The Alchemy web site on Levity.com
Alchemy Academy archive
October 2000

Back to alchemy academy archives.
Subject: ACADEMY : John de Monte-Snyders
From: Massimo Marra
Date: 3 Oct 2000


You can find some information in the short introduction to the Italian
translation of the "De Pharmaco Catholico":

Johannes De Monte Snyder - Commentario sul Farmaco Universale,
Arché, Milano 1974


Massimo Marra

Subject: ACADEMY : John de Monte-Snyders
From: Adam McLean
Date: 3 Oct 2000


Massimo Marra

Thanks so much for the reference to the Italian translation of the
'De Pharmaco Catholico'. How foolish of me not to have looked
at this as I have a copy here in Glasgow. It drew my attention to
something else I had forgotten - the fact that Newton had studied
and worked extensively with Monte Snyder' 'Metamorphosis
Planetarum'.

There is a detailed and very useful discussion of Newton's
interest in this work in Betty Dobbs 'The Foundations of Newton's
alchemy', CUP, 1975.

Also in the Italian introduction is a short description of a supposed
transmutation of lead into gold carried out in 1660 by Monte-Snyder
in Vienna in the presence of the Emperor Leopold I.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : John de Monte-Snyders
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2000


Adam wrote:
> Also in the Italian introduction is a short description of a supposed
> transmutation of lead into gold carried out in 1660 by Monte-Snyder
> in Vienna in the presence of the Emperor Leopold I.

Monte Snyder in Vienna at the court of Leopold in 1660 reminds me
of Francesco Maria Santinelli's visit there in 1659 with the verses
"Carlo V" in which he mentions the golden and rosy cross "la mia
aurea rose croce fortuna". Interesting since Palombaras Porta magica
uses the planetary signs from Monte Snyders 'De pharmaco
Universale'. I have newly found a reliable reference (in Arckenholtz
major biography with documents 'Memoires concernant Christine reine
de Suède' Amsterdam,1751) that Santinelli was supported by
Christina even until then (other sources claim that they broke up after
the Monaldescho murder in 1657).

And that it was Christina who sent Santinelli on a diplomatic mission
to Leopold in 1659 after Christina also supported Santinellis love
affair with the countess di Ceri, which was frowned upon by the
Pope who had tried to separate these two because of Santinelli's
lower social rank. Santinelli who knew Palombara may thus also
have known Monte Snyder directly. Santinelli was also accused
of stealing a jewel from Palombara in around 1658 around.
Santinelli is portrayed in rumours in Paris as the one who misled
Christina in the Monaldescho murder, that he was her lover etc.
Both rumours are false, but concealing a larger esoteric intrigue
apparently. I wish one could know more details about these
characters.

It would be worthwhile to get to know more about Leopold's court
as a center for alchemy. What can be known about this milieu?

Susanna Akerman


Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Mike Dickman
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2000


Is there any documented proof of people like Dante's, Lully's,
Jehan de Meung's (and so on) *actual* involvement with alchemy
(in any of its forms), or is it only pseudo-epigraphic and/or hearsay?

m

Subject: ACADEMY : Raimondo Montecuccoli
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2000


I now recall that Raimondo Montecuccoli - an Austrian knight of
the Golden Fleece and member of Christina's Amaranthe Order
kept a notebook called the "Zibaldone" in which he recorded his
Paracelsian readings, alchemy and his ownership of Robert Fludd's
'Summum Bonum'!

I shall investigate these printed records when the Royal Library
here in Stockholm opens again after this weeks closedown of the
library system. Montecuccoli was in Stockholm as the emperor
Leopold's emissar in 1653 and he seems to have developed
towards esotericism in the same fashion as Christina did. He was
in Vienna in 1659 when Santinelli arrived. Leopold I on the other
hand was the one who handed the messianic alchemist Giuseppe
Borri over to the Inquisition in 1670, so much for his commitment
to protecting alchemists. Perhaps Borri was a specially
provocative case.

I have been on the phone some years ago with a man in Paris
who claims to have the copy of a letter from Christina in which there
is an alchemical recipe that he will not divulge with Christina's
comment : Moi Imperatrice et reine, have heard this from the mouth
of Borri and seen the process.

I cannot remember the details and since the letter is not available,
its whereabouts hidden, one can only wonder why she uses the
word Imperatrice which she never uses elsewhere. Perhaps a
Rosicrucian hoax in the footsteps of Canseliet. On the other
hand she met Borri in Amsterdam 1667 and there are other
indications of this sort as you know. I do not know what to believe
and regret that not all documents can be made available to
modern researchers. Alchemy has its rule of secrecy but this
only pertains to the process as far as I understand.

Susanna Åkerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Michael Martin
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2000


Mike and all,

The Dante connection, as far as I know, is connected to Gabriel Rosseti's
assertion that the rose of heaven in the Paradiso is a reference to an occult
order along Rosicrucian/alchemical lines. Eliphas Levi in his letters also
makes this claim. As for de Meung, I am sure you are aware of his supposed
piece in the Theatricum Chemicum Britannicum, though I am not sure how
reliable that connection is. As far as Lully goes...I don't know.

Michael Martin

Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000

Dear Mike Dickman,

Dante. Surely Dante was a bit early (1265-1321) to have access
to the kind of allegorical alchemical symbolism and imagery that
did not appear till the early 15th century. There is very little
published on any supposed use of alchemical ideas by Dante. I have
not seen H.F. Dunbar's 'Symbolism in mediaeval thought and its
consummation in the Divine Comedy', Yale, 1929, which apparently
discusses the influences on Dante. (Old scholarship but possibly still
valid.)
In the 'Divine Comedy' does not Dante condemn two token alchemists
Capocchio and Griffolino, to an eternal leprosy in Hell. This suggests
that Dante saw alchemists rather as scoundrels, fraudulent healers or
multlpliers of gold, than as sources of allegorical imagery.

De Meung. The alchemical association of de Meung (c.1240- c.1305)
with alchemy arises because of his defense of alchemy in his
'Roman de la Rose', but he does not really show there any significant
understanding of the subject. The influences that worked within his
allegorical poem are surely derived from the time he lived, as many
scholars have investigated over the years. Again he lived too early
for the allegorical symbolism that characterised the later alchemy.
( Forget about Flamel's 'Hieroglyphic figures' - whether or not
someone called Flamel existed in the 14th century is unimportant -
the 'Hieroglyphic figures' were obviously a product of the late 16th/
early 17th century.) The alchemical association of de Meung with
alchemy is further muddled by the later addition by Jean Perreal
(1460-1530) of an alchemical verse in the style of de Meung. This
is the one which appears in books and on the alchemy web site
and is usually quoted to give credence to the view of de Meung
as alchemist. It was, however, written more than a century later.

Lull and alchemy. One must surely turn to Michela Periera's
masterful account of Lull 'The alchemical Corpus attributed to
Raymond Lull., Warburg, 1989. All is carefully dissected there.


Mike,
You are asking questions about an early phase of European
alchemy - at the turn of the 13th century into the 14th. It is difficult
to see this period clearly as it predates printing and though
there are a number of manuscript sources one needs to have
a considerable ability with the Latin of that time in order to
penetrate these writings (as well being able to read the
handwriting!). There is an obvious change in alchemy
at the beginning of the 15th century when a new allegorical
view of alchemy began to appear in the 'Pretiossissime
Donum Dei', the 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit', the
'Aurora consurgens' and the 'Splendor solis' manuscripts.
One cannot really read the alchemy of the 13th/14th century
through this later allegorical material.


Dear Michael Martin,
Beware quoting Eliphas Levi as an authority. He was a
romanticiser and propogandist for certain ideas, the veracity
of which is rather dubious. Levi should be treated as a
phenomenon of the 19th century French occult revival, and
not as a serious scholar.
To get closer to the truth of a subject as confused and
obscure as alchemy we must turn to those with a clear
mind who are prepared to look at alchemy as it is,
rather than those who want to present alchemy in a way
they would prefer it to be.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 9 Oct 2000

Mike Dickman wrote:

>Is their any documented proof of people like Dante's, Lully's, Jehan de
>Meung's (and so on) *actual* involvement with alchemy (in any of its forms),
>or is it only pseudo-epigraphic and/or hearsay?


At the risk of offending a number of people (something I
seem to be doing a great deal recently!) it may be that
sometimes we are looking through the wrong end of the
telescope.

People interested in alchemy often want it to be a hidden
influence behind outer culture, when the fact is that alchemy
lived alongside and responded to changes in this outer
culture.

Could it not be that we should be looking for the influences
of Dante, de Meung and the poets and authors of allegorical
works during the 13th and 14th centuries, upon alchemical
writers? Could it be that alchemical writers were responding
to this material and recasting the way in which they communicated
their ideas into similar allegorical forms? Thus the explosion of
alchemical allegorical works in the 15th century.

Perhaps we are reading the influences the wrong way round?

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 10 Oct 2000


There is an article by the respected German scholar E. von Lippman
in an old journal dating from 1922. This issue was devoted to
exploring various aspects and cultural influences on Dante. Lippmann
appears to have been asked to look at the chemical and technological
ideas in Dante. He seems to have found very little apart from the
obvious references to the four elements, four qualities, the four
temperaments, the planets and metals, and various herbs and
substances. These are ideas which were current in the culture of
the time and did not require any specialist alchemical knowledge.


Lippmann, Edmund O. von. Chemisches und technologisches
bei Dante.
Archivo di Storio della Scienza (later Archeion) 3, 1922. p45-56.


Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000


There is the book "Dante, alchimiste" by Jacques Breyer Paris 1957.
I looked at it while studying Emperor Henry and the Paradiso. It is not
very good I thought and left it at the time. I think the point is the
colour symbolism in Dante. But perhaps you should take a look.

