manner to make the Elixir, or medicine to conserve the
life of man - Where are handled the divers workers in this Science.
p[1] Errata.
================


Subject: ACADEMY : Jean de la fontaine - mercury as a tree
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Thu, 27 May 1999

Earlier editions of Jean de la Fontaine are :
Paris 1547 Paris 1561 and there is an excellent anthology
in the third volume of Le Roman de la Rose Paris 1735.

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola


Subject: ACADEMY : Data bank of alchemical pictures
From: Adam McLean
Date: 28 May 1999

I have today placed part of my provisional database of alchemical
iconology in printed books onto the web site.

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

Over the past years I have researched over 1020 books containing
woodcuts or engravings. This online database of the iconography
includes a description of the images and in most cases a small
picture for reference purposes. The primary source for this database
is a series of folders I hold here in Glasgow, which have my written
research on over 500 books. This online database initially only
has 55 entries, as it takes an enormous amount of time to scan in
the images and set up the html pages for the web site. New pages
will be added as the work proceeds. As I have no support for this
work I can only find an hour or so a week to do this.

The pictures are small size in order to save disc space and to
save my costs, but they provide a reference for identification
purposes. I cannot provide printing quality images on the web
site. If you require printing quality images then you will have to
contact one of the specialist libraries - Glasgow University,
Wisconsin, or the British Libary - and ask them to make
microfilms or photographs for you. This is expensive and my
own lack of funds means that I myself cannot immediately
afford to have many photographs made. Almost no libraries
allow photocopies to be made from early books.

I would welcome any assistance with developing this project
further. If I could raise some funding I might be able to issue
this as a CD-Rom.

Adam McLean