Gabriele Rossetti (the pre-Raphaelite painter's father) published
a string of books based on his own interpretations making Dante
into a platonically inspired follower of the Templars and as a
proto-Rosicrucian. This did not depend on any alchemical symbolism
as I recall. But Rosetti trotted this interpretation out as a sequel
to his grand work 'Il mistero del amor platonico' and his 'Il spirito
anti-papale del medioeve che produssa la riforma'. c:a 1870
(Put on index). In this milieu it would be natural to speculate on
alchemy in Dante as well. Probably something interesting could
be done on sacred colourings of priestly robes white, black,
red and its correspondence to the process, but I have not seen
any study of this sort.

What is the hearsay?

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Michael Martin
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000


Adam,

Please don't think I was suggesting Levi as an authority, but only as a
source for the speculation concerning Dante and alchemy.

Michael Martin

Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Mike Dickman
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000:


Thank you.

These replies - all of them - are exactly what I was looking for. I can now
safely refer them to the girl who originally put the question.

With much respect,
m

Subject: ACADEMY : Coloured robes and alchemy
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000
From: Ed Thompson


As ever, an interesting suggestion from Susanna Åkerman

> Probably something interesting could be done on sacred colourings of
> priestly robes white, black, red and its correspondence to the
> process, but I have not seen any study of this sort.

In both the Christianopolis (ch.24) of Andreae and the Severambia of
Vairasse there is the usual utopian ideal of two suits of clothing per
person, differing in material depending on the season: linen or cotton for
summer, and wool for winter. I did not suppose there was any alchemical
significance, but both texts also suggest coloured robes for special
purposes: In Christianopolis 'The colour set aside for religion is white,
for those who administer the community it is red, scholars wear blue, and
green is for those who provide for the community.'(ch.84) In Severambia
the magistrates are clothed in silk, and the highest officials wear cloth
of gold or silver, with 'musketeers in blue robes, halberdiers in red,
older men in black robes' surrounding an enthroned figure in purple
(Vairasse 1677-9: 47-8).

But - do these colours suggest anything, I now wonder?

Ed Thompson

Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Stefan Alexe
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000


As for a bibliography-list, these books might contain some information:

Cerchio, Bruno: L' ermetismo di Dante
Roma : Ed. Mediterranee, 1988. - 262 S. : Ill.
(Esoterismo e alchimia ; 4)

Contro, Primo: Dante templare e alchimista
Dante templare e alchimista : la pietra filosofale nella Divina Commedia ;
Inferno / Primo Contro
Foggia : Bastogi, 1998. (204 S.)
(Biblioteca massonica) (ISBN 88-8185-121-0)

Marino, Guglielmo: Esoterismo e "Divina commedia"
2. ed., Como, Ed. Avatar 1993 (397 S.)


Stefan Alexe

Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: José Rodríguez
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000


Dante, Meung and Lully are three examples of the
pseudoepigraphical tradition in the Late Middle Age. There
are names with a similar status: Chaucer, Petrarca, Thomas
Aquinas, Ockham, Arnau de Vilanova, Nicholas Flammel,
Cecco d'Ascoli, etc. I think there are no definitive references
that they were working on alchemy.

Dante Alighieri:

I think "Dante alchemist" is the result of a reinterpretation of his
allegorical works.
In his obscure book "L'esoterisme de Dante" a key figure of 20th
century esotericism, René Guénon (1886-1951), intensely contributed
to diffuse the image of Dante works as example of an universal
tradition that includes philosophy, mysticism, religions, Rosicrucianism...
There is an "Associazione Studi Danteschi e Tradizionali" working
in this esoterical way.

Postal Address:
Associazione di Studi Danteschi e Tradizionali
c/o Renzo Guerci, via Paolo Veronese 105,
10148
Torino

I know about some books trying to work up an alchemical
interpretation in Dante's "Inferno". One of the most recent is:
- PRIMO CONTRO, (1998), "Dante templare e alchimista",
Bastogi, Foggia.

In the last year Angelo Chiaretti, well-known Dantist, presented a
book on Dante and alchemy but I have not checked its:
- ANGELO CHIARETTI, (1999), "Dante medico, mago e alchimista.
Profili ed immagini di un Alighieri sconosciuto", Mediamed, Milano.

Moreover, Dante shows tiny mentions of alchemy in his "Divina
Commedia". In his "Inferno" (section 29) Dante and Virgil move to
a spot where they can better view the place of the Falsifiers. Most of
these sinners lie in a grotesque and diseased heap while others
crawl about aimlessly. Dante notices two shades furiously
scratching scabs off one another as if they were both scaling fish.
He asks the shades for their names and their stories. The first spirit
identifies himself as an alchemist from Arezzo. Minos sent him to
this Circle because alchemy is a form of falsifying. The second
pirit proudly identifies himself as Capocchio, another famous
alchemist.
As a result Dante saw alchemy as fraudulent tecnique:

"Ma perché sappi chi sì ti seconda
contra i Sanesi, aguzza ver' me l'occhio,
sì che la faccia mia ben ti risponda:
sì vedrai ch'io son l'ombra di Capocchio,
che falsai li metalli con l'alchìmia;
e te dee ricordar, se ben t'adocchio,
com'io fui di natura buona scimia".

This is a typical point of view in the italian popular literature at the
end of the 13th century or during the 14th and 15th centuries. I will
edit an article by the scholar Julia Ortega about this question in
«Azogue», nº 5, (2001).

We can find notices about pseudoepigraphical works on alchemy
attributed to Dante in:
- H. CORBETT, (1939), "Catalogue des manuscrits alchimiques latins", t. II, p. 131.


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

Jean de Meung:

There is a short reference on alchemy in his "Roman de la Rose" (In
bold strokes he describes alchemy as a «Philosophia naturalis»).
That is the source for subsequents pseudoepigraphical works in verse.
For example: "Les Remontrances de nature à l'Alchymiste errant
avec la Reponse du dit alchimiste".

I found articles explaining on "the alchemist Jean de Meung" but
all these works had been built with a lazy critical sense:
- C. MELÁ, (1983), "Le miroir périlleux on l'alchimie de la rose", in
«Europe», nº 654, pp. 72-83.
- D. POIRON, (1984), "Guillaume de Lorris, alchimiste et géomètre",
in «L'informaton littéraire», pp. 6-11.

André Vernet wrote up an excellent study on Jean de Meung
and "Les Remontraces de la Nature". Vernet makes clear that
the real author is Jean Perreal:
- A. VERNET, (1943), "Jean Perréal, poète et alchimiste", en:
«Biblithèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance», III, pp 214-252.

Other important source is:
- L. FRATI, (1919), "Poesie alchimistiche attribuite a Jean de Meung",
in «Archivum Romanicorum», III, pp. 121-126.

Few years ago Pierre-Yves Badel worded a prolix article with an
extensive bibliographical background by Didier Kahn:
- PIERRE-YVES BADEL, (1996), "Lectures alchimiques du Roman
de la Rose", in «Chrysopoeia», 5, pp. 173-190.

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


Ramon Llull (Raymond Lully):

Michela Pereira is the most autoritative scholar on the achemical
corpus attributed to Llull. She said that Ramon Llull was not an
alchemist. I think she explains an excellent judgment and a lot
of historical facts

Pereira's books on Llull:

- M. PEREIRA, (1989), "The alchemical corpus attributed to
Raymond Lull, Warburg Institute surveys and texts", 18, London :
Warburg Institute, University of London.
- M. PEREIRA, (1992), "L'Oro dei Filosofi", CISAM, Spoleto.
- MICHELA PEREIRA; BARBARA SPAGGIARI, (1999), "Il
Testamentum Alchemico attributo a Raimondo Lullo: edizione del
testo latino e catalano dal manoscritto Oxford, Corpus Christi
College, 244", Edizioni del Galluzzo, Tavarnuzze (Florencia).

Pereira's articles and papers on Llull:

- MICHELA PEREIRA (1984), "Quintessenza alchemica
(Raimondo Lullo & Gerolamo da Cremona)", Kos. 1,7.
- M. PEREIRA, (1985), "El concepte de natura en el context de
les obres cientifiques de Ramon Llull", in «Randa. Logica, ciencia,
mistica i literatura en l'obra de Ramon Llull» 19.
- M. PEREIRA, (1986), "Filosofia naturale lulliana e alchimia", in:
«Rivista di storia della filosofia», 41.
- M. PEREIRA, (1990), "Opus alchemicum i Ars combinatoria :
el Liber de secretis naturae seu de quinta essentia en la tradicio
lul. Liana", en: «Randa. 27. Del frau a l'erudicio. Aportaciones a
la historia del Lul. lisme dels segles 14 al 18.
- M. PEREIRA, (1992), "Alchimia lulliana : aspetti e problemi del
'corpus' di opere alchemiche attribuite a Raimondo Lullo
(XIV-XVII sec.)", en: «Annali dell'Istituto universitario orientale.
Sezione romanza» 34.
- M. PEREIRA (1993), "Mater medicinarum : la tradizione
dell'elixir nella medicina del XV secolo", en: «Annali del
dipartimento di filosofia», 9.
- M. PEREIRA, (1993), "Un tesoro inestimabile : Elixir e "prolongatio
vitae" nell'alchimia del' 300." en «Micrologus», 1, pp. 161-187.
- M. PEREIRA, (1994), "Medicina in the Alchemical Writings
Attributed to Raimond Lull (14th-17th Centuries)." in Rattansi &
A.Clericuzio (ed.), «Alchemy and Chemistry in the 16th and 17th
Centuries», Dordrecht, pp. 1-16.
- M. PEREIRA, (1995), "Teorie dell'elixir nell'alchimia latina
medievale." in Le crisi dell'alchimia, «Micrologus», 3, pp. 103-148.
- M. PEREIRA, (1996), "Alchemy and the use of vernacular
language in the Late Middle Ages", in: «Newsletter of the Societas
Magica», nº 3.
- M. PEREIRA, (1997), "Alchemy and the Use of Vernacular
Language in The Late Middle Ages", paper in: «32nd International
Congress on Medieval Studies on may, 8-11, 1997», [Non-Session
Events], Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
- M. PEREIRA, (1998),"L'origine dell'idea di quinta essenza
nell'alchimia medioevale", en: Franco Calascibetta (ed.), «Atti
del VII Convegno Nazionale di Storia e Fondamenti della
Chimica, Roma: Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta dei
XL», (Estratto dal Volume 115, Memorie di Scienze Fisiche e
Naturali, «Rendiconti della Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze
detta dei XL», serie V, vol. XXI, part II, tome II, 1997), p. 71 -82.
- M. PEREIRA, (2000), "Heaven on Earth: From the 'Tabula
smaragdina' to the Alchemical Fifth Essence", in: «Early Science
and Medicine», vol 5, nº 2, pp. 131-144.

José Rodríguez

Subject: ACADEMY : Dante, Lully, de Meung and alchemy
From: Mike Dickman
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000


Susanna Åkerman asked:

> What is the hearsay?

Much of this kind of guff. Even AMORC lays claim to him!

m

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000


Dear José, you wrote:

>Dante, Meung and Lully are three examples of the
>pseudoepigraphical tradition in the Late Middle Age. There
>are names with a similar status: Chaucer, Petrarca, Thomas
>Aquinas, Ockham, Arnau de Vilanova, Nicholas Flammel,
>Cecco d'Ascoli, etc. I think there are no definitive references
>that they were working on alchemy.

If I understand you correctly, there was a historical person
Nicolas Flamel, but he actually was not involved with alchemy.
Currently I'm preparing a Russian translation of Flamel's works
for publication, and I would kindly ask you to specify this thesis
more in detail if possible, and/or refer to some bibliografical
material if such exists.

Thank you in advance and best regards.

Gleb Butuzov.

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000


Claude Gagnon argues in his "Flamel sous investigation" Editions
le Loup de Gouthiers, Quebec 1994 (347 Rue St. Paul, Quebec,
GIK, 3X1, 418-694 2224 Canada) that Flamel's 'Livre des figures
hieroglyphique' is a work composed by its editor Beroalde de
Verville in 1612, mainly because near all its alchemical ideas
are drawn from the tracts in "Artis aurifera quam chemicam
vocant antiquissimi auctores" published by Peter Perna, Basel
1572. The editor calls himself Arnauld de Cabalerie which is an
imperfect anagram of Beroald de Verville. In a note by the
eighteenth century librarian at the library of Sainte Genevieve there
is a now seemingly lost tract called "Aventures d'Ali el Mosclan
surnommé dans ses conquetes Slomnal Calife" Paris 1582
translated from the Arabic by one curious Rabi el ullae de Deon.
Gagnon points out that the translator's odd name is an anagram
of Beroalde de Verville while Slomnal Calife is a perfect
anagram of Nicolas Flamel.

However, Kjell Lekeby has found a Latin text of the 'Liber Figurarum
Hieroglyphicarum Nicolai Flammelli scriptores' with illustrations
drawn in a new way in the freemasonic library in Stockholm
deposited there by the eighteenth century high-ranking mason,
royal tutor and author of esoteric allegory Carl Gustaf Tessin.
Lekeby has informed Gagnon that there is a translation of the
word qualitate to egalité in the French 1612 edition which does
not make sense: qu'elle/la pierre/ est accomplie en toute
droicture et esgalité" which in the Latin is "eum iam esse
perfectum in omni rectitudine et qualitate" which makes
sense! (Is it the original?) Lekeby has translated the Latin version
which is almost identical to the French version into Swedish
and he has published his Latin version in facsimile in the small
press: Forlag G. Wendelholm, S-640 51 Stjarnhov Sweden. A
press that also sells many German alchemical texts and Dees
'Monas' in latin in a new edition. Worth checking out!

Gagnon has found a Latin version in the Vatican thanks to Adam's
lists but Lekeby says it is not identical to the Masonic copy in
Stockholm, instead it is probably an eighteenth century translation.
Lekeby thinks his copy is a seventeenth century Latin text and in his
mind perhaps the original from which Verville translated. Gagnon
has gained an ear in France and the world at large but perhaps
Lekeby's finding should be considered also. He will join the
academy shortly, but asked me to post this.

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Mike Dickman
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000


Gleb,

Hi.
Don't know if you're aware of Didier Kahn's edition of the Flamel
texts, 'Ecrits Alchimiques: Nicolas Flamel' [LES BELLES LETTRES]...
His introduction is really interesting and obviously very soundly based.

Love,
m

Subject: ACADEMY : Coloured robes and alchemy
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000


The bafflement concerning the complex messages that the rare
quality of colour in dress provoked in earlier ages should be
calibrated with Gale E. Christianson reports in his study of Isaac
Newton - "In the prescence of the creator - Isaac Newton and
his times" Free press New York 1984, that in correspondence
to Francis Aston, Newton discussed Michael Maier and his
"Symbolae mensae duodecim natorium" Frankfort 1617. Newton
then raised the question of "Bory" the exiled Italian who had
"secrets of a great worth" in medicine and that Aston could identify
as a man clad in in green. Giuseppe Borri had after his imprisonment
in the Castel St.Angelo in 1670, become known for his showing
himself on a balcony clad in a green robe. Newton noted this fact.
It is noteworthy (but perhaps far fetched) that the Golden Cross
of St Lazarus ordained in Gold- und Rosencreutz Orden was
with a sash in green. The green could signify vitriol- the green
salt and the greening and regeneration of nature in general.

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000


Dear Susanna,

Thank you very much for your comment - you're as helpful and precise as
usual. That's info I actually needed.

Hi Mike.

Yes, I know about Kahn's edition, but unfortunately I do not have
it, I used just Flamand's ("Oeuvres") and information I found in various
books in Adam's home library last year.

My best wishes.

Gleb.

Subject: ACADEMY : Latin Monas
From: Chris Pickering
Date: 12 Oct 2000


Hello Susanna,

Do you have any more information about the new latin edition of
Dee's 'Monas Hieroglyphica'. The Wendelholm website does
not mention it.

Is it just a facsimile or transcript of the text (and, if so, is it the 1564
or 1591 edition). Or is there anything original to this new edition ?

Chris Pickering

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Claude Gagnon
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000


Dear Susanna Akerman,

I am at the moment in Paris to work on Flamel's case. I have not
all my tools to answer your letter. I will try to respond in a week
when I will be back in Canada.

Meanwhile I would like to make two brief remarks; First Didier Kahn,
with whom I have lunch tomorrow, agrees, in his edition, with
my judgment on the apocryphal nature of that book. Secondly, I
have already written a comparison between the latin version of
Mr. Lekeby and the latin version in the Vatican (that yourself have
pointed out to me few years ago).

For me, the Vatican version is more complete than the Stockholm
one but both are retroversions of the french text. I have many
arguments in my paper to prove that neither the Vatican or the
Stockholm versions are the real originals.

I still think that the book attributed to Flamel could not have been
written before 1602. I have already sent to Mr. Lekeby and to
Mr. McLean a copy of that thesis which has been sanctioned by
a jury at the Sorbonne in 1989. On the jury there was also professor
Halleux who approves the apocryphal nature of that book.

My comparison of the two latin retroversions will be available in a
few months when it will be published in Paris. I have already
made the corrections on the galleys. I can't go faster.

Sorry for my bad english.

Claude Gagnon

from Flamel's neigbourhood in Paris

Subject: ACADEMY : Latin Monas
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000


Wendelholm's edition of the Monas is a facsimile of the 1591 edition.
No new commentary but it is a nice object at 240 Swedish kronor.
It can be used with Josten's translation in Ambix 1964 for working
up one's neo-latin as well as an exercise in penetrating to the core
of Dee's argument.

Brian Vickers in a review of Frances Yates called the Monas the
most obscure work written by an Englishman and he doubted
that it was cited by even ten readers during the Renaissance.
These doubts can be quelled by seeing the many German
translations of the Monas, one in the Christina collection in the
Vatican, and these texts point to many alchemical/Rosicrucian
followers on the continent, such as Heinrich Khunrath, Andreas
Haselmayer, Johannes Bureus and Johannes Hartman. A set of
books in the Copenhagen Royal library stemming from the
Rosicrucian collector Carl Widemann has the Monas painted on
their backs. Add it to your library for further study!

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000


Dear Claude Gagnon, Good to hear from you. You wrote:

> My comparison of the two latin retroversions (Stockholm and
> Vatican) will be available in a
> few months when it will be published in Paris. I have already
> made the corrections on the galleys. I can't go faster.

I just want to add Kjell Lekeby's examples from his text - that is
a lavish presentation copy with interesting illustrations not just
a Latin translation for the sake of comprehension. Lekeby points
out in addition to the former example I gave in the previous
posting that Flamel describes how he made his second projection:

"je la fit avec la pierre rouge sur semblable qualité de mercure"

the Latin text uses the word quantitatem (quantitas) which in the
french text should have become quantité. the word quality in this
context does not make sense - a translator's error?

We are eager to hear your arguments to take account of
Lekeby's findings.

In any case you have shown Beroalde de Verville's important
alchemical activity and I now wonder about the theories that his
700 page "Histoire veritable ou le voyage des princes fortunez"
(Paris 1610) influenced Johann Valentin Andreae's Chemical
Wedding. Beroalde also translated parts of the Hypnerotomachia
Poliphili (Paris 1601) which now in Joscelyn Goodwin's English
translation appears to me to bear a clear relation to the Wedding.
(Especially the search for the Venus fountain).

What does the Flamel-Beroalde connection which you have
unquestionably shown amount to? Was Beroalde a fountainhead
of allegorical alchemy or did he (which one still would want to be
true) draw upon a tradition stemming from Flamel (and not to forget,
Perenelle).

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: José Rodríguez
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000


Gleb Butuzov wrote:
>If I understand you correctly, there was a historical person
>Nicolas Flamel, but he actually was not involved with alchemy.
>Currently I'm preparing a Russian translation of Flamel's works
>for publication, and I would kindly ask you to specify this thesis
>more in detail if possible, and/or refer to some bibliografical
>material if such exists.

---------------------------------
Dear Gleb:

Really, he was a historical person but not involved with alchemy.
That is the resolution of the most recent and complete research in
the historical development of alchemy and Nicolas Flamel. At
the present there are no scholars in a position to confirm (with
factual data) about Flamel as an alchemist.

I found some mistaken proofs in "esoterical" studies or journals.
For example:

- "La Tourbe des Philosophes. Revue d'Études alchimiques",
nº 38-39, 1995, pp. 85-90. (They say that Pierre Vicot spoke about
Flamel in "Le Grand Olimpe" and they explain that it's an early source.
Probably they have faith in Fulcanelli's notes on Vicot as a priest
living in the 15th century. However, Didier Kahn gives evidence
that Vicot and "Le Grand Olimpe" should be placed in the 16th
century, so it is not an early testimony.)

The historical and philological facts indicate that his works on
alchemy are pseudoepigraphical examples.

An early book that tackles this problem was:

- VILLAIN (Abbé), "Histoire critique de Nicolas Flamel, et de Pernelle
sa femme; recueillie d'actes anciens qui justifient l'origine et la
médiocrité de leur fortune contre les imputations des Alchimistes,
on y a joint le Testament de Pernelle. Par M. L.V", P., G. Desprez,
1761,in 12, XII-403 pp.-2ff. ill.

Today, I think Claude Gagnon is the most well-documented scholar
on the "Livre des Figures Hiéroglyphiques". He defended a Ph.D.
in the University of Montreal concerning this late Flamel's work:

- CLAUDE GAGNON, (1977), "Analyse archeologique du Livre
des Figures attribue a Nicolas Flamel", Ph.D. University of Montreal.

You can find a printed edition in:

- CLAUDE GAGNON, (1977), "Description du Livre des Figures
Hiéroglyphiques attribué à Nicolas Flamel", Ed. de l'Aurore, Montréal.

Other important references that you should check are:

- CLAUDE GAGNON, "Rapport sur l'attribution du Livre des Figures
Hieroglyphiques attribue a Nicolas Flamel", Postdoctoral research
in Paris from 1973 to 1988 at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes
Etudes, under the direction of Guy Beaujouan.
- CLAUDE GAGNON, (1995), "Le Livre d'Abraham le Juif ou
l'influence de l'impossible", in Didier Kahn et Sylvain Matton (eds.),
«Alchimie: art, histoire et mythes», pp.497-506.

You can find complete critical edition of the "Livre des Figures
Hiéroglyphiques" in:

- CLAUDE GAGNON, (1994), "Nicolas Flamel sous investigation :
suivi de l'edition annote du Livre des figures hieroglyphiques",
Le Loup de Gouttiere, Quebec.

I send you the summary of this book:

Part I (Investigation sur un faux)
Introduction p. 6-
Pierre Arnauld sieur de la Chevallerie poictevin, traducteur
introuvable p. 12-
Barthelemy Mercier de Saint-Leger, bibliothecaire erudite p. 26-
Francois Beroalde de Verville, ecrivain cabaliste p. 50-
Alchimie et cabale dans l'oeuvre de Beroalde p. 52-
Le "Recueil steganographique" et l'avertissmemet "Aux beaux
esprits qui arresteront leurs yeux" p. 54-
Le voyage des "Princes fortunez" p. 65-
Le cas du "Moyen de parvenir" p. 71-
Petrus Perna, imprimeur a Bale p. 88-
Nicolas Flamel, paroissien de Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie a Paris p. 109-
Le testament p. 110-
L'arche p. 125-
Le "Livre d'Abraham le juif" p. 156-
Conclusion p. 172-

Part II (Edition annotee du "Livre des figures hieroglyphiques)
Notes sur les editions anterieures p. 182-
Editions annotee p. 187-
Appendices p. 269-
Bibliographie p. 277-

Concerning other texts on alchemy ("Musique de Flamel",
"Sommaire philosophique", "Livre des Laveures", "Secrets de
Nicolas Flamel", "Voie de Flamel ou d'Almasatus", "Le Grand
Esclaircissement de la Pierre Philosophale...", "Désir désire", etc.)
we can say that all these are later attributions.

Some articles on this question:

- R. HALLEUX, (1983), "Le mythe de Nicolas Flamel ou les
mecanismes de la pseudepigraphie alchimique", en «Archives
internationales d'histoire des sciences», 33, pp. 234-255.
- J. REBOTIER, (1995), "La Musique de Flamel", in Didier Kahn
et Sylvain Matton (eds.), «Alchimie: art, histoire et mythes», pp.507-545.
- N. WILKINS, (1993), "Nicolas Flamel. Des livres et de l'or", Éditions
Imago, Paris.

I think the first handwritten manuscript document that brings into
connection "alchemy" and "Flamel" is a short text dated at the end
of the 15th century. It was entitled: "Le livre de Flamel". You can find
an excellent french edition with a lot of notices about the origin the
myth of Flamel as an alchemist in:

- DIDIER KAHN, (1996), "Le livre de Flamel", in «Chrysopoeia»,
t. V, pp. 387-430.

I hope this is of some help,

José Rodríguez

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 14 Oct 2000

A few people may say - how unfair for scholars to attack
the established figure of Flamel and strip the alchemy from him.

So let us remind ourselves of why such a scholarly investigation
is necessary.

It is vitally important if we are to understand the nature of alchemy
and the transmission of its ideas, that we have a correct historical
sequencing for the main figures and key works, in order that we
can place a work in its proper context.

Flamel has been a problem for the correct sequencing for
some time. He is supposed to have been active during
the late 14th century and the book of Abraham the Jew
which he supposedly discovered must have been earlier
than this. Flamel's 'Exposition of the hieroglyphicall figures'
appears now to be a product of the late 16th or early years
of the 17th century, and should be read within that context.

The book of the hieroglyphic figures was not an influence
on the 'Aurora consurgens', the 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit',
or even the 'Splendor Solis, but was devised a century or
more later. Unless one understands this, one may draw
conclusions and connections that, being based on wrong
information, will only lead to an erroneous understanding of the
flow of alchemical ideas and iconography.

The book of the hieroglyphic figures was not based on an
ancient work 'The book of Abraham the Jew' . If we were to
accept this as a real 14th century (or earlier) work, we would
have to account for the existence of a quite sophisticated
tradition of Jewish alchemy from this period - something that
is not borne out by the historical record. This does not mean
that we discount the importance of this work but rather that we
have to read Flamel's account as it really is - an alchemical
allegory - rather than a historical account. His discovery,
investigation and journeying to find the key to this book, was
intended by the late 16th century writer as an allegory. If
we do not read it in this way we miss the point of the book
entirely.

Far from destroying the work, this scholarly investigation
into the true nature of Flamel and his supposed writings,
merely serves to bring us into a proper relationship to it
as a profound and important alchemical allegory.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000
From: ME Warlick


Thanks to Jose and others for the bibliography on the Flamel
question.

While I agree that the construction of Flamel as an alchemist is
late, I'm still fascinated by the historical figure and his wife
Perenelle (or Pernelle, however you'd like to spell it). The
sculptural works connected to this couple are not alchemical,
but they do still exist, including Flamel's grave marker in the
Cluny Museum and a house traditionally associated with them
on the rue Montmorency. This house is one of the oldest
preserved structures in Paris and its facade contains relief
sculptures of a man, a woman reading a book beside a wattle
fence, and several angels, details stylistically similar to those
found on Flamel's arch, reproduced in the later books. Nearby
is the Church of St. Merri, built in the early 16th century and
decorated with dragons or salamanders (a la Francois I). On
the right portal there are two small heads on either side of the
lowest archivolt, a man holding a small bag (some see a bag
of money here, although he could just as well be playing
a bagpipe) and woman coifed in a medieval headdress.
Today's alchemical tours of Paris identify this couple as
Nicolas and Perenelle, and while I'm sure there are no
documents to support this, it could be true as they are so closely
associated with this quartier of Paris.

Also on this church's facade is a statue of St. James, and
another small relief of a man holding a shield containing three
scallop shells, symbols, of course, of the pilgrimage to St. Jacques
da Compostela. It was from this section of Paris that the pilgrims
were blessed before leaving on their journeys, at the Church of
St. Jacques de la Boucherie (this was the butcher's section of
Paris, and they built this church because they were not allowed
in others). The Tour St. Jacques, so loved by the surrealists,
is all that remains of this structure after the revolution and it was
here in the cemetary that Flamel's hieroglyphs were supposedly
carved. Surely Flamel's trip to Spain derives from all these
connections to the St. Jacques pilgrimages and his special part
of Paris.

Villain supposedly found documents relating to a law suit
brought by Perenelle's sister Isabel, concerning Nicolas's
appropriation of her sizeable fortune after her death. These
documents can no longer be found, and Villain too may have
been simply fabricating his research, although it is not beyond the
realm of possibilities these records were also lost or destroyed
in the revolution. If true, Perenelle was indeed a wealthy widow
and it was her money that was used to support their philanthropic
efforts. What interests me is how this historical couple, connected
to the building of churches and hospitals, transformed into France's
most famous alchemists, and somewhere in the architectural
records of those two missing centuries some additional clues
might be found.

M.E. Warlick

Subject: ACADEMY : Beroalde de Verville
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000
From: Fenella Lavender


The frontispiece of 'Le Tableau des Riches Inventions' includes a
dismembered lion. If you draw a line through the lion's face at a
certain angle it reveals the face of a man. Has this face ever been
identified - is it a portrait of anybody in particular?

Kind regards

Fenella Lavender

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000
From: ME Warlick

Let me amend my last message that Flamel's arch was
formerly at the cemetery of the Church of the Innocents, not at
St. Jacques, although this church was also close by. Obviously
not a good idea to write a response at 6 in the morning!

M.E. Warlick

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Penny Bayer
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000


Dear ME Warlick and all,

I am also interested in whether Perenelle Flamel was actually an
alchemist.

Certainly it is possible that a legend concerning Perenelle as
alchemist was current in the 15th century. A 15th century manuscript
from John Dee's library records a relationship between a Maria
and Petronnlle, Experimenta cum Sole. (Oxford: Corpus Christi 277,
f. 28v).

In her entry on this manuscript Dorothea Waley Singer has noted,
incorrectly, that Petronella was the name of the wife of Nicholas
Flamel. With only one digit significantly different (and a close
similarity of 'r'and 't' in the hand) it is however an interesting
possibility that the name of Flamel's wife entered alchemical
legend before the publication of Nicholas' Le Livre des Figures
Hieroglyphiques .

The Maria in the text undoubtedly refers to Maria the Hebrew
(or, to the Renaissance, Maria Prophetissa), whose legend as the
mother of alchemy has been fully documented by Raphael Patai.
Several women alchemists from the Graeco-Egyptian period
have been associated with Maria - Theosobeia, Isis, Paphnutia -
but I am not aware of any Petronella from this early period. The
dating of this manuscript in the 15th century, the century in which
Nicholas died does support the view that Perrenelle was
entering legend as an alchemist on her own account, and as
one of the calibre to work with Maria herself. The short receipt in
Maria and Petronnlle, Experimenta cum Sole makes use of salt,
a golden water, a distillation process, and finally "coagula
Reginam" , a coagulation of salts from the "Queen" through a
drying process. The two women are thus being associated
with an aspect of alchemy associated with the mythology of
the Luna Queen. Whilst in the Flamel legend Perrenelle is
closely defined through her relationship to her husband, in
this earlier reference she is located in relation to a tradition
of female alchemists who worked together.

Penny Bayer

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' readership
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000
From: Deborah E. Harkness


Susanna Åkerman wrote:
>Brian Vickers in a review of Frances Yates called the Monas the
>most obscure work written by an Englishman and he doubted
>that it was cited by even ten readers during the Renaissance.

It would be interesting to see how many of us have run into references
to the Monas by other 16th-early 17th century alchemists and natural
philosophers to see if we can empirically prove Vickers wrong.

In a letter to his nephew, for example, Abraham Ortelius asks whether
Dee has printed anything new on the Monas.

Any other insights?

Deb Harkness

Subject: ACADEMY : Coloured robes and alchemy
From: Robert Vanloo
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000


I do not know if this has already been mentioned here, but there
is an interesting relationship between the Knights' Mantles of
the Order of the Golden Fleece, and the alchemical process.
Elias Ashmole describes their Mantles as follows :

"For their Habit Three different Mantles were ordain'd them at
the grand Solemnity ; the first Day, of Scarlet Cloth, richly
embroidered about the Lower End, with Flints struck into Sparks
of Fire and Fleeces, with Chaperons of the same ; and the same
Day, after Dinner, to proceed to Vespers in Mantles of Black,
and of the Colour of Chaperons ; the Day following they were to
hear Mass habited as themselves thought fit : but Duke Charles
aforesaid prescribed them Mantles of White Damask for that Day's
Ceremony, and changed their Cloth Mantles into Velvet. The great
Collar is composed of double Fusils, placed Back to Back, Two
and Two together, in form of the Letter B representing it both Ways,
to signify Bourgoigne. And these Fusils are interwoven with
Flint-stones (in reference to the Arms of' the ancient Kings of
Bourgoigne) seeming to strike Fire, and Sparkles of Fire between
them, the Device of the Founder, at the End whereof hung the
Resemblance of a Golden Fleece, enamelled proper. To the
Flint paradine ascribes the Motto, Ante ferit quam Flamma micet ;
and to the Fleece, Pretium non vile laboris. The Jewel is commonly
worn in a double Chainet or Males of Gold, linked together at
convenient Distance, between which runs a small Red Ribbon, or
otherwise it is worn in a Red Ribbon alone."

("The History of the Most Noble Order of the Garter & the Several
Orders of Knighthood in Europe", 1715, p. 67 - Kessinger reprint)

Robert Vanloo

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000


I would like to thank Jose Rodriguez, Claude Gagnon and everybody
who sent very interesting information concerning identity of Flamel's
works.

I would be also much grateful if someone could help me to identify
some strange source, mentioned in the "Les Figures Hieroglyfiques"
(Introduction):

...Roi Hercule, traitant de couleurs de la pierre intitulée l'iris...

Thank you and best regards.

Gleb.

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000


Further to the discussion concerning the period of the creation of the
"Hieroglyphic Figures", I found out that I was inattentive enough
to miss the name Hali Aberagel, arabian astrologer, mentioned in
Chapter V. According to Flamel himself, he did not know either
Greek, or any semitic language, but the first latin translation of the
above author appeared just in 1550 (Albohazen Haly filii Abenragel,
scriptoris Arabici, de judiciis astrorum libri octo, etc. Basiliae, 1550);
the historical Flamel could scarcely have heard about him.

Best wishes.

Gleb.

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy - Haly Abenragel
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000
From: Sophie Page


This is slightly off the topic of alchemy and I do not wish to assert
this in any way as proof of the historical and alchemical Flamels
coinciding but the appearance of the name 'Haly Abenragel' is
not by itself proof of a later date. It depends on what the citation
refers to.

I have a studied a fifteenth-century (London) astrologer's notebook
in detail and the astrologer makes a number of references to 'haly
abenragel' although in this case he is erroneously referring to
'Ali Ibn Ridwan the commentator on Ptolemy, and not to 'Ali Ibn Rijal
(i.e. Haly Abenragel, the Maghrib astrologer of the eleventh century).
However, in my notes on this subject (written some time ago) I find
that I have written that the latter's text was translated into Latin
and equally well-known.

Can anyone else confirm or refute the circulation of an astrological
text by 'Ali Ibn Rijal' in Latin before 1500? (Perhaps Tester's
History of Astrology would have this information but I don't have
it to hand).

Sophie Page


Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy - Hercules
From: Claude Gagnon
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000


To Gleb,

I have done a great deal of work trying to trace that book which
does not seem to have ever existed. Even the incipit given in
the pseudo-Flamel book is nowhere in the Catalogue of incipits
of mediaeval texts compiled by Pearl Kibre.
However, Beroalde speaks, in one of his writings, of the Iris which
seems to be one of his topics. I have tried to summarise the
myth of Hercules in the French renaissance in my book; the
bibliography of studies on Hercules in the Renaissance is
very substantial.

Claude Gagnon

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy - Haly Abenragel
From: D Mindon
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000


I believe there was an earlier translation of Albenragel. See mention
in Seznec and in the works by Snellen concerning Flamen and
tractatus Paulus Grillandus.

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' readership
From: Jan Backlund
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000


> In a letter to his nephew, for example, Abraham Ortelius asks whether
> Dee has printed anything new on the Monas.

This was interesting; I wasn't aware of this reference to the Monas
by Abraham Ortelius. From where is it? I didn't note it in Abrahami
Ortelii _ Epistulae, (J. H. Hessels, ed. Osnabrück: Otto Zeller,
1969), nor in "Album amicorum" (De Gulden Passer 1967-1968), but I
have probably missed it. I would be very happy for the reference, as
I have been writing of a possible reception by Pieter Bruegel the
Elder of Dee as he was in Antwerp.

Jan Bäcklund

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' readership
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000
From: Deborah E. Harkness


Jan:

Good to hear from you! I mistakenly typed in Ortelius, because
it was the Ortelius correspondence, but the person in question
is actually Johannes Radermacher, who wrote to James Cole
(Ortelius's nephew) regarding the Monas, and his discussions
with Dee in the Birckmann's bookshop. (Ortelius Correspondence,
#334 (7 January 1604), pp. 787-791.

In this letter Radermacher thanks Cole for his reports of John Dee,
whom Radermacher recalls speaking to on a regular basis at
the Birckmann's bookshop in London some forty years ago.
Radermacher regrets that he lacked the time then to speak to
Dee about his philosophical interests, and asks Cole if he can
procure the key to Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica (Antwerp, 1564).

I would be interested to talk more with you about Brueghel. I've
written on the James Cole network of natural philosophers
(Dutch, English) in Elizabethan London and their ties to Dee and
other important figures in Europe (Dutch, Italian, German, etc.).
I know that the Coles had connections to Brueghel (and Marcus
Gheerhaerts and other artists) so it wouldn't surprise me at all
that Brueghel somehow knew Dee.

Please contact me off-list if you want to swap stories!

Deb Harkness

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Claude Gagnon
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000


Dear Susanna Akerman,

I am pleased that you have received my answer and that you
have replied to it. As I have allready explained, I do not have my
material with me in Paris, neither my paper, under print, in which I
discuss mr. Lekeby's arguments.

But for the argument I must say that the Vatican Latin
version is different and has which corresponds,
if I remember, to the French version.

In Paris, I am searching for more exemplars of my books. I want
to buy one for Mr. McLean (to whom I promised it) and will be
glad to offer you one if I can find two of them at the distributor
(La Table d'Emeraude) which does not have a library any more.
Mr. Lekeby has already an examplar of it.

Regarding the link between Beroalde and alchemy I will answer
you substantially when I will be back next week.

Best regards,

Claude Gagnon

In a Paris under a real sky shower this morning
P.S. I did not forget that it is you who have pointed to me the
existence of the Vatican version and I have expressed my
gratitude toward you in my paper for that information.

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' readership
From: Jan Backlund
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000


Dear Deborah,

Thank you for your interesting reply, which raises some new
questions:

> Good to hear from you! I mistakenly typed in Ortelius, because
> it was the Ortelius correspondence, but the person in question
> is actually Johannes Radermacher, who wrote to James Cole
> (Ortelius's nephew) regarding the Monas, and his discussions
> with Dee in the Birckmann's bookshop. (Ortelius Correspondence,
> #334 (7 January 1604), pp. 787-791.

Oh, what a pity, otherwise it could have proved the following
problem:

As far as I am aware, there are no conclusive evidence that
Dee and Ortelius ever met before the publication of Ortelius'
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum in 1570, in spite of their many common
acquaintances. In a letter from Dee to Ortelius, dated at Mortlake,
16 January 1577 (which to my knowledge is the only extant
evidence of their friendship together with Dee's entry in Ortelius'
Album amicorum later in 1577 when Ortelius visited Dee at
Mortlake), in which -- as you probably know -- Dee thanks
Ortelius "for the kindness with which you received me, when I
came to see your library some years ago" (Gratiasque tibi
habere ingentes ob Candorem illum tuum, et humanitatis officia,
quibus me exceperis, Bibliothecam tuam dum ante aliquot
annos inviserem _), Abrahami Ortelii _ Epistulae, J. H. Hessels,
23-24. This can either refer to the journey Dee made to
Lorrain and Paris in 1571, on which it may be assumed that
he passed Antwerp, if not, it almost must refer to a meeting
when Dee was in Antwerp for to prepare the printing of the Monas
in 1563-64 (since there are no records of Dee visiting Antwerp
between those years).

I am rather puzzled by the great number of common acquaintances
of Ortelius and Dee from 1550 onwards and the lack of documents
confirming that they knew each other (which I think they must have
done, taken into account the very cordial tone of the letter and the
entry in Ortelius Album amicorum).

> In this letter Radermacher thanks Cole for his reports of John Dee,
> whom Radermacher recalls speaking to on a regular basis at
> the Birckmann's bookshop in London some forty years ago.
> Radermacher regrets that he lacked the time then to speak to
> Dee about his philosophical interests, and asks Cole if he can
> procure the key to Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica (Antwerp, 1564).

I know nothing about this James Cole (or Jacques Coole as he is
called by the editor of the Album Amicorum), so I would be very
grateful for some biographical notes... (unfortunately I have no copy
of the letter you referred to). As far as I remember a great part of
Ortelius friends fled to England -- of religious reasons exclusively
I think -- during the last quarter of the 16th century, and I guess
this must have been the case with Cole also. Radermacher's talks
"on a regular basis" with Dee in Birckmann's shop must have
been after 1567, as he, according to editor of Album amicorum,
stayed in Antwerp until 1567 (when the duke of Alba arrived and
off to London was he); and I suppose that Cole already was in
England by that time (?).

The question is, and the interesting point for me at least, is what
kind of (if any) reception there was in the Netherlands of Dee's
Monas (and the reception of Dee as a person) in the Netherlands?
I have not run across any reference before the one you mentioned
from 1604 (but again, I didn't know of that either...).

> I would be interested to talk more with you about Brueghel. I've
> written on the James Cole network of natural philosophers
> (Dutch, English) in Elizabethan London and their ties to Dee and
> other important figures in Europe (Dutch, Italian, German, etc.).
> I know that the Coles had connections to Brueghel (and Marcus
> Gheerhaerts and other artists) so it wouldn't surprise me at all
> that Brueghel somehow knew Dee.

You surprise me still: Cole had connections to Bruegel! Even if
you mean Pieter II Breughel or Jan I Brueghel it is still more than I
know, and this would indeed be of great interest. I certainly have to
read your article, so I would be very grateful if you could give me
the reference of it?

The arguments in my article (which was intended for Cauda pavonis,
but it became too long, so now I don't know) is that Bruegel's two
engravings from 1565, "Saint James and the Magician
Hermogenes" and "The Fall of the Magician", engraved by Pieter
van der Heyden (the brother of Caspar van der Heyden, or Gaspar à
Mirica as he is called in the Dee-literature) are satirical documents
of a Dee-reception as magician (evoking the "magical" stagecraft
Dee produced for the Aristophanes play in Cambridge) and the
publication of Monas in Antwerp the year before (and the same
year as Bruegel made the drawings for the prints). This argument
is however based on a series of inductions and a rather
adventurous reading of the two prints and the preparatory drawing
by Bruegel, but without any documented evidence.

I will be happy to send it to you, and would very much like comments,
if you mail me:

Best regards,
Jan Bäcklund

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000


Dear Claude Gagnon, you wrote:

"But for the argument I must say that the Vatican Latin
version is different and has which corresponds,
if I remember, to the French version."

I want to reinstate Lekeby's point that aequalitate or esgalité does
not make sense in its alchemical context, while qualitate does. Is
the Vatican copy a translation of the French and Lekeby's copy
perhaps the original even if it is shorter than the Vatican version?
This does not prove that that the historical Flamel was an
alchemist but perhaps that there was a Latin original to Beroalde's
French text. Or do you have other ideas?

I wrote earlier that:

"Lekeby has informed Gagnon that there is a translation of the
word qualitate to egalité in the French 1612 edition which does
not make sense:
qu'elle/la pierre/ est accomplie en toute droicture et esgalité"

which in the Latin is

"eum iam esse perfectum in omni rectitudine et qualitate"

which makes sense! (Is it the original?)

How can this word esgalité be understood? Is it related to droicture ?
Is not qualitate better?



See also the second example earlier mentioned:

Flamel describes how he made his second projection:

"je la fit avec la pierre rouge sur semblable qualité de mercure"

the Latin text uses the word quantitatem (quantitas) which in the
French text should have become quantité. the word quality in this
context does not make sense - a translator's error?

Here is a second nonsensical idea in the French. How do
you explain it?


Best wishes on your journey to Canada,

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' readership
From: Chris Pickering
Date: 19 Oct 2000


Hello Jan


Your article on the two Bruegel engravings as possible references
to John Dee's popular reputation as a magician sounds very
interesting, despite your admission that there is little or no external
evidence. I'm sure that there are others who feel the same.

If you are looking for a forum to publish this work, how about
Adam's website ?

In any case, I would love a draft copy in return for any help I can give you.


Chris Pickering

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' Readership
From: Chris Pickering
Date: 19 Oct 2000


>It would be interesting to see how many of us have run into references
>to the Monas by other 16th-early 17th century alchemists and natural
>philosophers to see if we can empirically prove Vickers wrong.


Here goes:-

1) Queen Elizabeth herself verbally defended the book from criticism,
apparently soon after publication, and later discussed the contents
with Dee, as he recorded. She was no alchemist, but certainly meets
Vickers "readers"

2) Can we only cite surviving documents ? Dees alchemical letter of
1568 to John Gwynn on "One" and "Monas" suggests that Gwynn
may have mentioned the same in writing.

3) Dee believed that Gerhard Dorn, in 'Chymisticum Artificium
Naturae' (1568), had plagiarised from his book.

4) In 1577 William Herbert of St Julians sent Dee his notes upon the
book, although these notes do not survive.

5) Petrus Bongus names and paraphrases MH in 'Mysticae
Numerorum Significationis Liber' (1585)

6) The story from the 1580s of Pucci (I believe) claiming that he,
and not Dee, wrote Monas Hieroglyphica is not recorded in writing
(as far as I know) until later by Ashmole and Lilly.

7) Ralph Rabbards edition of Ripleys 'The Compound of Alchymy'
(1591) praises Dees book as English alchemy

8) Does the 1591 edition count - Weschel and Fischer could
hardly do more that reprint the book

9) If so, the 1602 reprint in 'Theatrum Chemicum' can also be added.

10) Libavius criticised a passage from MH in 'Tractatus Duo
Physici' (1594)

11) Thomas Tymme, 1602 or later, wrote additions to an
uncompleted or lost English translation.

12) In 'De Sophismatum Praestigiis Cavendis Admonitio' (published
in 1604 but compiled from earlier efforts), Thomas Oliver, who was
in contact with Dee, adapted an illustration from the end of MH
for his own title page

13) There is the 1604 Radermacher letter noted previously

14) Ben Jonson parodies MH in 'The Alchemist' (1610), although
it is not specifically named.

15) The monad hieroglyph famously appears in 'The Chemical
Wedding of Christian Rosencruetz' (1616).

16) It is also to be found in Khunraths 'Ampitheatrum' (1602 and
later, but not the 1595 edition !) as is a reference to a passage in
Dees text.

17) It is said to appear in a 1644 engraved portrait of Hunyades
the Elder.

18) And Behmens 'Clavis' (London 1647)

19) And Kirchers 'Obeliscus Pamphilius' (Rome 1650)

These are the only examples within the period specified above
that come easily to hand. I suspect that there are more examples
buried in my notes, or that other members of this list have
encountered.


Chris Pickering

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' Readership
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000


Chris Pickering wrote:

>2) Can we only cite surviving documents ? Dees alchemical
>letter of 1568 to John Gwynn on "One" and "Monas" suggests
>that Gwynn may have mentioned the same in writing.

There is an English translation of the Sefer-ha Raziel in the British
library MS Sloane 3846 prefaced by an invokation of one
John Gwynne of Llaudloys in the county of Monmouth dated
2 November 1564 which draws a monas upside down in the
margin at the text f. 137v "the figure that is Mars that he should rest
and not fight in the reign of that sign Arietis" A letter by Gwynne
dated 1670 is appended.

>3) Dee believed that Gerhard Dorn, in 'Chymisticum Artificium
>Naturae' (1568), had plagiarised from his book".

In Gerard Dorn's "La Monarchie du ternaire en union contre la
monomachie du binaire en confusion" s.l. 1577 there is a
geometric construction (Kite like) inspired by Dee as judged by
Jean Pierre Brasch in the modern Gutenberg reprint of 1981.
The verse accompaning says: "Premiere, en subiection Nous
mit du maudit Binaire, Mais la tres saincte Unité Par le moyen du
Ternaire Nous remit en liberté. C'est la fontaine du vie Qui nous
peut rendre santé, Quand Binaire par envie la maladie a planté
Que cherchons nous en Quatre, L'enfant de Deux & le fruict,
Autre que nous esbatre En tout ce qui nous destruit."
A Pythagorean musing à la Dee.

Also, Francois Secret in his "Tycho Brahe et l'alchimie"
Bibliothèque d'humanisme et renaissance 1975 pp. 512-516
speaks of how Tycho and Christoph Rothman discuss a
"hieroglyph" in connection with the seven planets and the
seven metals.

Apparently the symbol is used and discussed while there are
few citations of Dee´s text, but then transmissiion and the
notoriety of a text like the Monas cannot be judged by scholarly
commentary as much of widespread use. Andreae has been
judged only to have seen the monas in Khunrath since he
does not refer to the geometric theorems of Dee's book.
Thus Dee's influence on Andreae has been judged slight
(by Edighoffer at one point) ! I think this is wrong. And am
glad to see all your examples, but perhaps Vickers would
not count them as citations in the proper sense. His denial is
that the Monas is a "famous" book during the Renaissance.
Clearly it was notorious.

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' Readership
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000
Date: Penny Bayer


Christopher Taylour, who Jan Backlund has associated with
the Dee-Kelley circle, discusses the Monas in a treatise on
alchemy addressed to a noblewoman now at Oxford: Bodleian
Library, Ashmole MS 1392.He describes the Elixir as "Monas,
yt is the number of One, Chaos, Hylus, the Green Lyon" and
goes on to discuss the numbers between one and ten, the
last being Denarium "ye secrett mystery of perfeccion".

No specific mention of John Dee, though.

Penny Bayer

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000:


Dear Susanna,

Beware of ancient French! Spellings and forms have changed
considerably in meaning and ancient alchemical texts are
exceedingly loose in translation. I could give you numerous
examples.

As far as "esgalité" is concerned. It looks to me as a misreading
of "esqualité" "es" or "és" being found in use in a number of
early manuscript and printed texts. Among the latter I am
currently reading "Traicte du Feu et du Sel Excellent et Rare
Opuscule du Sieur Blaise Vigenere Bourbonnois, trouvé
parmy ses papiers apres son decès"... Paris 1622

One reads for instance (about fire) on p.26:

"Comme on peut voir és choses bruslées, converties en cendres..."
Also on page 27: L'experiment s'en peut veoir és eaux forts
qui sont toutes composées de sels mineraux..."

Sincerely,
Stanislas Klossowski de Rola

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000


I would like to thank everybody who helped me with precious
information about Flamel, especially Claude Gagnon.

Currently I'm working over the draft translation of "Le Livere
des Laveures", and I cannot find anything about the vessel
which Flamel calls "condamphore". Could anybody help me
with any information?

Thank you and best regards.

Gleb.

Subject: ACADEMY : Keren Happuch
From: Adam McLean
Date: 23 Oct 2000

I wonder if anyone can remind me of the meaning of the phrase
"Keren Happuch". I came across this some years ago in the titles
of some German alchemical books and at that time managed to find a
meaning for the phrase. However, my memory has let me down and
I cannot now recall the meaning of the words. I seem to remember
it was derived from Hebrew and was a simple alchemical idea.


Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' Readership
From: Jan Backlund
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000


Dear Chris Pickering and the forum:

> 19) And Kirchers 'Obeliscus Pamphilius' (Rome 1650)

Some years ago I had a look in Obeliscus Pamphilius (I
don't however remember the reference to Dee in this, but
Kircher used the Monas-symbol extensively in the third
volume of his Oedipus Aegyptiacus. ... (Rom: Vitalis
Mascardi, 1652-1654). But as Kircher's interpretation of
lchemy in Egyptian terms (or interpretation of the hieroglyphs
in alchemical terms) is a plagiarism of Michael Maiers Arcana
Arcanissima (s.d.n.l.; Oppenheim 1614?) and Symbola Aureæ
Mensæ (Frankfurt a.M.: Luca Jennis, 1617), his reading of
"Dee's Monas" in the same (third) book's fourth chapter
(especially pp. 399-401, and 406-17), is a similar blatant exemple
of plagiarism. Without ever mentioning Dee's name or the title
"Monas", Kircher almost copies the text of Dee verbatim. Well,
I do exaggerate, but still, the interpretation of the symbols, the
proportions of the cross etc. are entirely from the Monas
Hieroglyphica. Maybe for to hide his source, maybe for
to give it a more appropriate label, Kircher labels the "monas
hieroglyphica" "Crux hermetica" instead. The reason for
his renaming of the symbol is probably because he (as Maier
before him) wanted to prove that the antiquity of alchemy was
steming from Egyptian times and from Hermes Trismegistos
(this was the debate on the antiquity of Corpus Hermeticum
going on between Casaubon and other philological minded
persons against the alchemical claim of Aegypto-mosaic
antiquity defended by Michael Maier and others from early 17th
century onwards). Thus the true inventor of the Monas-symbol
must have been Hermes Trismegistos, and not John Dee
(implicitly he is to be regarded as a later user or interpreter of an
already existing "hermetic cross" -- On the other hand, Dee might
have agreed with this reasoning).

In volume III, caput IV ("De Cruce Hermetica, quam nos passim in
hoc Opere Crucem ansatam appelamus, eiusque arcana
significatione in opere Hermetico") Kircher writes:

Hermes Trismegistus, vt primus literarum siue inuentor, siue
inuentarum iam instaurator, ita characterum Hieroglyphicorum
institutor, vt quae in Mundo occultissima latent, mirifico à se
excogitato symbolo exprimeret, omnia vnico charactere,
quam & Crucem Hermeticam appellant ..." (p. 399).

That is, shortly put: Hermes is inventor of the letters and
instaurator of the hermetic characters as well, behind which
a secret world dwells and which is expressed in one sole
character which is called the hermetical cross.

Thus John Dee could impossible be the inventor of Monas,
and thus he cannot deserve any "credit" for it. Nor for the
drawing given on p. 400. This wood-cut is identical with the
wood-cut published on p. 24 in the original editoin of Dee's
Monas (only the explanatory letters are different).

The effect this use of the Monas-symbol in its new context as
the most antique hermetical symbol (and not a hermetico-
philosophical idea proposed by a certain John Dee) is
interesting. Soon after the publication of Kirchers Oedipus
Aegyptiacus, the first "History of Alchemy" was published by
Olaus Borrichus (De ortu & progressu chemiae dissertatio,
Hafniae: Petrus Haubold, 1668, reprinted, significantly, as the
first tract in the first volume of Manget's anthology 1702). Olaus
Borrichus repeats Maier's and Kircher's arguments of the antiquity
of alchemy. Borrichus obviously had an idea from were Kircher
had his source for the "Cruce Hermetice", but he was sufficiently
ignorant to call the Monas hieroglyphica for "Crux Isiaca" and the
author for "Franc[iscus] Deé Londinensis" (De Ortu et Progressu, p. 32).

If Kircher and Olaus Borrichus could be called a representative
readership of alchemical literature during the latter half of the
17th century (which I think they could), then it seems that Dee (and
the term "Monas Hieroglyphica") by that time already was
forgotten, but that the symbol gained a life of its own under
different names.

With this I wouldn't say that there weren't any significant
readership and reception of Dee and the Monas earlier. An
inquiry in the question of the early reception could -- I believe --
be very illuminating. On the other hand, the case with Kircher,
Borrichus and their contemporaries, seems to suggest that
the symbol soon (well, a century after the publication) lived
its own life outside the thought of Dee and independently of
the term "monas hieroglyphica".

Jan Bäcklund

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' readership
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
From: Deborah E. Harkness


Dear List,

Well, we've definitely proven that more than 10 people
read the Monas!!

Deb

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000


Dear Stanislas Klossowski de Rola,

Is the French ès not a short cut for "en les" such as in
Licensié ès lettres and how would this make sense in esqualité

qu'elle/la pierre/ est accomplie en toute droicture et esgalité"

would it simply mean en toute les qualités

Respects from Kjell Lekeby,

with Susanna at the typepad

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' Readership
From: Jan Backlund
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000


Dear Penny and the Forum,

> Christopher Taylour, who Jan Backlund has associated with
> the Dee-Kelley circle, discusses the Monas in a treatise on
> alchemy addressed to a noblewoman now at Oxford: Bodleian
> Library, Ashmole MS 1392.He describes the Elixir as "Monas,
> yt is the number of One, Chaos, Hylus, the Green Lyon" and
> goes on to discuss the numbers between one and ten, the
> last being Denarium "ye secrett mystery of perfeccion".
> No specific mention of John Dee, though.

When you mention it. As you know the monas-figure also is drawn,
together with a signature "Liber Christopheri Taylour", with a
contemporary hand on the spine on Old Royal Coll. 240 fol. in the
Royal Library in Copenhagen. This MS is a compilation of
alchemical tracts and written between 1550 and 1600, and bound
together immediately after 1600.

This is not the place to go through all arguments, but let me just
conclude that this MS is closely linked, with regards to provenance
and content, to some other MS in Copenhagen, among them Old
Royal Coll. 245 fol., which curiously is marked with the same
"flower signs" with which John Dee used to mark the margins in
his books (cf. Roberts/Watson). The contents of the latter
MS (245) is mainly of Dutch origin (as the latest tracts in 240 fol a
re tracts by Isaac Hollandus).

I mention this on the background of Deborah Harkness' comment
the 16th october (discussing the reception of the Monas by Cole
and Ortelius, and maybe also Brueghel and Marcus II Gheeraerts).
This possibility of a significant Netherlandish reception -- which,
considering that it was printed in Antwerp, might not be that strange
-- interests me. Old Royal Collection 245 fol. contains a
considerable amount of references to Netherlandish alchemists (?)
of which I have no more information. If someone in this forum has
more information of any of them I would be very grateful:

The whole MS. states that it is a copy of a text written by:
Constantinus Loogenhage

and contains references to the following Netherlandish (or maybe
West German) persons:

Mattheus Bornhen (on f. 11r)
Dr. Willems Erastus (on ff. 2r and 8r)
Fredberch (f. 8v: "Quinta Essentia Antis [?] scdm [sciendum,
secundum?] Fredberch 1574.")
Montanus (ff. 9r and 10r)
Caspar Overlyn (on f. 9r. He is here called Caspar Berchschreiber
(=mine clerk) Overlyn)
Christian Rayth (fol. 6r)
Andreae Germain (fol. 12r)

and the following -- probably -- English persons:
Albert Brydewell (fol. 13r)
Robert Clerke (fol. 2r)
Johannes Baptista Agneli (on ff. 2r and 12r. On fol. 1r we learn
that he is a venetian alchemist working in London: "Messire Jo.
Baptista Italien venetiatu, tot London treckt vuyt die minera
vitrioli _")

I don't know anything else about those persons, but I think that the
biography of some of them might could cast some light on Dee's
doings in the Netherlands 1548-50 or 1563/64 and/or the reception
of Dee's Monas after 1564.

Best regards,
Jan B.

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' readership
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
From: Rafal T. Prinke


Deborah E. Harkness wrote:

> Well, we've definitely proven that more than 10 people
> read the Monas!!

Just to add an interesting detail, Susanna Åkerman once told
me (some 2 years ago?) that the copy of Monas in Stockholm
(or Uppsala?) is from the library of the Jesuit College
in Poznan, Poland (that's where I live), taken there
during the Swedish wars of the 17th c. So more Jesuits
than just Kircher may well have read it.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' Readership
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
From: Deborah E. Harkness


Dear List,

Thank you to Jan for another mention of Agnelli, one of the
most important and overlooked figures in English Alchemy.
Though Italian, Agnelli (like Dee) lived in the parish of St. Helen's
Bishopsgate in London and was active in the Frobisher assays.
His alchemical work, Revelations of the Secret Spirit was
published in London (in Italian) in the 1560s and an English
translation in the 17th century. He was well-known to Elizabeth
and I discuss Dee's interest in his alchemical cabala in John
Dee's Conversations with Angels.

Deb Harkness

Subject: ACADEMY : Keren Happuch
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000


Mats Eskhult, Professor of Hebrew at Uppsala, kindly gives
the following message: At first, off the top of his head, he says
that Qeren means horn or ray and Hippuch means to turn over
or let flow. But then he has the following to say:

"QEREN kan betyda "horn" och "stråle", PUCH kan vara "blyglans" som i
antiken användes som ögonskugga.(Ha- uppfattar jag som bestämd artikel.)
Motsvarande ord i arabiskan, som alltså syftar på ett fint pulver, kohl
"det fina", har skridit vidare i betydelse därmed att det artikelförsett -
al-kohl - gett upphov till alkohol".

That is: PUCH can be a form of lead, blyglans or galena, used
as eyeliner in antiquity while HA is the definite article - the
corresponding word in Arabic that also means a fine powder, kohl
"the fine" has developed into al-kohl or alcohol

Adam, this seems right, but do you have the full sentence in
which it occurrs?

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' Readership
From: Penny Bayer
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000


Dear Jan and Forum,

This does not specifically answer your points, but you may be
interested in another link between Christopher Taylour and
European alchemical circles. In his Treatise to a noble lady
(Ashmole 1392) after discussing the meaning of the monas
Taylour cites Dr Khunrath "who was my masters master". It is
intriguing to consider who was the middle master - is it going
too far to think it might be Dee who is known to have met Khunrath
and shared his interest in alchemy-cabala? And did Khunrath have
any Netherlandish connections?

Penny Bayer

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Michael Brosse
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000


Dear Susanna,

"es" could be a short cut for "en les" but can also be reduced to "e"
(with the accent, I cannot type it on my keyboard) as in egalite.

Droicture became droiture which means the attitude of respect.
Consequently I will go for egalite but could you give me one or 2
lines before and after to better understand the concept of this extract ?

Michael Brosse

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000


Dear Kjell and Susanna,

Greetings. The meaning you seek in this context is quite simply:
"elle est accomplie en toute droicture et en qualite" which
indeed makes perfect sound sense. "és" can be translated in
english as "in". Hence, it is accomplished in all righteousness
and in quality.

Another example from my current text, which you might find
interesting, reads as follows:

"CHACUN de ces trois mondes au reste a particulierement sa
science, laquelle est double; l'une vulgaire & triviale; l'autre
mystique et secrette. Le monde intelligible a notre Theologie,
& la Caballe; le celeste, l'Astrologie, & la Magie; & l'elementaire,
la Physiologie, & l'Alchimie qui revele par les resolutions &
separations du feu, tous les plus cachez & occultes secrets
de nature és trois genres descomposez : Compositionem enim
rei aliquis scire non poterit, quidestructionem illius ignoraverit, dit
Geber." op. cit. p. 51

All the very best,

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola

Subject: ACADEMY : Flamel and alchemy
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000


Michael Brosse,

Here is the full passage from the edition of Poisson. It is from
the last and ninth chapter where Flamel descripes the projection
powder:

La couleur rouge de laque de ce volant Lyon, semblable a ce
pur et clair escarlatin du grain de la vrayement rouge grenade,
demontre qu´elle est maintenant accomplie _en toute
droicture et esgalité_. Qu´elle est comme un Lyon, devorant
toute pure metallique, et la changeant en sa vraye substance,
en vray et pur or, plus fin qu celuy des meilleures minieres.

Susanna

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' Readership
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000
From: Lauren Kassell


Many thanks for all of the comments about the Monas readership,
and especially Christopher Taylour. I know him as an associate
of Richard Napier (I work on Simon Forman) and have been
surprised to see no mentions of Napier in the present exchanges --
though I've been reading rather quickly.

Two questions:

1. If anyone is doing work on the Napier circle, I'd very much like
to know -- I've worked through a lot of the manuscripts but haven't
done anything with them yet.

2. Deb--and everyone else--has anyone published on Agnelli?

Many thanks,

Lauren Kassell

Subject: ACADEMY : The Monas' Readership
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000
From: Deborah E. Harkness


Dear All:

I'm revising my Angelli article literally as we speak. I would be happy
to send people a copy if they don't quote from it until it's out!

Deb

Subject: ACADEMY : Christopher Taylour
From: Penny Bayer
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000


Dear Lauren,

I would be very interested in the nature of the association you have
found between Christopher Taylour and Richard Napier. Could you
provide some more information? In my paper to the Durham Thomas
Harriot Seminar in December I will be discussing Christopher Taylour
and alchemy in relation to a particular manuscript, associated with
Lady Margaret Clifford, and putting forward a possible identity for him.

Best regards
Penny Bayer

Subject: ACADEMY : Newton's alchemical papers
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000
From: Rafal T. Prinke


Over a year ago there was some discussion on Newton's alchemical
papers at the Smithsonian and Susan Anne Miller provided a list
of them. She also mentioned that

> Cambridge only has the Keynes and Portsmouth Collections of
> Newton's work, much else went private in the 1922 and 1936 sales.

and

> I think many of these are on the Chadwyck-Healey microfilms of
> Newton's manuscripts.

Is there a cumulative listing of them available? I do not have access
to the books by Betty Jo Dobbs which may contain something like that.

I would be interested to know which of the Newton's alchemical MSS
are connected to Michael Sendivogius (comments, copies, remarks).

In his 'A Portrait of Isaac Newton' Frank E. Manuel mentions
"Explanations to Sendivogius" as Keynes MS. 55 (the actual title
may be slightly different as I have the Polish edition).
I also vaguely remember reading somewhere that there was
an extant Newton's copy of 'New Light of Alchemy' with his
marginal notes.

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Keren Happuch
From: Eylon Israeli
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000


Speaking hebrew sometime has it's benefits...

Opening my Hebrew-Hebrew dictionary, it gives the following:
(translated from the hebrew)

Puch
1. A dye which the ancients used to color their eyelids for decoration
or for healing.
2. One of the precious stones mentioned in the bible.

Regards,

Eylon.

Subject: ACADEMY : Keren Happuch
From: Adam McLean
Date: 31 Oct 2000


I have found a reference in that excellent book of Raphael
Patai 'The Jewish alchemists'. He recalls that Keren-happuch
is one of the daughters of Job, and that the name can be
interpreted alchemically as a retort in the form of a horn,
derived from qeren (horn) and hafukh (inverted). This is not
the significance that I originally recall.

However, he mentions another interpretation of
'Keren-happuch' as :

"the 'horn', that is the strength, of the pukh stone, that is the
science of alchemy".

This sense of the stone of power, the philosophers' stone,
is the meaning I now remember.

Adam McLean